Stronger Together in Leeds
Racial Diversity, Inclusion and Equity

A network aimed at raising the profile of racial diversity, inclusion and equity in the professional services sector in the Leeds City Region.

About Stronger Together

The aim of the network is to create peer to peer and  role model relationships and encourage more people from Black and other ethnic minority communities to be attracted to and retained in the professions in the Yorkshire region.

This is the first time that the top accounting firms and largest six law firms have collaborated locally on the challenges around racial diversity, inclusion and equity. We want to play a big part in bringing this network to life.

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Network Members

Meet the Team

Please get in touch with a member of the network below to find out more.

Arif Ahmad

Partner and North Head of Private Business

PwC United Kingdom

Arif joined PwC Leeds in 1996. He was PwC’s Leeds Office Senior Partner from 2013 to 2016, and was then Head of PwC’s London Region Assurance practice. He now leads PwC’s private business practice across the North of England and Chairs the PwC UK-India Group.

Matt Henderson

Managing Partner - Deloitte Private


Matt Henderson is the Managing Partner for Deloitte Private, a national full service offering team dedicated to serving entrepreneurs, founders, family enterprises, private capital investors and private companies in the UK. He also leads the Transaction Services business in Yorkshire and the North East.

John Alderton

Managing Partner Leeds

Squire Patton Boggs

John’s particular expertise covers restructuring, reorganisation and business support, lender security reviews and enhancement, as well as contentious and non-contentious insolvency and cross-border issues.

Jon Riley

Partner, Head of Office, Leeds

Pinsent Masons

Jon joined Pinsent Masons in 2005, He specialises in advising both the public and private sectors on projects of regional and national significance.

Pervinder Kaur

Partner, Head of Leeds Office, Head of Private Capital UK

Addleshaw Goddard

Pervinder has significant experience in providing trusts and tax planning advice to high-net-worth–individuals and also regularly advises on issues concerning succession planning.

Peter McCormack


Eversheds Sutherland

Peter heads our Leeds Company Commercial Practice Group and Commercial team in Leeds, which was awarded the 2013 Corporate & Commercial team of the year award at the annual Yorkshire Lawyer Awards.

Shabana Muneer

Director - Employment

Walker Morris

Shabana is an employment lawyer, with particular expertise in advising on all aspects of business immigration law and overseas recruitment. She has lectured on the LLB and LPC programmes at BPP Law School, and is a leading member of the firm’s Racial Diversity Committee.

Sohail Ali


DLA Piper

Sohail Ali is a litigation and arbitration lawyer who advises on high value, premium banking and corporate disputes. Sohail also leads the firm’s global Islamic Finance disputes practice.

Steve Blacker

Partner, Tax and Legal

KPMG in the UK

Steve is a tax partner who leads KPMG’s UK Innovation Reliefs & Incentives Group and the Corporate Tax team in Yorkshire. Steve is also the sponsoring partner of the African Caribbean Network in the North.

Tim Vance

Associate Partner


Tim is an Associate Partner in the Transaction and Restructuring Strategy team, and specialises in bringing leadership and innovative solutions to clients in difficult situations. Working across a wide range of sectors, he has over 15 years of experience advising a broad range of stakeholders of businesses experiencing financial and operational challenges.

Dan Dickinson

Tax Partner and Practice Leader Yorkshire and the North East

Grant Thornton

Dan joined Grant Thornton in Leeds as an international tax partner in 2020. Dan began his career in Leeds with subsequent spells living and working in London and Singapore, before returning home to Yorkshire. He was appointed as Practice Leader for Grant Thornton in Yorkshire and the North-East in January 2024.

Our News and Events

Please share your suggestions as to future event topics and speaker ideas.

Stronger Together Launch Event at Leeds Civic Hall

The network was launched at a high profile event at Leeds Civic Hall, hosted by Tom Riordan, Chief Executive of Leeds City Council.

Panel members shared their personal stories around how they have overcome challenges in their career journey, while the goals and objectives of the network were also discussed.

Winning team at Legal 500 Awards

We’re delighted to win the Diversity, Inclusion & Equality category at The Northern Powerhouse Legal 500 Awards

Described by the judges as ”an ambitious initiative aimed at boosting diversity in professional services.”

It’s a great accolade to win such a prestigious award against such strong competition only a year after launching the network and really demonstrates the collaboration between the firms.

Stronger Together sponsor Black Legacy Awards

Stronger Together  sponsored the Business of the Year category which celebrates the extra ordinary workings of a business that showcases resilience, entrepreneurial qualities, endorses a can-do attitude and breaks boundaries. Fowler and Powell were the worthy winners.

The Legacy Awards Ceremony in Leeds recognises historic and present-day achievements from and for those within ethnic communities and acknowledges those who have worked with and for Black Communities across the Leeds City Region

Mentor of the Year winner

Congratulations to Arif Ahmad Pervinder Kaur Steven Blacker who won  the Mentor of the Year category on behalf of Stronger Together at Northern Leadership Awards.

The awards,  were created to celebrate inspirational leaders and role models, and to recognise the traits and achievements of modern leaders.

Lubna Shuja

Lubna Shuja, the President of the The Law Society of England and Wales was the guest speaker at our Stronger Together networking event. Colleagues from six law firms and four accountancy firms in the Leeds city region attended.

Lubna is the first Asian, first Muslim and only the 7th female president to hold the role.

Originally from Bradford and raised in a working class family with no connections to the legal professions, Lubna shared her journey from junior solicitor to setting up her own practice and the challenges she’s faced along the way.

Lubna talked about the importance of allyship, the benefits of a diverse workforce and her aspiration for law to be seen as an attractive profession for everyone, regardless of our heritage or backgrounds.

Lubna’s advice to the network included challenging yourself to step outside your comfort zone, following your own path, take every opportunity that presents itself and the importance of networking which can take place in our everyday spaces.

Grant Thornton joins Stronger Together

Grant Thornton is the latest professional services firm to join Stronger Together.

Dan Dickinson, Practice Leader at Grant Thornton, will join Stronger Together’s
Executive Committee to focus on the strategic direction of the network and its key
objectives of retention and attraction of minority ethnic talent in the Leeds
professional services sector.

Several of Dan’s colleagues will also join the Stronger Together Junior Committee,
working with a peer group from member firms to organise inspiring events, reverse
mentor more senior colleagues, deliver training, run insight days for Leeds City
Academy and represent Stronger Together at networking events.

Arif Ahmad, Co-Founder of Stronger Together and Partner at PwC said:

“We’re delighted to welcome Grant Thornton to Stronger Together. By working
together on this agenda and expanding the reach of the network, I’m excited by
what we can collectively achieve by sharing our stories, expertise and networks.

“The focus on improving racial diversity, representation, progression and retention
requires a different approach and for us all to work together. Having a succinct
strategy around how to make racial diversity more effective has huge benefits for
individuals, businesses and our collective success as a society.

“Grant Thornton will play a key role in driving forward our objective of encouraging
more people from ethnic minority communities to be attracted to, and retained in,
the professions in our region.

“We also plan to open up our career development series to other professional
services firms in the region to enable them to benefit from the learnings we’re
sharing in the network, keeping inclusivity at the heart of everything we do.”

Dan Dickinson, Practice Leader at Grant Thornton in Leeds, said:

“We’re thrilled to join Stronger Together. What they’ve achieved from a standing
start in just over two years is very impressive and marks a real step change in
collaboration amongst the region’s professional services sector. in Leeds not just
now but in years to come. By collaborating, we can create what I hope will be a
pivotal moment in time for racial diversity, inclusion and equality within professional

“By sharing our stories, expertise and network and engaging in these important
conversations, we will become more inclusive together. They will also complement
Grant Thornton’s diversity and inclusion efforts already established in Leeds.”

Our Mentor Programme

The Stronger Together network has launched a cross-firm mentor programme of over 100 people to share collective experiences of equality and diversity challenges, and more importantly, approaches and ideas to overcome those barriers. By giving greater access and visibility of role models and mentors locally, this will help achieve greater inclusion and equality within the professional services sector in the region. Please get in touch if you’d like to find out more.

There are also planned recruitment initiatives to engage with the local education network, particularly at school leaver level to showcase the diverse range of career opportunities within professional services.

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Contact Us

Media queries: Katy Turner 07966 527168 or email