Matt Dean

Co-Founder and Director

Matt Dean co-founded byrne·dean with Victoria Byrne in 2003. Together they are dedicated to the creation of kinder, fairer, more productive workplaces. A facilitator and author, Matt’s key skills are forward focused – he provides vision and clarity, simplifies complexity and challenges individuals to bring about change. He catalyses that change by getting every individual he works with to think about the impact they are having on the people around them and on their bit of the firm. A natural story-teller, he brings energy and lightness to any discussion about people in workplaces. He’s at home working one to one with transgressors (often the most senior people) and with groups and teams. He’s worked in over 40 countries since 2003.

Matt’s experience of head and neck cancer in 2009 and 2016 directly informs his work. He connects with people, he’s direct and he displays cultural sensitivity to the setting. He worked as a senior City lawyer until 2003 (latterly leading the Employment Law Training team at Simmons & Simmons). He instinctively understands people risk and regulation and dovetails easily with legal advisers. He’s worked in global settings in professional services, investment banking and financial services since 1989. He feels at home in competitive, performance focused workplaces and talks the language of the people who work in those settings. His first book ‘The Soft Stuff: reclaiming kindness for the world of work’ was published in April 2019.

In recent years Matt’s major, professional focus has been in four areas:

Workplace behaviour: how we treat each other. Working with individuals and groups (often after problems) to help create a dynamic in which everyone can thrive. Understanding that genuine relational conversations change firms.

Inclusion (and diversity): how to create inclusion, not just talk about engagement; how to listen, make decisions more consciously and genuinely to value difference.

Integrity, ethics & accountability: making sure that everyone understands what these words mean and what’s required in terms of adapting day-to-day behaviour.

Purpose led transformations: require clarity from both the firm and the individuals within it about their why. Then there needs to be some alignment of the two.

2003 – current: Founder, Director, byrne·dean

1995 – 2003: Simmons & Simmons

1989 – 1995: Richards Butler

1986 – 1988: Brand Manager, Unilever plc

BA (Law), Pembroke College, Oxford University

Law Society Finals, Manchester Polytechnic

Cross Cultural Understanding, Hofstede Institute

"Our partners have responded positively and constructively to the often stretching questions you have presented to them. Your ability to respectfully but deliberately challenge their thinking and encourage them to truly think about employee engagement, the firm, and how we wish to be perceived both internally and externally, is unparalleled."

Head of People Development, International Law Firm

Articles from

Matt Dean

A different fork in the road at Twitter

On International Men’s Day I thought I might send a note to a man who I think is giving us a bit of a bad rep.

I love cricket

Guidance for well-intentioned, probably white and white-haired leaders on how to be an effective advocate for a racially equitable organization.

Some women have big feet

Reflections on what happens when you really connect; Matt Dean's experience from early July.

Whistleblowing: inclusion and a bit of Sue Gray too

How do you enable and encourage leaders to create the right environment for people to share concerns and know how to deal with them?

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