The Institute of Directors (IoD) has appointed Debra Leeves to lead its East Yorkshire branch.
Debra is chief executive of Vertual, a technology spin-out from the University of Hull that specialises in virtual reality training systems in radiation therapy.
She has worked in technology, biotechnology and pharmaceuticals for 25 years, managing companies in the US, Middle East and Europe. Debra has held several board positions and is currently on the board of AIM-listed technology company Cambridge Cognition.
As IoD chair, she has responsibility for setting professional standards, providing branch leadership and offering commercial guidance. Debra will support members across East Yorkshire to build connections, gain professional development and influence decision-makers.
The IoD secured vital support for directors during the Covid-19 pandemic, including financial assistance for wage bills and changes to insolvency rules.
Debra said: “I am honoured to be selected as chair. The region has an abundance of successful entrepreneurs and self-made business leaders with a strong presence in energy, manufacturing and engineering, technology and digital, agri-foods and bio-renewables, as well as ports and logistics.
“As chair I want to ensure that, in the post-pandemic world, all directors are as prepared as they can be to trade and accelerate their business operations. My aims are to help shape the IoD agenda and make it relevant to all directors in the region while promoting East Yorkshire to the wider IoD community and government policy makers.”
Delroy Beverley, IoD regional chair for the Yorkshire and the North East, said: “We were looking for a leader of leaders and Debra is the ideal candidate. She will continue the legacy of inspiring local directors, amplify their voices and provide regular opportunities to expand their network and skills. In addition, she will bring a commercial thought process that will galvanise the wider region, whilst remaining true to the one IoD methodology.
“Debra also shares my passion for mentoring the next generation of leaders. As we emerge from the pandemic and build back better, we will open up relationships between business and education providers to ensure that young people in East Yorkshire are supported as they climb the career ladder and become tomorrow’s directors.”
Debra succeeds Pat Coyle of law firm Rollits, who stepped down upon the successful completion of her full term as chair. Delroy added: “We owe Pat a debt of gratitude for all she has done for the branch network, but also for the wider business community.”