There are numerous successful women within the Yorkshire region and one of those is regional director of the Institute of Directors for Yorkshire and North East, Natalie Sykes.

TopicUK editor Gill Laidler caught up with Natalie recently to find out more about her successful career.

Leeds-born with a passion for enterprise from the age of eight and her first business at the age of 17, Natalie has a wealth of experience across an array of industry sectors including Royal Chartered Institutes and membership bodies, museums and historic venues, hospitality, health and wellbeing, finance and wealth management, capital equipment, automotive, regeneration, construction and real estate.

She has been integral to the success of strategic teams delivering profits whilst achieving industry awards with national and international luxury hospitality groups at senior management and board director level. Natalie is also actively involved in the charitable sector.
As a qualified interior architect, she has spent more than two decades working across the UK, Europe and Africa on a diverse range of projects for private owners and investors. These include the development of vineyards, leading spa and golf resorts, luxury villas, high quality bakeries and cafes, renowned cookery schools, Michelin-starred restaurants and the turnaround of exclusive, historic hotels, estates and iconic venues such as BAFTA.

Natalie served as a trustee and board director at the Grade II Thackray Medical Museum, Leeds, where she was directly involved in the redesign of the events centre, the retail shop and a retender process for the café. She also named and styled Café Duke at 116 Pall Mall, London, the prestigious headquarters of the Institute of Directors (IoD).

She was the youngest chairman ever appointed to regeneration charity the Groundwork Federation, where she served for eight years. She is director and shareholder of an exclusive, historic estate in Harrogate, where she holds property and served on the management team for several years. Natalie has recently designed and built homes in the Yorkshire Dales, forming part of her own property collection.

Presently, Natalie is the only Regional Director at the IoD with responsibility for two regions, Yorkshire and the North East. She was integral to the rollout of IoD Advance in the North, a powerful and innovative new membership platform.

Embracing lifelong learning for all, she achieved the prestigious Chartered Director status with the IoD, where she also holds a fellowship. She has been chairman for the IoD’s Young Directors’ Forum for Yorkshire; a judge for the IoD’s regional Director of the Year Awards and sat on the IoD’s National Membership Committee, where she was instrumental in developing what are now IoD 99 and IoD Student and deploying Direct Debit.

As part of her ongoing commitment to the UK’s skills agenda, Natalie served as the Vice-Chairman for the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) Ambassadors for Yorkshire and the Humber and judged its awards.

One of Grant Thornton’s ‘Faces of the Vibrant Economy’ - just one of a hundred ‘faces’ across the country - Natalie was in 2018 appointed to the Royal Mail Letters Advisory Board and the Royal Armouries Trading and Enterprise Board.