About ERA

Supporting talent research, sourcing and insight professionals since 1984.

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.




Liz Shay

Joint Chair- ERA Management Committee

+ 44 (0) 7407 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.

Sam Fletcher

Joint Chair- ERA Management Committee

+44 (0)7979 142 412

Sam was appointed to the ERA Committee in March 2019 and to the position of Co-Chair in May 2022.  He has been focusing on the association’s marketing efforts.

Sam recently joined PayPal to set up the Talent Intelligence function, analyzing trends in the global business, economy and employment marketplace. His prior experience includes working with clients in the technology and financial services 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.

Sarah El Rasoul

Membership Secretary/Co Treasurer - ERA Management Committee

+44 (0)1442 828846

Sarah has been on the ERA committee since 2005 and is currently membership secretary and co-treasurer. Sarah has been involved with the ERA though many changes and is passionate about the association, she has seen this grow over the years and been part of the main changes including 3 new websites together with industry committee volunteers moving the association into the digital arena. 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 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.

Gillian Young

ERA Committee - 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.

Jan Muir

ERA Committee

+ 44 (0)7753 911531

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.

Toby Culshaw

ERA Committee

+ 44 (0)7540760838

Toby currently leads Talent Intelligence for Worldwide Operations and Consumer for Amazon. Never before has there been such an interesting organization in terms of the challenges faced due to the velocity and scale of growth. Within work his favourite quote is ‘Without data, you’re just another person with an opinion’, by W. Edwards Demin and is very much something he lives by. 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.

Martin Lee

ERA Committee

+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.

Jude Watters (née Buddell)

ERA Committee

+44 (0) 7594 250060

Jude joined the ERA Committee in 2021.

Jude has over 20 years of Executive search experience spanning across multiple sectors, functions and geographies. Jude’s core strength is building, developing and training In-house research teams. She has built small specialist teams and a 40 plus team for a tier one Executive Search organisation and she was also the Diversity Lead of the International Research team.

Jude’s focus and commitment has always been with the Research function, she has worked on extremely complex assignments both locally and internationally.

Jude started her career in technology, telecommunications and professional services but for the last 10 years she has operated as a generalist researcher across multiple sectors and from 2010 to 2014 she worked for a boutique Executive Search firm conducting searches specifically across Europe, Asia, Latin America and Africa.

Jude set up smartresearchhr in August 2014, recognising the need for an alternate solution to Executive Search on a global basis.

Jude holds a BA (Hons) in Business Studies from the University of Wolverhampton and a Diploma in Marketing.

Caroline Grayson Nugent

ERA Committee

+44 (0) 7508 235672

Caroline’s early career was in Executive Search, holding positions at both Korn/ Ferry & Russell Reynolds before moving in-house with The Coca-Cola Company to set up their talent sourcing function across Europe. This ultimately led to a move to Istanbul to take up a broader TA leadership role across Turkey, Central Asia, Caucasus & Russia.

On her return to the UK, she worked with Google’s in-house Executive Search team before setting up her own talent consulting business.

In 2021, Caroline joined Wise plc, one of the world’s fastest growing, profitable technology companies.  Her initial remit was to set up an in-house leadership & executive recruiting function.  Most recently she has stepped into the Global Head of Recruitment position on an interim basis, leading 80+ Wisers spread across 4 international locations helping Wise to continue to scale at speed.

Caroline has a passion for mindfulness and has trained at Oxford University to teach Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy.

Anna Fourie

ERA Committee

+351 911 079 679

Anna is an experienced HR professional with a wealth of experience in talent acquisition, outplacement, recruitment solutions and career coaching.

Before creating her own Career Coaching Consultancy, she was the EMEA Talent Sourcing Senior Manager at Microsoft, overseeing Sourcing for ‘Go to Market’ functions across the EMEA region. She was responsible for developing and implementing ‘at-scale,’ external talent attraction strategies to support the company’s growth and innovation objectives.

Previously, she was based out of Singapore, as part of the ASIA Global Talent Acquisition Team, leading University Recruitment and internship hiring for APAC. This required multiple sourcing strategies across complex regions whilst navigating cultural nuances.

Now based out of Cascais, Portugal with her family and their latest addition, ‘Paddy,’ the dog, she brings a wealth of experience, having spent her entire career in end-to-end talent acquisition and outplacement across multiple industries within both Europe and Asia.