Collaborative Leeds Professionals has been established to shout about the world class professionals who have established a base in Yorkshire.
The group aims to provide a forum for informed debate about the major issues facing the region’s economy. It believes collaboration is the best way of ensuring Yorkshire’s voice is heard in the corridors of power.
The organisation’s first event, which was held at the offices of law firm Ward Hadaway in Leeds, highlighted the ways companies across a range of sectors can continue to prosper, at a time when more services and processes are becoming automated.
The debate, which was chaired by Greg Wright, The Yorkshire Post’s deputy business editor, featured Mark Burns, a partner at the law firm Gunnercooke LLP, Alistair Callander, the chief executive of chartered financial planners The Private Office, Kenton Robbins, the managing director of Hudson James Capital group and Victoria Tomlinson, the chief executive of Northern Lights, the public relations and communications company.
The panel analysed how automation is revolutionising the world of professional services, and the changes firms must make in order to flourish.
The debate focused on how companies must continue to show they can add value during a time of radical change.
The new group was formed as a result of a partnership between The Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Leeds Law Society, The Institute of Directors, the Chartered Institute of Taxation and Association of Taxation Technicians, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners and West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.
Karen Eckstein, the former chairman of the Leeds branch of the Chartered Institute of Taxation and Association of Taxation Technicians, said the new group aimed to hold networking events for “the greater good” of all professionals.
Ms Eckstein is particularly keen to encourage younger professionals to attend business events and seminars.
She said many of the younger members of professional groups wanted to develop their “soft skills”.
They also were looking for more networking opportunities. She said the group’s mission was to encourage Yorkshire people to use local firms for their professional services.
She said: “Business and commercial people can work together, so that we create a closer business and professional network in Yorkshire.
Ms Eckstein, who is a legal director at law firm Bond Dickinson in Leeds, said the debate had highlighted the fact that there was a need for “more junior employees to learn at the seat of the senior people”.
The debate had also illustrated the need to work flexibly and remotely.
She added: “We saw it (automation) as a threat, and an opportunity, and there were some very interesting ideas that came out from the various speakers.
She said sectors such as financial services had gone through a sea change in recent years.
Ms Eckstein said: “It’s about nurturing talent, and we’re trying to bring people together.
“We want to bring the business and commercial and professional networks together, and build a community in Yorkshire.
“We can identify opportunities to make people understand how we can work together, and add value together.”