Leeds Leads 2017 – Panellists

We are delighted to announce that Prince Henry of Wales (Prince Harry) will be joining us for our Leeds Leads: Encouraging Happy Young Minds event.

The event will culminate in an interactive panel discussion, highlighting the issues that affect the mental wellbeing of young people in Leeds and how the city and business community can work together to support future generations. Chaired by former BBC news anchor, Jacqui Harper, guests will hear from panellists:

  • Tom Riordan – CEO of Leeds City Council
  • Emma Holmes – CEO of The Market Place
  • Stevie Ward – Leeds Rhinos Rugby Player and Founder of ‘Mantality’
  • Kate Hainsworth – Deputy CEO of Leeds Community Foundation


Jacqui Harper


Jacqui is a visiting professor at INSEAD, ‘the number one global business school’ (Financial Times, 2017) where she teaches Executive Presence to MBA students and executives. Jacqui often developed practical ways to overcome anxiety and pressure when she was a TV news anchor for the BBC.  She has presented several news programmes for BBC TV, Sky News and ITV and a chat show on BBC2. Her presenting experience gives her many practical insights and skills to share with business leaders needing high grade communication skills at conferences, board presentations, media interviews and stakeholder events. She has been transforming Executive Presentations for over fifteen years and her clients include many CEOs of global corporations and senior staff at The Foreign Office.

Jacqui has been a business reporter for the Oakland Tribune in California and written a business book called The Professional’s Guide to Presentations. She is currently writing a new book on Executive Presence.

Tom Riordan 

Tom Riordan

As Leeds City Council, Chief Executive, Tom has promoted leadership from all ages and communities. Since 2010, Tom has overseen a programme of over £300million of savings. The transformation of the council’s Children’s Services has won the praise of Ofsted. Leeds has just won the Municipal Journal’s Council of the Year award for 2016. Tom is the mental health champion in the council and is open about his own experience growing up around mental health issues.

He has helped forge an innovative partnership on health and social care, including a pioneering shared NHS/council patient care record and long term commissioned neighbourhood networks. Tom has been influential in ensuring significant progress on the city’s development, with £3.8billion of investment in Leeds over the last decade, including the completion of the First Direct Arena and Trinity and Victoria Gate shopping centres, and over 1million square feet of office and commercial space under construction. He has also overseen the council work with the third sector to successfully reduce the number of empty homes from 12,000 to 3,800 in 2016, and with the private sector to create the city’s first Recycling and Energy Recovery Facility.

Tom also contributed to securing and delivering the 2014 Tour de France Grand Départ, and has sights now set on the city becoming the European Capital of Culture in 2023.

Emma Holmes

Emma-new-picEmma is the CEO for The Market Place, a Leeds based organisation supporting young people around their emotional wellbeing and mental health. Emma is a qualified and registered social worker but has spent all of her working life within the voluntary sector.

Emma worked for 15 years in the field of Child Sexual Exploitation across West Yorkshire and set up one of the country’s first male only Child Sexual Exploitation services. Emma was also involved in setting up Bradford’s Multi-agency Child Sexual Exploitation Hub. As a practice educator Emma supports social work students on their practice placements.

Emma is passionate about ensuring the voices of young people are not only listened to but are truly heard and that they are central to influencing service development and service offer.

Stevie Ward

StevieStevie Ward, 23, plays Rugby League for the Leeds Rhinos. He won a Super League grand final at the age of 18 and played in a challenge cup final in the same year. After suffering from depression as a result of a series of injuries, Stevie established an online magazine, Mantality, which encourages people to open up about their mental health struggles.

The Leeds-born player wants to use his online magazine to give others an insight into the life of professional sportspeople and the struggles they face – “It’s not spoken about so let’s speak about it – let’s be honest.”




Kate Hainsworth


Kate is the Development Director and Deputy CEO of Leeds Community Foundation and works on generating funds for the charity and communicating with the Foundation’s many supporters. Identifying funding gaps in areas of local need, Kate was instrumental in establishing The Leeds Fund in 2016, to ensure the Foundation can act strategically, to support the thousands of grassroots charities that serve our community. Mental health has been the strategic priority for Leeds Community Foundation for the past two years.  Kate read Classics at Oxford before doing management training with Total Oil GB and a London marketing consultancy. She worked in Europe (Belgium and France), and returned to Leeds to work in senior cultural posts at Axis, Yorkshire Culture, and Opera North. Kate is passionate about developing the talents and providing opportunities for all people in our society, and strongly believes in the importance of investing in the wellbeing and confidence of our future generations.