The FORWARD Faculty & Search Teams

Caroline Stokes

Caroline Stokes

Founder, Human Capital Developer and Certified Executive Coach

Caroline spent 20+ years with innovation technology leaders (PlayStation, Virgin, Nokia) critiquing hiring practices, onboarding practices, engagement and leadership systems. She spent an additional five years working at a headhunting firm delivering executive-level placements at Microsoft, Bethesda, Ziff Davis and Trinity Mirror.

Caroline realized something was missing from the process: a high-touch, compassionate approach that left both the employer and talent closer to their seemingly impossible future.

In 2013, Caroline founded FORWARD with a vision to create a constantly evolving human capital solutions company, with an ethical and humanist headhunting process and executive coaching practice for innovation leaders – so everyone can move forward.


Chiara D’Avanzo

CHRP, M.Sc., Talent Acquisition Strategy Consultant

Chiara is a talent acquisition expert with 12 years of progressive experience helping top employers attract and hire talent, mainly in the technology and healthcare sectors. In her view, recruiting talent doesn’t have to be painful.

She partners with businesses that are creating workplaces for the workforce of tomorrow. She also enjoys taking outdated recruitment models and transforming them into the new era. Her approach is straightforward, highly collaborative and effective. Chiara will partner with you to figure out the best ways to win talent for your company’s specific needs.

Recruiting highly specialized talent has become one of the most complex activities for businesses today – and the status quo just doesn’t work any more.


Miki Hara

Talent Acquisition & HR Strategy Consultant

Based in London, Miki Hara has been building high-performing teams in the Animation, Games, and Visual FX industries for 18 years.

She has recruited, trained and led creative and technical teams as a graphic artist, and for the past 10 years has mentored, coached and developed senior leaders, producers, supervisors, artists, and engineers as a deeply involved and committed HR & Recruitment leader.

Miki has expertly guided the development of great company cultures by ensuring that candidate and employee experience are held as top priorities at all levels of the organization from first contact, through short- and long-term collaboration, to last day and beyond. The relationships she builds with her teams are lifelong and deeply important to her.


Rachel Nixon

Digital and Creative Advisor

Rachel is an award-winning digital leader who has shaped the strategic vision for global media brands, honed through two decades’ working online.

She brings a unique combination of international editorial and executive experience at public media organizations – the BBC and CBC – and technology and business expertise from her role as Editor-in-Chief for News and Sports at Microsoft in the US.

Rachel has also held key roles in boundary-breaking journalism startups and recently graduated with honours from the professional photography program at the Vancouver Institute of Media Arts.

Whether fine art photography, or digital media brands, Rachel loves being able to use her storytelling skills to build strong connections with others.


Nicole Gravagna, PhD


Dr Nicole Gravagna is a neuroscientist and executive coach. She is the president of NeuroEQ, a management consulting and change management firm. You may know her as the author of MindSET Your Manners or coauthor of Venture Capital for Dummies. She is a contributor to Forbes, Inc., Newsweek, Medical Daily, HuffPost UK, and a three-year Quora Top writer.

After coaching literally hundreds of startup CEOs through the process of raising venture capital, she noticed that money was only a symptom of the real problem. When CEOs were having trouble reaching their goals, the problem was inside them, usually in the form of limiting beliefs.

Now, Nicole coaches executives in huge and small companies alike. She uses neuroscience and behaviour data to inspire successful people to turn their persistent problems into permanent solutions often resulting in exceptional performance.


Amy Foley

Talent Research & Sourcing

Soon after FORWARD started in 2013, Amy Foley worked as our #1 undercover sourcer for international talent across VFX, Cloud, Games and Mobile.

With an analytical mind, a background in QA and a service-oriented virtual assistant style of working (which means everything happens right now), Amy performs fast and accurate talent searches to create critical pipelines that shorten the talent analysis and presentation process.

Amy loves the variety of impossible searches at FORWARD and finding the right candidates to ensure talent and organization fit, hand in glove.

Jo Webb

Learning Officer

Acting as FORWARD U’s Learning Officer, Jo Webb brings executive level, high-impact coaching, training and consultancy to help organizations adapt to today’s new environment.

With 20 years of European HR Director experience across high-growth SMEs in media and creative sectors, Jo founded Culture Co to inspire leaders and teams to create a people-first, high-performance culture.


Dr Sher Downing

FORWARD U & Host of EdTech Speaks, a podcast exploring expertise and advice on navigating business and education in a technology driven world

Dr Sher Downing is an EdTech Strategist with over 30 years’ experience in higher education including leading online learning and technology initiatives for public, private, and profit higher education institutions.

Her proficiency lies in creating powerful training and educational programs while being cost effective and cutting edge in technological advancement. She provides industry expertise in the areas of online and course program development, strategies for program expansion, and executive mentoring for EdTech professionals.

She has served as an international and national presenter, author, media contributor, consultant, and as a mentor for EdTech startups. She holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree, both with specializations in instructional design for online learning and a master’s degree in legal studies with a focus on intellectual property/copyright. Her research interests include innovation technologies, strategic alignment for online delivery, and comparisons of human interaction with technology that impacts learning.


Catherine Wiggins

Organizational, Life, Wellbeing and Career Coach

Catherine is a business and community leader who has spent more than 20 years working in the British and Canadian financial sectors. Specializing in
process efficiency, change management and operations risk, Catherine uses her natural talents to organize, streamline and guide organizational structures to be the best they can be.

Catherine is a highly motivated, articulate and engaging individual who is driving her own career transformation to focus her skills and energy in to
helping individuals be the best they can by providing organizational, career, life and wellbeing coaching.

Recently relocated to the United Kingdom, Catherine is as busy exploring the UK countryside by bicycle or on foot. Catherine is committed to personal, social and environmental wellbeing for all.


Riday Sopariwala

Technical Talent Sourcing

Riday Sopariwala, our lead technical talent sourcer, has been blending the art and science of talent acquisition for Silicon Valley companies for almost a decade since obtaining a Masters in Human Resources. 

In Hindu, Riday means heart, which is evident in every interaction he makes to understand client needs and to collaborate with the team to solve the hardest of searches.

Today, Riday is studying Computer Science at Harvard University online to enhance his search and technical staff know-how. It’s an honour to have Riday work with us.


Let’s Work Together

Our #1 rule: We strive to understand your needs.

We ask a lot of questions. We work well with brains that enjoy a challenge, and are unafraid to go beyond the status quo to find solutions.

Are you ready to move FORWARD?