Tell us a bit about yourself; your role as Head of Membership and your career background?
I have worked in account management, sales, and customer service roles in a range of industries during my career. The common thread and thing that excites me most is working closely with clients and customers and helping them solve their problems.
I’ve been working at Business West for 14 years in various roles from supporting people to start a business to managing a Chamber Membership Department; there’s always something new to get involved with here. I haven’t had a dull day yet! I’ve always found the job fascinating and I really appreciate working closely with businesses and being part of Business West’s journey.
My first role was in a very busy Business Information Team where we would triage a range of queries from new and existing south west businesses. It quite literally could be any question and I learned a lot very quickly! I then led the Business Start-up Team providing a full scope of services supporting people into business for the first time. This was another busy role which included managing up to 16 training workshops a month and a team of field based business advisers.
In 2011 I started working within the Chamber of Commerce at Business West which has seen me help the roll out of a new CRM system for membership, a new website, managing third party suppliers and most importantly supporting members wherever I can. My role as Head of Membership is really varied which I really enjoy. Although, however busy I may get with spreadsheets and meetings, I like to maintain a steady focus on our amazing member community and keep in contact with what’s going on for them.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
The Chamber of Commerce is a connector of people, information, and solutions, I feel like my job is a microcosm of that; making connections for our members and helping them get from A to B quicker and more successfully. This is where I know I add value. I also really enjoy enabling my team to be the best they can be, the creativity of product development and the excitement of building our member community.
And what are the most challenging aspects of your job?
Ensuring we find value for each and every member. This can be challenging but also massively rewarding. We have a large membership and therefore often need to respond to multiple needs and preferences; our membership community is made up of a range of sizes and sectors. We do this by understanding our members as best we can through building relationships and knowing how members are interacting with Business West on and offline; so we can spot where value is and build this up.
We always monitor and review of our membership offer ensuring it positively impacts each members’ business; we have lots of new initiatives for 2022.
Why should businesses consider joining the Chamber?
It’s a large, ready-made community full to the brim of skilled, experienced, knowledgeable, and supportive business people who all work hard to make their businesses and this region the best it can be; showing by action the chamber of commerce business community is a force for good. It’s a community full of opportunity and one where we provide an easy-to-use platform connecting members to solutions and each other. Everyone needs help at some time for one thing or another and there is an entire business community on hand to help. It gives businesses the chance to meet and learn from like-minded people, find new suppliers, find new customers and collaborate around the key business challenges of the day.
Recently, whilst discussing how membership supported his business, a member described membership as a buffet. That’s how I see it. You can pick and choose what you want and how you prefer to interact with it.
Can you give an example of a company where we’ve made a real difference?
Sliderfy are a young business doing great things but had the need to be around people who they could bounce ideas off to advance the business across multiple perspectives. The Chamber has been that ready-made experiences and supportive business community for them.
Sliderfy joined a peer-to-peer Board delivered by our member The Alternative Board where business owners meet monthly in guided sessions to share and resolve their most pressing business concerns. This type of support and tap into experience was just not available anywhere else for them.
They also gained some brilliant and always valuable national press coverage via a member discount we offer on the Journolink PR Platform.
Could Chamber membership benefit my business?