Why Yorkshire’s professionals are joining forces to boost the region’s economy

Karen EcksteinKaren Eckstein
Karen Eckstein
A network that bangs the drum for Yorkshire’s world class professional services firms will grow next year after securing support from a number of major academic and business organisations.

The Collaborative Professionals Network (CPN) was created to encourage collaboration and communication between professionals working in Yorkshire. This year, the CPN has staged a number of events which have highlighted the importance of being kind to your staff.

Karen Eckstein, a lawyer who is one of the founders of CPN, said support was growing for the organisation’s work.

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She added: “The Be Kind theme is about being kind to yourself and being kind to others and taking the time out to actually check if somebody is alright. That was a really important message. All three of the Be Kind events fitted together really well.

“I really do hope it has had a big impact on businesses in Yorkshire. We’re such a small organisation but with such a big reach.

“To have organisations like Leeds Community Foundation, Leeds Beckett University and the Yorkshire Asian Business Association and Ascension joining us is great, as it shows our reach is getting bigger as more business organisations are joining us.

“Our theme for next year is building for the future. We’ve got lots of events in the planning process and we are very excited about that.”

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Ms Eckstein added: “The CPN is an umbrella organisation, seeking to put on events and provide services to the various member groups within its remit. The CPN aims to collaborate for the greater good of the individuals within the wider membership of CPN. Working together, we can build a greater Yorkshire.”

The network’s final event of the year featured presentations from Luke Ambler, the former professional rugby player, entrepreneur and award-winning mental health campaigner and Tom Riordan, the chief executive, Leeds City Council.

Mr Ambler, a former Halifax rugby league player, has earned plaudits from around the world for his campaigning.

The 28-year-old set up the charity Andy’s Man Club, in memory of his brother-in-law Andy, who tragically killed himself in 2016. The group aims to raise awareness of mental health issues among young men.

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Mr Riordan told the audience at Leeds Beckett University about his work to support the roll-out of mental health first aiders.

The event was chaired by Greg Wright, the deputy business editor of The Yorkshire Post.

Other participants in the debate included Jodie Hill, a Leeds-based employment and discrimination solicitor, who is a nationally acclaimed mental health campaigner.

Around 15 out of every 100 people at work have a mental health condition, according to Government estimates.

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Each year around 300,000 people with a long-term mental health condition lose their job, which is much higher than the rate for people with a physical health condition.

The bodies forming CPN are: The Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales, Leeds Law Society, The Institute of Directors, the Chartered Institute of Taxation, the Association of Taxation Technicians, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Chartered Insurance Institute.