Well my ‘presidential’ year has officially started! It really does sound rather grand. Ian and his team at the Chamber run the show brilliantly and make the every day happen for our members.
My bit comes in as ultimate flag waver, sounding board, Pied Piper, momentum builder, idea generator, initiative driver, and general advocate for Dorset businesses. It goes without saying that I’m really looking forward to driving forward all of these aspects.
What gives me the right to be your Chamber’s President you may fairly ask? I’ve been a member of Dorset Chamber for the lifespan of my business, Liz Lean PR, which I established 20 years ago. I have always felt it important to be a member and I have benefited enormously from it; as with all these things, you get out what you put in. And I have met a wonderful community of engaging and talented business people over the years, which has developed a close network for my business as a result.
I joined the board two years ago and was thrilled when I was asked to consider the three-year process to become President. It is a privilege that I certainly don’t take lightly and I have pledged to focus on a few key areas this year, which I hope will resonate with our members.
Supporting young people entering the workplace is key to our future as a vibrant economy. I aim to continue the good work of last year’s President, Paul Tansey, with the inception of the Careers Fair. Anything we can do to nurture our young people and provide them with opportunities in the workplace is close to my heart, as is making Dorset Chamber relevant, welcoming and accessible to our many talented young entrepreneurs. We are fortunate to have an increasing number of hard working and innovative people enter the business community and I am keen to ensure they are an intrinsic part of Dorset Chamber moving forward.
Another area I hope to focus on is the mental health and wellbeing of our business people. The workplace is as stressful as it’s ever been. The last recession took its toll, dragging on so long, and the government turmoil ever since has been relentless. To be good leaders and to support our teams we also need to be fit and well, mentally and physically. Being open about when we feel flat shouldn’t be judged negatively and I’d like to think the warm and nurturing environment of Dorset Chamber and its team is the perfect platform for support.
Creativity and the arts is an outlet which works for me when I need a boost and encouraging increased opportunities for Dorset to shine culturally, on a UK wide stage, is important to me. As the local authorities merge, we must use the momentum of a more connected community to position Dorset as a cultural centre of excellence. This is a sure way to attract the talent we need from other towns and cities and to start chipping away at the skills shortage across industries, particularly in the creative sector.
My team and I are proud to be a part of the vibrant scene we have here and it is key Dorset Chamber is seen as relevant to those in the creative industries. I’d like to see membership increase from this sector and I’ll be finding out what could make that happen.
I welcome your ideas and thoughts on anything raised here. I prefer working as a team; many minds are better than one.
It will no doubt be like any year ahead, with its ups (70th anniversary celebrations!) and its potential downs (yes we are heading deeper into Brexit zone) but I will be alongside the Chamber team rooting for our members and doing what we can to support throughout.
Thank you for welcoming me as your President.