I play a lead role in our mental health work and am also involved in our resolution work. Before byrne·dean I spent 20 years as an Employment Lawyer in the city. I trained and became a Partner at London firm Gouldens before that firm merged with Jones Day where I stayed for a few years post-merger. Wanting to get into management, I joined London firm Speechly Bircham where I led the employment law team and served on the firm’s management committee. Then things changed a bit!
In 2011 I experienced a pretty serious mental breakdown, which resulted in time in hospital and a lengthy recovery process. While life shattering on pretty much every level, the experience forced me to think more about me and how I react and respond to the world, a greater curiosity perhaps. That led me to look at other people in a different way, with that same curiosity, wanting to understand why people do what they do, and to help them to that understanding, both to support them in their work and wider lives, avoid and resolve conflict, but also to promote mental health and help people avoid the experiences I had. Joining byrne·dean in 2013 was the obvious platform to enable that!
I spend most of my byrne·dean time delivering training and keynotes in an increasingly global classroom and helping people think more strategically about mental health and wellbeing within their organisations.
I co-chair the steering committee of the Lord Mayor of London’s This is Me campaign which is all about using personal story telling to reduce the stigma around mental illness. This was the catalyst for my publishing my first book, This too will pass – Anxiety in a Professional World, which came out in November 2018.
Since its launch in October 2018 I have led our work on the groundbreaking Mindful Business Charter which is a cross business initiative looking to reduce the unnecessary stress in the ways we work within and between our organisations so as to create healthier and more effective ways of working. Since April 2022 this has become a three day a week role in its own right, leaving the other two days to work for byrne·dean.
Outside of work, when not keeping up with my grown up kids, I am most likely to be cycling, kayaking on the Thames, cooking, exploring woodwork projects, or spending time in my haven in the Charente countryside in rural France.
"Richard's insights on the Mindful Business Charter and mental wellbeing helped achieve greater momentum, gravitas and buy-in to the importance of getting this right at our Firm. Richard's talk was authentic and honest, provoking others to consider their role in helping to shift the dial. We would highly recommend Richard and the team at byrne·dean."
Emma Honey, Partner, Michelmores LLP (Signatory of the Mindful Business Charter)