Wednesday 24 April 

12pm – 3:30pm

Bibis Restaurant, Sovereign St, Leeds LS1 4AG



Individual ticket – £55 + VAT

x5 tickets – £250 + VAT

x10 tickets – £475 + VAT

Please note there will be no table plan,
as it’s a networking event, we encourage
guests to sit with new connections.




Charity Partner


Principal Partner

Learn how to build a diverse team, champion equity and ensure inclusion in your organisation at our Redefining MACHO lunch in Leeds on 24 April.

This unique event, sponsored by EY, ThinCats and Eversheds, shows men how they can be better allies to women in their organisation and in the business community.

Nearly every organisation has focused on improving diversity, equity and inclusion over the past few decades, but the pace of change is slow and more needs to be done to support women in business by engaging men and unlocking real change.

Ten speakers – male and female – will explore themes of allyship in five debates before, during and after a three-course lunch, with chances to network and discuss the topics before and after the debates.

The session will be led by Rebecca Rennison (Corporate Finance partner at EY) and Simon Dixon (Head of Origination at ThinCats ). Simon inspired Rebecca to create the MACHO programme and she has held numerous workshops gathering feedback with real life examples that provide a clear roadmap.

MACHO stands for:

  • Meaningful Mentors
  • Amplify Awareness
  • Capture Confidence
  • Harmony with Home
  • Orchestrate Opportunities

Come and hear their stories and learn some practical steps to improve DE&I and realise the many benefits of Redefining MACHO!

Rebecca Rennison
Corporate Finance M&A Partner, EY
Rebecca is a partner at EY focused on Corporate Finance M&A. She has over 20 years’ experience helping shareholders unlock value by completing transformational transactions with Private Equity and global strategic trade. Born in the North, she spent 15 years with a North American investment bank whilst living in Vancouver, Canada. Rebecca is very passionate about DE&I and actively shares her experiences including her “Work Life Harmony Handguide” and “Confidence Boosting Alphabet” on how to SMASH Imposter Syndrome.  She chairs EY’s Corporate Finance Women’s Network and created the “MACHO” programme to help encourage male allyship and support a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Rebecca was recognised as a “Changemaker” at the 2022 Yorkshire Rainmakers Awards and was added to the exclusive Northern Power Women POWER list in 2023.  She is CPA, CFA charterholder and former Trustee of Big Sisters and Broughton House charities.

Simon Dixon
Senior Director, Business Development, ThinCats
Simon leads ThinCats’ origination team in the North and also leads the Private Equity team for ThinCats in the North and Scotland.  He has over 30 years’ experience in banking including 18 years in Leveraged Finance, supporting Private Equity across the North and leading teams across the region, with an extensive external network.  Simon joined ThinCats in 2023 having previously served as HSBC’s Head of Mid-Market Financial Sponsors in the North West. Prior to HSBC Simon worked for Clydesdale & Yorkshire Bank and Lloyds Bank.  Simon is very passionate about DE&I and is the original “MACHO man” as he inspired Rebecca to develop the MACHO programme.

Michelle Heptinstall
Director, Business Development Sponsors, ThinCats
Michelle has worked at alternative lender ThinCats for almost 2 years and has played a key part in building out coverage for Private Equity transactions across the North of England. She has worked in the regional lower mid-market space for over a decade and has a wealth of experience in the financial services and business banking industry. Her time at Virgin Money (Yorkshire Bank) prior to joining ThinCats was a great platform to learn, develop and progress from retail banking, through corporate and structured finance where she worked with businesses across a variety of sectors. She would love to see more diversity in the corporate finance community and help the next generation to feel empowered and supported on their personal journeys.

Adam Hastings
Partner, Addleshaw Goddard
Adam is a partner in the Corporate team at Addleshaw Goddard in Leeds. He has more than 20 years’ experience advising on a variety of national and international corporate transactional and advisory work, focusing in particular on listed companies, guiding them through their IPOs and beyond. He started his career in Australia before moving to the UK and his experience covers a range of industries and international markets, from sub-Saharan Africa to Central Asia and the Middle East. Adam is married to a lawyer and is a passionate exponent of improving equality in the legal profession.

Sarah Tulip
Head of Northern Delivery Centres, Cognizant
Sarah is the Head of Northern Delivery Centres at Cognizant and has previously held a number of COO roles within fast-growth technology businesses and worked for some of the most highly regarded consultancies in the world. She is also the Chair of the UKI Women Empowered Network, the Leeds Digital Board and Leeds Digital Forum, guiding the digital ecosystem to ensure the city is the most inclusive and best place to be a digital business. Sarah is also a co-founder of WILD Digital, which is a 2,500 member+ Northern community led initiative, focussed on both creating and highlighting activity that encourages minority groups to consider choosing a career in digital.

Ben Coggin
Transaction Diligence Partner, EY
Ben is a Partner at EY where he leads EY’s Transaction Diligence team in Yorkshire and the North East. Based in Leeds, and living in Sheffield, he has over 16 years’ experience providing financial due diligence services to both corporate and financial investors. Having returned to his home county of Yorkshire in 2018,  Ben’s career has also included a secondment to EYs Stockholm office, and over 5 years in EY’s London based Technology and Media sector team where he developed his love for all things digital! Ben is passionate about DE&I and has recently become UKI partner sponsor for EY’s Strategy and Transactions LGBT+ network.

Amanda Partland
Eversheds Sutherland
Amanda is an experienced M&A partner having advised large listed and privately owned businesses on acquisitions, disposals and corporate reorganisations for over 25 years. Amanda has particular experience of advising on cross-border transactions and has been recognised as a “Stand-Out Lawyer” by Thomson Reuters. Amanda leads the Eversheds Sutherland International Food and Beverage Sub-Sector Group and is head of the firm’s Company Commercial department in Leeds. Amanda is committed to inclusive career development and regularly coaches colleagues and members of the wider business community.  She is an active participant in the firm’s graduate recruitment scheme and, through the firm’s CSR programme, works with young people to help them maximise their potential.

Chris Boyes
Investor, BGF
Chris joined BGF in August 2013 and is based in Leeds. His role is to identify and execute investments for BGF, primarily across Yorkshire and the North East of England. As part of his role, Chris retains an active involvement with a number of our portfolio companies, notably Bayfields Group, Datum360, Newett Homes and Akula Living. In 2020, Chris formed part of BGF’s Diversity Action Group, and has since sponsored and led BGF’s efforts on Male Allyship. 

Nicola McQuaid
Investment Manager, NorthEdge
Nicola joined NorthEdge in 2016 with over 10 years’ experience in M&A.  She spent three years at JLA where she was part of a Private Equtiy backed management team and led on acquisitions. Nicola was an Assistant Director in PwC Corporate Finance before joining JLA and has advised on a variety of deals, including buyouts, acquisitions and disposals across a range of sectors. Nicola was recognised as a “Changemaker” at the 2023 Yorkshire Rainmakers Awards.

Andrew Ross
Investment Partner, Endless
Andy is an Investment Partner responsible for the firm’s operations in Yorkshire and the North East from Endless’ Leeds Headquarters. As well as leading investment activity generally in the region, he also has a national focus on finding new investments in the industrial/manufacturing sector. Andy has been with Endless since 2015. Prior to this, Andy spent 16 years at PwC advising regional corporates and their stakeholders through sales, purchases, restructures and refinancing projects. Away from work Andy spends most of his on the side-lines of various netball matches cheering on his two daughters, or playing ‘dad-taxi’ to their various social events. 

Jessica Armstrong
Head of Professional Services Sector coverage, Lloyds Banking Group
Jess is Head of Professional Services Sector coverage at Lloyds Banking Group, delivering strategic advice, working capital, risk management and global transactional banking solutions to firms in the Accountancy, Consultancy, Legal and Real Estate Services verticals. Jess joined Lloyds from HSBC in 2023, having spent 12 years progressing through a variety of roles including Leadership, Coverage, Group Strategy and M&A, in London, Hong Kong and the North of England.

This experience, alongside her current role, has given Jess an appreciation for the levels of progress made in the areas of D&I, Equality and Equity in both the Financial and Professional Services industries, on a regional and global basis.  She is committed to helping to continue this progress and ensuring the right conversations continue and best practice is shared.

Nik Pratap
Managing Partner, Pratap Partnership
An established leader in the recruitment industry in the North, with a strong reputation in delivering executive campaigns and recruitment strategies for key clients. Nik has a long history of working across the private sector, adviser and investor community across the region and beyond and as a result of this, has created a large network within the financial sector.  Nik is passionate about continually enhancing his understanding and bringing about improvements in the job market through positive ED&I practice. His main objective is to keep talking about ED&I, make it an increasingly “safe” subject for all to discuss, and to contribute towards making the Yorkshire & East Midlands business regions increasingly diverse and inclusive.