Committee Members

Inspired by a run in March 2022 with Sat and Mike, and fuelled by the collaborative efforts of our five co-founders, we proudly welcomed our first 14 members on board in October 2023.
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Sat Mann


An experienced business owner, having founded and run three businesses in Leeds over the last two decades. He believes people are what make a business successful, regardless of the product or service. He puts a high value on long-term relationships and has built a significant bank of contacts to call on across a variety of professions and sectors. Sat calls on this ample experience and entrepreneurial nature as co-founder of Leeds based consultancy ByDiffusion. Working with growing organisations Sat's astute and considered approach translates to solid support for businesses leaders and organisations of all sizes to evolve, improve and overcome the challenges holding them back in the business environment.

Mike Quate


Mike is a senior business leader spearheading business transformation and enthusing his passion to place people at the heart of strategies for change. Mike supports organisational growth and scale, brought to life with the application and leverage of digital and modern delivery approaches, all whilst fostering a positive culture and empowering business progression. With a career spanning 20 years in this arena, his work has taken him to a wide range of industries such as financial services and manufacturing, in roles stretching from head of change delivery to executive board director.

Mike’s current role; co-founder of byDiffusion, offers to support businesses of all sizes to evolve, improve and overcome the challenges holding them back. With a collaborative work ethic, experience, skill and an eye on market changes and technological advances, his aim is to allow leaders room for thought and change, giving space to develop further in the fast paced working world. In addition Mike is chair for the Leeds Digital Charity Ball, an annual event that raises funds to promote digital inclusion.

Reflecting on his own journey and with the return to his home town of Leeds, this has distilled Mike’s drive to harness and build a more inclusive city. Mike sees, and advocates the value in supporting collaboration between private, public and third sector organisations to promote a more regenerative and redistributive society. From this, the concept of One for the City was born.
Founding Members
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Guy Utley


Guy is the driving force behind Tall's creative vision. With tremendous passion, knowledge, and expertise, he tirelessly works to deliver above the weight. As Tall entered a new chapter known as a digital brand experience agency, Guy is hard-focused on helping clients communicate their personality online and keep consistency across digital channels.

Always in the back of his mind is that any agency work has to align with the client’s goals and objectives while also meeting the highest standards of quality and innovation.

The region has long been Guy's creative home, a place to channel entrepreneurship and sharpen his craft.  Revelling in the city's dynamic and vibrant digital and creative community there were no doubts when it came to choosing Tall's base in the city, where it has grown and developed into its niche with great success.

Caroline Broad


Bringing energy into any conversation, Caroline offers a vast understanding of business and the key areas relating to commercial resilience, growth and succession under various structures and in divergent industries. With experience of working in, alongside and advising all kinds of businesses Caroline has played an active role in the regional business support ecosystem for several years, now moving back into an operational role within a Leeds based business and continuing to support initiatives contributing to the wealth of region.

Recognising the importance and being exposed to the growth of the ESG agenda within the business environment, Caroline has a sound understanding of how environmental, social and governance elements apply to business and how crucial enterprise can be in advocating and achieving real change. Caroline has furthered her understanding with qualifications in environmental management and sustainability skills for the workforce.

As a true Yorkshire lass Caroline loves her city of Leeds, which has afforded her opportunities to progress and develop personally, and professionally within a range of high growth industries. Caroline loves spending her time in the outdoors, hiking through Yorkshire soaking up the landscape.

Anna Ashford


Anna is a high calibre and well-seasoned lawyer with hefty experience across different areas of the legal community. Now a resolute leader and commercial law connoisseur, Anna’s early years were spent within a global law firm supporting distressed business and facilitating business turn around. With this, came exposure to almost every sector within the business environment leading to a clear understanding, and harsh reality of economic downturn and changing markets. From fortifying factories in depressed towns to working with national high street chains, Anna has seen first-hand the challenges businesses face and the impact this has on its people and the local economy.

Anna’s refreshing outlook on the legal world fired her passion to disrupt the traditional, stuffy legal industry with ALT Legal. Anna leads a collective of like-minded legal professionals who are focused on making law more accessible to progressive start-ups, scale ups and SMEs (and dare she say it) making it fun and enjoyable along the way - words not usually associated with lawyers! Anna strongly believes in the need to build a fairer society, creating more opportunities for businesses and individuals and in the collective power of business, to make these much needed positive changes a reality.

University brought Anna to Leeds as a fresh faced 18 year old, capturing her heart and where she’s spent more than half her life in her adopted county of Yorkshire. She is proud to call it home. Being part of the thriving business community in the city and working with some of the region’s most exciting companies is still a daily thrill, driving Anna’s dedication to continuing the upward trajectory of Leeds that she’s witnessed over the past 25 years.

Sarah Hex


Sarah is a luminary within the world of business finance. Her lengthy and in-depth career has spanned the many strands of finance, including Venture Capital, Private Equity and Corporate Banking, with a sharp focus on business growth and Board advisory. As a reliant figure in the northern financial scene she is at the heart of the investment and advisory network, spending a large portion of her time with leaders in some of the most exciting businesses within regional high growth sectors. Sarah’s reflective, measured and knowledgeable approach compliments her understanding of the business support landscape.

Sarah continues to drive her passion for supporting SME’s in her role as Business Development Director at Arrow Professional Services, part of the Arrow Global Group, an International Asset manager of non-core assets. Not one to stand still, Sarah teams this role as founder and operational board member of Fund Her North, an organisation formed to support Female Founders in raising investment after recognising disparities in this area.

Living and working in the city has accelerated Sarah's career and reputation across the north of England. Whilst managing the work life balance, Sarah is an outdoor enthusiast enjoying the local countryside (often found running up mountains), and volunteering at a charity for abused women.

Hannah Corne


Originating from the Corporate world, after 15 years Hannah changed her focus to  the charity sector driven by a passion to ‘make the world a better place.’ Hannah's zeal lay in challenging inequity and inequality in her home city of Leeds and rallies to raise the voices of girls and women, allowing them to take up room and be visible in the world.

With far ranging experience Hannah has worked in, and seen  first-hand the small grass root organisations who work tirelessly within their communities, witnessing their positive impact and then shuddering decline as inadequate funding has resulted in the closing of services. This leaves huge gaps within communities. Hannah works fiercely to ensure funding remains consistent, and cites her work for St Gemma’s Hospice as evidence of increased demand for services and a rising funding gap.

Hannah believes in the huge giving potential of Leeds as a thriving and flourishing business mecca. Investment in the city is investment in its people and communities, where Hannah's life work is to work to close the inequity and inequality gap, believing businesses to have the power to make the city the most socially conscious city in the UK.
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Steph Taylor

CEO at Leeds Community Foundation

Steph has held national and local leadership roles in the charity and public sectors for 20 years.

Steph is an expert adviser on charity and giving, leading with passion and recognised as one of society’s most promising strategic leaders by Windsor Leadership. She has a relentless focus on changing the systems that drive inequality and centring the value of lived experience.

Steph's advanced understanding of governance, business development and fundraising, strategy and impact has led to her firm belief in the transformative power that comes from people working together across sectors to make a difference.

Steph is a proud Leodensian having returned to her home town following national and international opportunities to lead  in impact advisory and strategic philanthropy.
Committee members
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Rachel Smith

Committee member

Rachel is an experienced finance director, having worked across a range of industries, from retail to financial services to tech consultancy. Qualifying as a chartered accountant with PwC, her career has spanned commercial accounting and financial controller roles, before a foray into operations, looking after Asda’s resource planning for 150,000+ store employees and co-ordinating all the stores cost saving projects.

After 15 years in large complex organisations (and three children….) Rachel took the leap out of the corporate world to work with smaller, growing businesses – and for the past seven years has worked as a portfolio Finance Director, providing strategic financial support to Leeds SMEs across a range of industries.

Rachel loves playing her part in contributing to the growth of the thriving Leeds small business community and relishes the impact that can be made working with small business; from successfully acquiring grant funding, to securing new office space to proudly being part of a successful BCorp accreditation.

Having seen business be a real force for good and wanting to contribute more to the city in which she has spent all her working life, Rachel was excited about the opportunity to work with the inspiring OFTC team, to help them build on their fantastic work so far in building a real movement to help business be part of growinga more inclusive economy.

When not working Rachel spends her time trying to complete a never ending house renovation, taxiing her children to their various and numerous activities, volunteering as a SmartWorks career coach and playing padel.

Katherine Megson

Committee member

Katherine is knee--deep in supporting the growth of digital and tech start ups, scale-ups and established SMEs in her wide-ranging role at Bruntwood SciTech. Katherine enjoys bringing a creative flair to work, is passionate about connecting people and delivers a programme of activity that includes facilitating conversations, introductions and networking across tech ecosystems regionally - particularly in Leeds, sectorally, and nationally.

Named Facilitator of the Year at the Leeds Digital Awards 2023, as a former finance professional Katherine is well versed in the needs and pitfalls of growing businesses and accustomed to driving opportunity when it comes to positive change. In 2022, Katherine successfully delivered Bruntwood SciTech’s first Female Founders Incubator cohort in the city of Leeds, championing equality, diversity and inclusion with the successful programme both continuing in the city and expanding nationally.

Having lived in Leeds for almost 20 years, Katherine has regularly been involved in the third sector, championing several charities through fundraising and raising awareness of inequalities across the city.  Katherine is looking forward to making a bigger impact through the power of collaboration and feeding into Leeds' inclusive growth strategy.