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Recrutiment & Employment Confederation

My pledge as the new REC Chair

In your corner: REC 2021

Sarah Thewlis avatar

Written by Sarah Thewlis Managing Director, Thewlis Graham Associates

I'm Sarah Thewlis, and I'm delighted to be the newly elected Chair of REC.

When it was time for me to consider which membership organisation to join, I took the decision quite seriously. I explored the options and weighed up what I thought mattered most to me and to my business. I decided that the REC was the one for us.

I'd started my business just after the financial crash of 2008/9. We had to work hard to make it a success and ten years on, our boutique executive search firm has great clients and excellent candidates. I already knew about the value created by membership and compliance organisations because I'd worked in them, specifically in the health sector, and I specialise in senior executive appointments for not-for-profits and other professional bodies. I brought with me fifteen years of experience as a CEO, so I knew exactly what type of consultancy service I wanted to provide to clients like me.

I've been a member of REC since 2012 when REC offered me a badge to demonstrate that I was good at what I do and that my team met the highest standards of ethical practice. But there was much more to it than that.

I could see that REC was out there championing our work and our sector. That’s important since, frankly, we aren’t always given the best press. As a specialist SME business, I feel very strongly that bad press doesn’t do justice either to what my team and I do, or to the ethical standards I encounter from REC colleagues.

REC has really stepped up a gear in terms of championing our sector. And the support and information they have provided throughout the pandemic has been outstanding. It’s really made a difference in a tough time.

I took the decision of joining the REC seriously and I took the decision to stand as Chair equally seriously.


There are four major points that I want to focus on with Neil and the team during my term of office.

  1. To further build up external recognition for the importance of our industry both to the UK and to individuals. Recruitment is quite a complicated business, and we need to get broader recognition of the fact.
  2. To support the regional agenda and to support members wherever they operate, both in the UK and increasingly beyond.
  3. To uphold standards in all parts of our industry, whether contingent supply or exec search – and to call out poor practice. There is no room in the industry for those who will not abide by the rules when the rest of us are working hard to provide quality service.
  4. To raise the stakes in Diversity and Inclusion and apply good recruitment principles in supporting clients and candidates from an increasing range of backgrounds. There is very good work going on already, and we have the duty and the power to do even more.

I am keen to work with as many REC members as possible to deliver on these points. Part of my role will be to support but also to challenge the executive team to do even more to support businesses like mine and like yours. With this in mind, I'd welcome member feedback at any time.

The REC is a great organisation and I'm proud to chair it. Together we can really make a difference to the world of recruitment - REC membership is the key to delivering on that difference.

Renew your REC Corporate membership

As a not-for profit organisation, we exist to fight for recruitment businesses like yours, but we can only continue to do that with your support.

If you are responsible for renewing your business's Corporate membership, you can do so now by contacting your REC Account Manager.