The Chamber’s AGM took place on 19th August and it was a very humbling, proud and positive experience for me.
Humbling because members confirmed me as President for another year. It is a great honour to be entrusted to represent their interests and lead the Board of Directors in overseeing and guiding Alan and the staff and making sure that they have the resources they need to create a chamber that has a positive impact on each individual member and that stands up for Fife.
I am delighted that I will be supported in this by the newly elected Vice President, Janet McIntyre from Thorntons Solicitors, Junior Vice President, Colin Brown from Burness Paull, and Treasurer, Dawn Watson from Exterity.
This is a very strong leadership team and I am looking forward to working with them. I know that I will benefit greatly from their guidance and advice during my final year in office and the Chamber can only benefit from having such capable individuals lined up to replace me.
Many parts of the AGM were a huge source of pride for me, especially listening to the Treasurer describing the very strong operating profit, rise in membership and substantial increase in income from events that was achieved in 2019.
Two years ago, the Board recognised that the Chamber was operating on very tight margins and set the Chamber team the task of building up the reserves. We set testing targets for 2018 and 2019 and those targets have been hit, which at the end of 2019 left us in a much better financial position than we had been in for many years. This has proved invaluable in this most eventful and unexpected of years. Even though we are hoping not to have to dip into those reserves this year, we do know that if things don’t go according to plan because of the ongoing impact of Covid and lockdown, we have a big cushion to fall back on.
I formally thanked four people who stood down from the Board having served their full term of office at the AGM: Louise Molloy from Bank of Scotland, Michael Longstaffe from Smith Anderson Group, Keith Winter from Fife Council and Alistair Booth from the HR Booth. Four very different people from very different organisations but all united by one thing: a commitment to making Fife Chamber successful and all willing to put in many hours of their own time to make it happen.
At the same time I also had the pleasure of welcoming three new Directors – Ken Gourlay from Fife Council, Sheena Doyle from the Really Useful HR Company and Dawn Watson from Exterity – to replace them. They will bring different expertise and skills but the same commitment and energy. I am very proud that Fife Chamber is held in such high esteem that people of their calibre want to serve on the Board for the benefit of members.
I see a strong team of Office Bearers and an experienced and determined Board. I see a healthy 12-month cash statement. I see a united and talented team of staff, who have repeatedly proven what they can do by hitting the stretching financial targets the Board set them and by adjusting so quickly and proficiently to new ways of working and running events when Covid struck. I see their innovation and ingenuity at work every day, whether it is moving the AGM so smoothly on to Zoom or creating exciting event programmes like ‘Chamber Chat’ and ‘Tour of Britain’. Most importantly I see lots of loyal members who want the Chamber to succeed and who will continue to support it through thick and thin.
So, as we look ahead to what will be a very difficult year I remain positive about Fife Chamber’s prospects and I can assure everyone reading this that if we don’t achieve the goals we have set for ourselves, it will not be for any lack of effort on the part of the staff, Directors, Office Bearers or me.