Matt Dean

Co-Founder, Director

I co-founded byrne·dean with Victoria Byrne in 2003. Our goal has always been the creation of kinder, fairer workplaces that unleash the potential of their people.

I have spent most of the last 35 years thinking about workplace problems. My main skills are providing vision and clarity, simplifying complexity and challenging individuals to bring about change. I catalyse that change by getting every individual I work with to think about the impact they are having on the people around them and on their bit of the organisation. I tell stories and hope to bring energy and lightness to any discussion about people in workplaces.

I work in our all of our teams: Strategy, Training and Resolution. I’m equally at home one to one with business leaders and transgressors (who are often the most senior people) and with large groups and teams. I’ve worked physically in about 40 countries since 2003 and during the pandemic took that number to over 50 with virtual work.

I worked as a senior City lawyer until 2003, led the Employment Law Training team at Simmons & Simmons, was on the Management Committee of the Employment Lawyers Association and Chair of Islington Law Centre.

I’ve lived with cancer since 2009 and this directly informs my work. I connect with people on a human level; I’m direct and display cultural sensitivity to the setting I’m in. Given my experience I instinctively understand people risk and regulation and dovetail easily with legal advisers – particularly in my Strategy work. I’ve worked in global settings in professional services, investment banking and financial services since 1989; absolutely at home in competitive, performance focused workplaces and talk the language of the people who work in those settings. My first book ‘The Soft Stuff: reclaiming kindness for the world of work’ was published in April 2019.

In recent years my major, professional focus has been in four areas:

Workplace behaviour: how we treat each other. Working with individuals and groups (often after workplace 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

Workplace dynamics - Seven trends in 2024 employers need to address

As leaders and HR prep budgets for the new financial year, seven key workforce themes warrant attention.

Workplaces, kindness, Israel and Gaza

Guidance for leaders, managers and everyone to support colleagues who are affected, with kindness.

Guest Q&A – HSBC’s Global Head of Inclusion

Carolanne Minashi joins us to talk inclusion and polarisation at work in 2023.

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.

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