Meet the Tiger HR Team

Vanessa Challess

Managing Partner

Tiger HR was founded by Vanessa Challess whose strong background in commercial litigation gives her a unique perspective on keeping clients away from disputes and hourly charges.

When she realised how many of her legal clients’ expensive legal requirements arose from a lack of sound HR & Employment Law advice and support, she became determined to do something for the many companies, furiously busy developing their businesses, who had  neither the time nor expertise to have proper HR practices in place and for whom, the larger HR consultancies are a poor fit.

As a natural-born entrepreneur she truly understands the real world challenges of running a successful business. Her clients appreciate her clarity, willingness to really listen to their concerns and the context of their issues and her weather eye and timely advice on what pitfalls might lie ahead for them.

Vanessa lives in Kent with her husband Alex and three children. She enjoys travelling, good wine and making things happen.

Sebastian Mattern

Associate of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development

Lead Consultant

Seb is Tiger HR’s principal Human Resources maestro and as such he is key to ensuring that we provide our employer clients with a service that is truly in line with the real world needs of their business.

Seb decided to specialize in HR, Employment Relations and Employment Law following a successful 11 year corporate career as Director of Client Services and Operations for an international firm. He oversaw HR for staff in 35 countries across the world. He completed his Level 7 CIPD programme and is now a proud member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

If you have staff issues, or just have better things to do than worry about HR compliance Seb has your back. With Seb onside you will most likely avoid trouble because his keen eye and skill as a communicator will ensure that there is no fertile soil or compliance oversight for problems to arise on his watch.

Seb likes to escape to the countryside or beach with his partner and dogs. He also enjoys mountain biking, politics, spending time with friends and loves to travel.

Richard Thompson


Richard’s path into the legal profession did not follow a traditional route.
After graduating in Law from the University of Sheffield, as his fellow graduates headed straight off to work in law firms, Richard instead joined the RAF as an intelligence officer, but, realising that he “wasn’t up for spending the rest of his life in a dark bunker” he headed for Paris where he worked as an assistant store manager in a home decoration boutique.

Back in London he gained his LPC and went on to specialise in Employment Law. Two contrasting appointments, one at a City firm where he focused on advising firms on how to prevent disputes from escalating to litigation and then at a leading Kent firm where the emphasis was on litigation and detailed legal advice brought him to the inevitable conclusion that prevention is so much better than cure.

In 2014 he left private practice to focus on training. “I could see how damaging litigation was and realised there was a better way – managers need to learn the skills to reduce risk through their day to day actions and decision making. I have always been very people focused – I love building relationships with clients creating trust and providing creative solutions. I definitely don’t fit the profile of the ‘traditional lawyer’! Yes I’ve got great experience and knowledge of the employment law field but I also have a good understanding of how human beings operate in the workplace that means I don’t just look at the law, but really enjoy exploring the human dynamics, how and why problems have arisen in order to reach solutions that don’t just address the immediate concern, but look to create positive culture change within organisations.”

Outside of work Richard is never happier than when in the middle of nowhere on top of a mountain. He heads off to his little cottage in the Lake District with his husband and lovely twin daughters who, he says are developing into “proper little mountain goats!

Leonie is a key part of the legal support that underpins Tiger HR’s services. She recently completed 5 years part time study to attain a 2:1 in her LLB with Open University – a course she has combined with raising 2 kids. She has now completed her legal training and her admission to the Roll of Solicitors, which will make her a fully-fledged solicitor with Tiger Law, is pending.

Since joining Tiger she completed her LLM and LPC with Commendation at the University of Law in Bloomsbury. Her 5 year stint as an advisor at Citizens Advice Bureau means Leonie has exactly the sort of real world experience that makes her ideal for Tiger HR’s down-to-earth philosophy. Leonie has a particular interest in private client work and helps business clients arrange their personal planning to work hand in hand with their business succession strategy.

She is relieved to have finished a demanding part time University course. All the same, with school age kids and her increasingly busy role with both the Tiger companies, we were sensitive when asking Leonie if she had any other interests! Her getaway is the Health & Fitness Centre and she likes to run.

Leonie Savory

Legal Consultant
(Admission to the Roll of Solicitors pending)

Rebekah deals with all our day-to-day running and client support and is key to the smooth running of both Tiger Law and InHouse Legals. Vanessa has been known to refer to her as her “office wife”.

Bex is often the first person that clients encounter and they soon come to know her as the reliable and persistent lynchpin of Tiger Group operations, relentlessly chasing down paperwork from authorities like the Courts and Land Registry – a particularly thankless task given recent budget cuts. She keeps Vanessa and the team’s workload and billing on track and manages the various systems and case management tools that we rely on to run the business.

Bex loves music, especially the live and loud variety, reading and movies. She has a small and adorable daughter and, as of December 2017, a baby son as well. She and her husband are expert roadtrippers. If you have ever dreamt of trekking across the US in an RV, ask Bex on a quiet day – if she ever has one.

Rebekah Manning

PA to Vanessa Challess

Chloe swept into the Tiger team to help us all out with our exploding administration needs in late 2018. It was very much a case of hitting the ground running as the Tiger businesses were all experiencing record client intake. Keeping everything on track and inboxes clear had never been more essential.

We’re all super-proud of how she rose to the challenge, rolled her sleeves up and swiftly and confidently got to grips with the job like a true Tiger pro. Especially considering she had only finished her business and accounting college course less than a year earlier. The difference in all our stress-levels has been remarkable!

Some people just get it, and Chloe is one of them, we know she’s going to go far with us!

Chloe is an animal lover like the rest of us. She arrived in Wye from Manchester a few years back, along with a delighted horse and beautiful Welsh collie ,and they all take every opportunity to enjoy our fabulous Kent countryside. “I’m stuck in Kent now” she says “and I love it, I never want to leave.” Finding such a lively firm to work in right on her doorstep was just icing on the cake!

Chloe Bottomley

Admin Assistant