Rewarding Futures

A little about us

You don't work with a business, you work with people – and that’s why this section is so important to us. Our experience has shown us that building a strong personal connection fosters an equally strong professional relationship. Our profiles on LinkedIn offer more detail on our presence in the market, but the personal profiles on this page give you a brief insight to us as individuals.  

Jo White /

Tell us a bit about yourself

I was born in Liverpool and brought up in the north-west before relocating to the south to study for a degree in Philosophy. I now live in a little village just outside of Bath with my husband Nat and two children Amelie and Zack, a cat and a chocolate working cocker - it's a busy life!

Why did you launch VANA?

2004 was the right time for me to leave the blue-chip environment and start a small, personal and responsive business. It was a pretty scary move to make - made even scarier by the fact that I was expecting Amelie at the time. But with Debbie as my business partner I just knew that we were making the right decision. I didn't for one moment consider that VANA would not be the success that it is today.

What do you find most fulfilling about your work?

It’s great to work with a real mix of clients from blue-chips like Vodafone, Nationwide and Virgin through to growing SMEs looking to appoint their first Head of HR - and everything in between.

The fulfillment comes from the relationships that we have with our clients as we become seen as an extension of their internal team. And also with candidates who trust us to help with their next career step. We don’t take that trust lightly.

If you weren’t running VANA, what would you be doing?

There are all sorts of things I enjoy doing at home, especially baking and working on my allotment. I love learning new skills and meeting new people through my various hobbies (currently, I’m training to become a bee-keeper!). But these are all things that help me stay grounded and are not necessarily things I would be doing if I wasn’t running VANA. I actually can’t imagine enjoying doing anything else than what I am doing. I’m very lucky to have a career I thoroughly enjoy.  

Debbie Flowers /

Tell us a bit about yourself

I live just outside of Bath surrounded by beautiful open fields – safe in the knowledge that I am only a short drive from the city. Bath is a fabulous city with a thriving food scene and we are spoilt for choice with first-class restaurants and bars, but it continues to evolve and I love it when something or someone new arrives in the city, it keeps life interesting. On a match weekend the rugby brings a heightened atmosphere to the city which touches everyone. 

My twins, Daisy and Alfie, are full of energy for life and we like to have fun. We are always busy and enjoy an active lifestyle – you can often find us enjoying the cycle tracks in the region on an adventure that inevitably leads to a good pub for refreshments!

I believe that life is a gift and we live in a world with endless possibilities. If you don’t take risks, you may never get to fulfil your potential. I have always had a genuine interest in people and formed relationships easily, perhaps this together with a strong set of values, and my enthusiasm and passion for change and new experiences would suggest that I pursued the right career path! 

Why did you launch VANA?

Working for a corporate FTSE 100 business for some years provided an excellent opportunity to develop a broad set of skills and experience. As Operations Director with P&L accountability, I managed a multi-site business and led a high-performing team of talented consultants. The exposure to working with a variety of leaders across many sectors was invaluable, but culturally it was difficult to influence our proposition.

Leaving corporate life in 2004 was a huge step, but I instinctively knew it was the right thing to do. VANA has been our creation - and it has been incredibly rewarding not just to attain a leading position in our industry but to sustain it through thirteen years, whilst always remaining true to our values. 

Jo and I have worked together for a very long time and our different styles complement, we make a great team.

What do you find most fulfilling about your work?

To specialise within the HR market is an enjoyable experience in itself. The very nature of leaders within this profession means that there’s an inherent understanding of how the right talent can shape an organisation. It’s fulfilling to have developed long-lasting relationships with clients and candidates alike, and this proves to me that what we are doing, we are doing right.

If you weren’t running VANA, what would you be doing?

Perhaps running a small boutique hotel - somewhere by the sea. I do miss not being able to walk by the sea every day.

Executive Assessment is led by Dr Martin Spencer, our carefully selected Chartered Occupational Psychologist. Find out more about Martin here.

I’ve worked with the team at Vana on many occasions over the years, engaging them to hire senior talent in a number of businesses. Both Debbie and Jo offer great insight and expertise, but above all they deliver results. I would happily recommend their services.

Scott Fishburn, HR Director, DFS

“Debbie is a high-integrity recruiter and takes time to understand organisational needs; commercial and cultural. VANA have worked in partnership with us a number of times, enabling us to secure some excellent senior HR hires.”

John Burgess, Head of Talent & Leadership Development, AXA Group

“I have worked with Debbie both as a candidate having introduced me to ING Direct and Invensys, and as a client supporting me with key hires in both organisations and more recently at DAS.  Both Debbie and Jo are exceptionally well networked, I trust their judgement completely and would highly recommend Vana.”

Kate Banks, ‎Group Director of HR & Legal Services at DAS UK Group

'Debbie and Jo are first class headhunters of HR talent. They take the time to fully understand the brief and culture of the organisation before suggesting any candidates for opportunities. Thank you Vana for sourcing quality hires for my team.'

Helen Norris, Head of HR - Nationwide Building Society

I have worked with Debbie both in the search for talent and also as a candidate, in both situations Debbie has been faultlessly professional. Debbie builds strong relationships exploring briefs to ensure she has a deep understanding of what the business and candidate need, allowing her to deliver a real match.

Ian Marchant, Retail HRD, Greene King plc

Candidate experience is really important to me in recruitment, because that is someone's first experience of an organisation - your organisation. As I see it, the recruiter is part of YOUR brand and their actions impact on YOUR reputation when they act for you. The candidate remembers the experience of applying for a job and not always the recruiter involved.

My experience as a candidate of Jo's was exceptional. Jo kept me informed at every stage, questions were anticipated and I always knew where the process was. Also, Jo was present as a person and not as a remote handler. This shows me that any candidate that Jo places would be treated in exactly the way I'd want them to be. I recommend her without hesitation.

Geraldine Buckland, Director of People, Bristol Water

Debbie is a great recruiter of HR talent; she has successfully worked on a number of key senior hires for us both in the UK and internationally.

Jonathan Wright, Group HRD, Murphy Group

Debbie has recently supported me in securing my first HRD role. Her observations and feedback were very insightful and assisted me greatly in navigating the recruitment process and learning about the company and environment I'll be stepping into. Totally dependable, unbiased and a good judge of character, I would highly recommend her to act on your behalf with prospective employers. I haven't worked with Debbie yet as the employer but wouldn't hesitate to do this if the need arises.

Anita Calverley, HR Director, Yeo Valley Farms

The thing about Vana Resourcing is that Debbie and Jo actually care – about you as a person, your career and your business. Yes they deliver great candidates and opportunities but they make sure that the fit / opportunity is right, challenging both sides in a positive way when needed. They’ve supported my career for the last 10 years, including introducing me to my current HRD role, and I have no hesitation that they will be my first point of call for future candidates and opportunities.

Suzie Noble, Chief People Officer, Brightside

“I have worked with Debbie several times, she stands out from the crowd as a sourcer of talent and when she is managing you as a candidate, I simply haven't worked with anyone better. Commercial, thorough, expert and with a sense of integrity that means you are only ever recommended to organisations that suit you - and as a hirer you only get talent that works for your organisation. As a hiring organisation, working with a partner like Debbie is simply irreplaceable.”

Head of OD, Vodafone

Debbie brings accurate and current insight on HR Talent. Her ability to recognise top people in their field and actively nurture relationships over a long period of time sets her apart from her peers. Debbie is refreshingly honest , she keeps confidences and is not afraid to challenge both candidates and hiring Executives to ensure the right outcome for all parties. I would have no hesitation in recommending Debbie or Vana Resourcing for a critical HR hire.

Barbara Duffy, International HR Director leading on Talent, L&D, Resourcing,OD

“Debbie introduced me to OVO Energy, and she not only found me the right role, but an organisation whose ethos matched my values.  I have since worked with Vana to recruit almost my entire senior HR team! From HRBP's to a Reward Lead and most recently a HR Director. Vana really understand the importance of culture fit."

Kim Atherton, Chief People Officer, OVO Energy

I have worked with Vana Resourcing for a number of years representing me in my own search and as a client. Debbie and Jo are professional and efficient but unusually for this sector, genuinely caring about both client and candidate experience in equal measure.

Jonathan Edge, HR Director UK & Ireland at Ideal Standard International BVBA

“Jo is highly professional, knowledgeable and proactive. It’s not often that a recruitment consultant really interviews you in the same way a prospective employer would.”

Simon Amesbury, SuperGroup plc

What a refreshing delight to work with a commercial partner who understood my business, had national and regional awareness, a handle on the market, an effortless connection with candidates and could tolerate my Everest-like expectations.

I will continue to work with Debbie and Jo again on my incessant drive to solve the talent conundrum of the coming years.

Keep up the great work, you are a credit to the industry.

 

Stephen Robson, HR Director, Global O&Supply Chain at Kingfisher plc

"The team and I have worked with Jo now on a number of occasions for various recruitment assignments. I have always found Jo to be consultative and considered in her approach but above all honest and straight forward! She has a great understanding of her market place and is always at the end of the line to offer insight and market knowledge. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend Vana and look forward to our continued relationship."

Heather Harrex, Resourcing Partner, Nationwide Building Society

I've known Jo for a number of years and worked with her as a client and candidate. What's great about working with Jo is that you're guaranteed an honest perspective and terrific insight to the market. She nurtures her relationships in a natural and engaging way: put simply - she knows her stuff!

Marie Aitken, Chief People Officer

I initially engaged Debbie to undertake a search for a Head of OD. She is consultative in style, and took time to gain a comprehensive insight into our organisational culture and HR journey, delivering an excellent shortlist of candidates and a super hire. The feedback from our candidates on their engagement with VANA has been equally positive. Jo and Debbie has since supported me with several other senior hires within the People organisation at RLG, and we enjoy an effective working partnership.

People & Corporate Affairs Director, Royal London Group

“I have worked with Debbie as both candidate and client. In both contexts I have found her to be super-efficient, thorough and a pleasure to do business with. She listens really well, responds quickly and is flexible to evolving demands. Debbie is up there in my top 3 recruiters.”

Sue Round, Head of Talent and Organisational Effectiveness, BP

I have worked with Debbie and Jo for many years as a candidate looking for opportunities and a manager looking for talent.  I have always been impressed by how Vana strive to ensure that there is the best fit in terms of candidate values and company culture.

Sarah King, Head of HR, Triodos Bank

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