President's Message - March 2016
As I prepared for this year’s Annual General Meeting, I took time to reflect on what a full and exciting year we have had as a Chamber. It was an immense privilege for me to be elected as President in March 2015 and to work closely with the Chamber team, fellow directors and of course our incredible Vice President June Cory to provide relevant, interesting and at times ground-breaking events for our members masterminded by our Executive Director.
As I have said many times before, we exist purely for our members and it was wonderful for me to witness so many member businesses and their employees attending a whole variety of events throughout the last year. We continued with our usual Chamber Breakfast speaker program with a particular favourite of mine being the presentation by John Hotowka, who not only managed to bring a great deal of common sense into our lives but also did it through the power of magic!
We also heard from Bill Grimsey about the future of the High Street, our City Centre Manager about the Business Improvement District project, Peter Bonfield and the amazing work at the building research establishment and James Blake and Julian Daly CEO and leader respectively at St Albans District Council.
Newly elected Chamber Director Pat Strods and Jon Hussey kindly updated us on the hot topic of auto-enrolment and we even managed to squeeze in a session on Thames Link just prior to the summer. Our Landmark St George's Day lunch and Chamber Ball were both immense fun and also provided us with an opportunity to raise funds for our chosen charities the St Albans Museums & Galleries Trust and Homestart St Albans. In addition, we were pleased to continue our popular Speed Networking evenings hosted by our very own June Cory from My Mustard, introduce our inaugural golf day at Aldwickbury Golf Club and run another successful business awards program, culminating with a fabulous finals evening also hosted at Aldwickbury golf club by superstar presenters Sabra Swinson and Paul Rosenthal.
Our curry networking evenings and our networking lunches appear to be a welcome supplement to our networking programme and we will continue to endeavour to provide a program into this year and beyond which enables as many of our members and their employees to meet and do business with as many fellow members as possible. If I had to pick one event however which captured the spirit of what we are seeking to achieve as a chamber, it would have to be the St Albans Business Festival founded by Lisa Bates & Simon George. It was fantastic to work with so many different businesses and groups in order to put on what was a truly spectacular week which gave a real boost in both profile and activity to our economy and really got businesses talking with each other. The St Albans business festival 2016 will be taking place from 4–8 July so please look out for the events calendar as it comes together over the next few weeks.
I am very grateful that members have re-elected me as President for a further year and I am also delighted that June Cory has also been re-elected as Vice President as she brings a wealth of knowledge an unbounded enthusiasm to the role. Also a huge thanks to our Treasurer Mark Fordham for his support. The Chamber board are looking forward to another amazing year of events which I am sure will prove to be even bigger and better than the year just gone.