“The Size and Scale of YM’S Leeds Business Lunch Completely Took Me By Surprise” Says Channel 4 MD

The Yorkshire Mafia’s Leeds Business Lunch has built up a reputation over the years for being one of the best attended events in the annual calendar.

This year was no exception and with news still hitting the headlines that Channel 4 had chosen our city for its UK headquarters, we were straight on the phone to invite Managing Director of Nations and Regions, Sinead Rocks, to the stage.

Needless to say, she didn’t disappoint! So, having been based in Yorkshire for several months now, we catch up with Sinead to hear more about her experiences so far and her hopes for the future.

"I really didn’t know what to expect from the Leeds Business Lunch. It was one of the first official events I had attended since moving to Yorkshire and the size and scale of it took me completely by surprise. It was a wonderful opportunity to get to know people from a wide variety of sectors and companies in a relaxed environment."

“Had I known in advance how ‘social’ it was going to be, I would have cleared my diary for the rest of the day. Still, there’s always next year!”

Given the extensive media coverage that was secured when the news was announced that Channel 4 would move from London to Yorkshire, we ask Sinead what employees really think of Leeds and all that the region has to offer.

She adds: “The welcome we have received has been immense. A massive amount of people have been in touch and I’m still trying to catch up with emails!”

"Our staff that have relocated from London have been blown away by the city, and our new team members who are from here have enjoyed sharing their local knowledge. We’re all genuinely excited to see what we can do here in the coming years.”

With suggestions that the move will create huge opportunity for the region, we ask Sinead to be more specific about what she hopes to see as the broadcaster becomes more established here.

She adds: “In 2019 it has all been about getting our bases up and running. In the new year, our focus will be on working with independent production companies and other partners to support a TV industry that is more diverse and inclusive and that brings real benefits to local communities.

“We’ve always hoped our move would be a catalyst for further growth here and early signs are good. New production companies are moving in and the region has stepped up the support to new and existing creative businesses.

“In 2020 a new TV studio complex and post production facility is set to open and the city has also unveiled a new Opportunity Programme, specifically tailored to creative organisations. By 2023, our plan is to increase our out of London commissioning spend from 35 per cent to 50 per cent so there’s a lot to play for.”

We are so excited to hear the enthusiasm coming from someone who has only recently moved to the region. But what does Sinead really think about God’s own county?

She concludes: “What I like most about Yorkshire is the people, the attitude and the Everyman Cinema in Harrogate. When I meet with contacts that are contemplating making the same move, I say, do it!

“It was a massive leap of faith for me as I’d only ever visited the city a few times, but I am a total convert now. My advice would be to take the time to explore – you won’t be disappointed.”

We look forward to hearing more from Sinead as her plans are put into action and Leeds achieves the recognition it deserves as a leading UK provider of digital and creative programming.

For further details about our events programme and the incredible speakers we attract throughout the year please visit: https://theyorkshiremafia.com/events/ and for regular updates follow @MafiaYorkshire on Twitter.

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