As CEO of Connected Places Catapult, Nicola Yates OBE works to put UK innovators, businesses and places at a competitive advantage at home and overseas. Nicola led the creation of Connected Places Catapult through the merger of the Future Cities Catapult (of which she was CEO) and the Transport Systems Catapult in 2019. With experience leading two major British cities (Bristol and Hull) as well as a rural Midlands district, Nicola is an expert in building visionary 'roundtable partnerships' which are key to cultivating successful places, and understands the power of technology to transform the destiny of local economies. In 2018, she harnessed these skills to broker the ground-breaking Belfast City Region Deal which secured more than half a billion in investment and an estimated '2 billion GVA benefit to Northern Ireland's innovation economy. In addition to sparking the innovation potential of places, Nicola has expertise in accelerating net zero transition. Whilst CEO at Hull City Council, she helped catalyse the Humber clean energy cluster, and under her leadership Bristol was the first UK city to be named European Green Capital, delivering one of the most technologically-enabled programmes to date. Nicola is currently a trustee for the independent policy think tank 'Centre for Cities' and is a member of SOLACE (the Society for Local Authority Chief Executives) and the Chartered Institute of Housing. She has featured in the Local Government Chronicle's 'Top 50 most influential figures in local government' and was awarded 'Woman Achiever in Housing'. In 2010, Nicola received an OBE for services to local government.