The British Chambers of Commerce team recently had the privilege of hosting seven exceptional Chamber employees, who have collectively served Chamber members in their areas for over 233 years, and inviting them as our guests to the Queen’s Garden Party at Buckingham Palace.
Take Jennifer Hurley, who has worked for South Wales Chamber for over 44 years – and has been the face and voice of the Chamber’s export documentation business for over four decades.
Or Tim Bailey, of West and North Yorkshire Chamber, whose passion for export means he is still innovating with new digital services as he approaches his 35th work anniversary.
There’s Anne Marie Hughes, of Glasgow Chamber, who produces the city’s premier business publications and is the heart of the Glasgow Business Awards – who joined the Chamber as an office junior 33 years ago.
Not to be outdone, Lisa Wroe leads Greater Manchester Chamber’s events programme – after 34 years on the team. Jill Smith supports policy work across the Tees Valley for the North East England Chamber, 35 years after starting as an apprentice in the early 1980s. Dave Roberts of West Cheshire and North Wales Chamber leads on documentation work and as an export trainer for staff across the region. Both he and Wendy Chaplin of Suffolk Chamber, also an international trade and documentation specialist, have over 25 years’ service to their respective Chambers.
These are just seven long-serving Chamber heroes.
Among the more than 1,500 people working for accredited Chambers of Commerce across the United Kingdom, there are many, many more.
Each and every Chamber staff member is part of what I like to call ‘civic business’ in the UK.
Many work, often for decades and for less financial reward than they might earn elsewhere, for the direct benefit of the local business communities they serve.
They become trusted advisers, not just to Chamber members, but also to local charities, government agencies, schools and colleges, and budding entrepreneurs.
They provide exceptional customer service, to over 75,000 Chamber member companies – and their five million employees.
They help thousands of businesses trade overseas, using their knowledge of customs processes and different markets to help firms export and import successfully.
Many inspire and train the next generation, guiding young people through apprenticeships and careers fairs, serving as governors at local schools, and mentoring one-to-one.
Year after year, they sustain Chambers as private-sector businesses, operating in an always-complex, always-competitive environment.
And to a person, they are absolutely dedicated to making the places they call home better – not just for business, but for the community as a whole.
Adam Marshall 02.06.17