Paula Dillon, a partner at national law firm Bond Dickinson, has become the first female president of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce.
Paula succeeds Gerald Jennings, former regional director of Land Securities, who had been president since 2015. The Leeds Chamber of Commerce is part of the North and West Yorkshire Chamber, which covers Leeds, Bradford, York and North Yorkshire.
Paula has over 30 years of experience as a development and investment lawyer, advising on office, retail, industrial, residential and leisure development.
As well as being a Bond Dickinson board member, Paula also heads up the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion group and acts as member of the Northern board of the Investment Property Forum and as vice-chair of Opera North.
Paula Dillon said: “I am so proud to become the first female president of the Chamber. I am a firm believer that as a business leader you should be involved within your local community.
“Leeds is a vibrant place to live and work and the Chamber plays an important role in bringing organisations together to encourage enterprise and collaboration.
“Although we have come a long way when it comes to gender equality, I feel there is a huge under representation of women in some areas, especially in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) occupations.
“One of my objectives as President will be to narrow this gap, boost enterprise and help as many people as possible get into the workforce – especially women in STEM occupations and at board level or senior positions.”
Bond Dickinson’s Leeds office opened in 2012 following a relocation from York and in its first five years it has continued to go from strength to strength. The office employs more than 80 staff and acts for a number of private and public sector clients involved in the regeneration of the Yorkshire region.
On November 1, Bond Dickinson will combine with Womble Carlyle to create a new law firm – Womble Bond Dickinson.
Womble Bond Dickinson will have more than 420 partners, 1,000 lawyers and 2,395 people across eight offices in the UK and 16 offices in the US. The combination will put Womble Bond Dickinson in the UK’s top 20 and in the top 80 in the US listings.