About ERA

The Executive Research Association (ERA) is the global forum for talent sourcing and talent insight professionals.  We champion research, its value and importance, as a key component of the talent sourcing process.

Founded in 1984, we are the UK’s longest established Research Association.

Members are:

  • Freelance executive researchers
  • Researchers in boutique research firms
  • Researchers in executive search firms
  • In-house researchers in corporates

We are:

  • A network of research and resourcing professionals promoting excellence, providing a forum and supporting members in the sourcing of global talent.
  • The meeting place for providers and buyers of executive research and search services globally.
  • A provider of researcher training; workshops, webinars, and an annual conference.
  • In partnership with the AESC, we provide a comprehensive external certification programme which is designed specifically for executive researchers. Those successfully completing the program will receive ERA/AESC certification.
  • Led by an elected committee, all of whom have significant industry experience.




Mark Senior

Joint Chair

+44 (0)121 201 3333

Mark joined the ERA Committee in 2012 and has been Co-Chair since 2014, having been re-elected for a second four-year term in September 2018.

His early career was spent undertaking in-depth international research assignments across Europe and in the Far East. Subsequently he worked as a Management Consultant at KPMG, where he specialised in research and marketing and worked closely with colleagues in the executive search practice.  After spending a number of years as Chief Executive of a successful manufacturing and distribution business he joined Henley Research International as Managing Director in 2010.

Mark is a strong advocate of executive research and is committed through the ERA to further increasing levels of professionalism within the research and executive search community.

Mark has a degree in European Studies from the University of Manchester and speaks fluent German.  His hobbies are keeping fit and playing and watching sports.

Liz Shay

Joint Chair

07407 269599

Liz was appointed to the ERA Committee in July 2015 and to the position of Co-Chair in November 2018. She is the Head of Research for Howgate Sable where she leads the in-house business intelligence and research function. Prior to this she was Director of Research at a leading boutique search firm in London. Her experience includes Board, Retail and Consumer, Life Sciences, Retail Finance Services and Industrial sectors worldwide. As well as search delivery, she focuses on consulting projects including market intelligence, talent pipelining, board assessment, leadership consulting and organisation design.

Her career in executive search started after university with a contract research firm before moving to Oxford to assist a business in establishing, then leading its first in-house research function. Subsequently, she was headhunted to join a London firm where she was ultimately promoted to Head of Research.

Liz is keen to promote the role and professionalism of the Researcher in the Recruitment sector and to pursue constant innovation to ensure the best outcomes for Clients and colleagues. She has always enjoyed the challenge of complex international projects.

In her leisure time, Liz enjoys travel (including keeping up her language skills!), arts and crafts, walking and winter sports. She has spent time living in France, Spain and Australia as well as on secondment with a US West Coast search business.

She graduated from the University of Nottingham in French and Hispanic Studies and has an MBA from London Guildhall University.

Sarah El Rasoul

Membership Secretary/Co Treasurer

+44 (0)1442 828846

Sarah has been on the ERA committee since 2005 and is currently membership secretary and co-treasurer. Sarah is actively involved in all training programmes for the ERA and the organisation of the annual conferences since conception.  Sarah is MD of Travis Research and has 20 years’ experience in the executive research and search industry and works across numerous business sectors across the UK, Europe and Internationally.

Sarah started her professional life in the world of law which spanned over 16 years in various departments before settling into property law as a fee earner running Property Law departments. Sarah joined Travis Research in 1999 as a Trainee Researcher working her way into her current role of Managing Director. Sarah is actively involved in the training and development programmes currently running with the ERA and is passionate about sharing her experience and training methods with new researchers to help them achieve a positive outlook to executive research and always ensuring there is an excellent candidate experience throughout the process.

Sarah enjoys spending her free time with her horse and working spaniels as well as gardening and other countryside pursuits.

Jan Muir

+44 (0)20 8449 3200

Jan joined the ERA Committee in 2007 and is actively involved in the training and development programmes currently running with the ERA, providing the membership with continuous new methodologies in the world of executive search.

Jan started her professional life in newspapers and progressed through the industry to become publisher of a number of titles reporting to the board of United Newspapers Plc. After a career break having children (1993) she joined Salisbury Consulting Group, an international executive search practice initially in an interim marketing capacity but went on to set up the company’s internal research practice from scratch, recruiting and training 10 in house researchers.

In 1997 Jan set up Oaktree Consulting and has executed over 1900 assignments worldwide in a generalist capacity. She also trains consultants and researchers in best practice to improve capability and confidence. Jan is passionate about nurturing candidates through the recruitment process and advising clients to secure the best talent for their business. She has also been heavily involved in introducing and analysing the status quo for increasing female board members following the Lord Davies report in 2015.

Jan enjoys family life, is an avid gardener (and grows her own!) and enjoys upcycling furniture and mentoring young adults on their career development.

Gillian Young

Co Treasurer

+44 (0)1908 230265

Since September 2016, Gillian has been a committee member of the ERA, becoming Co-Treasurer in 2018, and has been instrumental in introducing new initiatives within the ERA.

Gillian has been in research for over 25 years, initially employed, going freelance in 1996 and since 1999 has been running her research company, Stainsby Associates Ltd, assisted by a number of associate researchers.

A proud generalist, Gillian has experience of working in sectors as diverse as local authorities, education, facilities management, manufacturing, financial services, engineering, healthcare and logistics, covering middle to senior management roles, the majority at director level and above.   She has covered roles in UK, EMEA, Middle East and USA.

Gillian Young has a degree in French & Linguistics from the University of East Anglia.

Outside of work, Gillian loves spending time with her family and friends, and has a passion for cryptic crosswords.

Toby Culshaw

+44 (0) 7500 129094

Toby is currently leading Global Talent Intelligence and Executive Recruitment Research at Philips.  His responsibilities include all research, talent Intelligence and labour risk and feasibility intelligence and executive recruitment research across the breadth of the Philips organisation globally.  He has worked in a number of guises; external search, internal, RPO and ran his own research firm.  The key for Toby throughout has been and using the insight and intelligence gathered through research / search activities to have a true business impact.

Sam Fletcher

+44 (0) 7979 142 412

Sam was appointed to the ERA Committee in March 2019 and has been focusing on the association’s marketing efforts.

He is the Head of Client Services at Armstrong Craven, where he leads the delivery of executive search and talent intelligence projects to the firm’s global clients. His experience includes working with leading MNCs and a variety of SMEs covering financial and professional services, technology, energy and industrial sectors on executive search and consulting engagements such as workforce localisation, competency assessment, organisational design, workforce reskilling and location studies.

Sam is interested in the power of technology to transform how businesses operate and has been a keynote speaker on Blockchain in HR as well as contributing to and writing articles on innovative ways of working and technology applications in HR and talent acquisition.

Outside of work, Sam enjoys outdoor activities including walking, sailing and clay pigeon shooting.

He graduated from the University of Manchester in English and is a certified PRINCE2 Practitioner.

Louise Haines

+44 (0)113 200 3733

Louise joined the ERA Committee in 2014 and has recently been re-elected for a second four-year term in 2019. Louise is passionate about supporting best practice within the Executive Research arena and is involved in the training aspects of the ERA, running the annual research skills workshops.

Louise graduated from the University of Leicester with a MA and has over 17 years’ experience as a HR Executive specialising in executive search, research, salary benchmarking, market mapping and business intelligence. Louise is currently a Business Director within Hays where she has managed the Executive research function for 10+ years covering Central Government, NHS, Local Government, Not for Profit and private sectors, with particular focus and interest in the construction and property arena. In addition, she has recently completed her Level 7 CIPD postgraduate course in Reward Management and has developed a bespoke salary benchmarking and market intelligence service offering within Hays, which has expanded significantly in the last couple of years covering all sectors and international work.

In her spare time Louise is busy running after her little girl who is two years old, as well as trying to spend more time camping and walking in the great outdoors.

Martin Lee

+44 (0)7909 917204

Martin Lee has been an ERA committee member since 2016 and is currently The Global Talent Sourcing Manager for Philip Morris International where he runs the internal sourcing teams finding passive candidates across EU & MEA.

He is a hands-on practitioner and has trained 100’s of sourcers, recruiters and researchers on best practice techniques, creative thinking and technologies. He’s a regular speaker at ERA events and global conferences.

Outside of work he is a keen cook (with a fleeting appearance on MasterChef) and has recently become interested in using his research skills within genealogy.