Business leaders set out their ambitions on the Board

Earlier this year, we invited ambitious and passionate business leaders from across the City Region to join the LEP. Following a strong response from individuals across a wide range of sectors and experiences, we were delighted to welcome three new private sector members to augment the work of our existing board members.

Working in partnership with the West Yorkshire Combined Authority, the LEP Board oversees the delivery of our ambitions outlined in the recently revised Strategic Economic Plan for the region. Our plan sets out the 20 year strategy to grow the economy with a focus on good growth, bringing jobs and prosperity to all those who live and work here.

In this month’s column, we hear from two of our new members on what they hope to bring to the work of the LEP and why it is so critical in strengthening the City Region’s position at the heart of the northern economic growth agenda.

Ian Cherry – Chief Finance Officer, Nexus

I applied to join the LEP Board because I’m truly passionate about Leeds City Region and believe that bodies like the LEP genuinely stimulate growth. Having worked here throughout my career, starting work with one of the Big Four right through to a leading local business. As such, I have a good perspective of how broader changes in the economy will impact our SMEs and private sector. During my career I’ve worked in very focused, commercial environments and I want to bring some of this experience to enhance the commerciality of the LEP, its investments and strategic approach.

Private-public sector partnerships such as these are really valuable but only if the private sector stands up and says what they want to achieve and how they want to do it, which is what I’m doing. I believe we have a real opportunity to bring unity to the voice of the City Region and simplify the messages for our businesses to really understand what is being done on the economic growth agenda.

I fully support our prioritisation of good growth; our City Region can only truly prosper when we have skilled people and better jobs. Working for a fast growing tech company we’re looking to invest in our own future and finding the right skills is crucial for us. I’m really looking forward to working with the LEP on this important agenda and bringing about positive change to our economic landscape.

Joanna Robinson – Managing Director, Mansfield Pollard

As MD of a Bradford based air management company, I have thrived in what has traditionally been a male dominated environment. As one of the few women in the engineering industry, I feel very passionate about introducing and promoting engineering to young people, particularly girls, as a worthwhile and rewarding career.

I strive to champion women in engineering and am always looking to promote the opportunities for them within the industry and sector. The LEP is working on a number of initiatives to support careers in our key sectors, principally in digital, manufacturing and engineering, which I fully support and hope to champion to my full ability.

I am immensely proud of the company’s roots, and by joining the LEP board this, for me, is another opportunity to promote that Bradford and the wider City Region is one of the best places to set up, grow and run a business. I passionately believe that we as business leaders and as a LEP have a responsibility to set the direction for the future economic development of Leeds City Region and I relish the opportunity to oversee activity on skills, business support and innovation to encourage growth.

I am confident that my expertise and background from the private sector will help deliver the LEP’s transformative vision for the City Region. During my time on the Board, I will be committed to empowering the next generation of female business leaders and highlight the potential career opportunities within the manufacturing and engineering sectors.

Also joining the board are Dave Harris, Regional Director at RBS Corporate Banking in Yorkshire and Andrew Wright, Managing Director of Reliance Precision Ltd.