14 March 2017

Chamber of Commerce set to welcome new faces

Tim Newman -

The Southland Chamber of Commerce board is set for a shakeup at its annual general meeting in April.

Six people have been nominated for the board, with three spots up for grabs.

ActionCOACH master coach Andrew Johnston, Night ‘n Day Foodstore owner Jeanice Rohloff, Focus Technology Group founder Rod Sinclair, Enterprise Recruitment consultant Scott Whitaker and SBS Bank chief executive Shaun Drylie are all new nominees.

The only nominee who is currently a board member is BNZ business partner Kirsty McNeill.

The figure represents a jump over previous election cycles – in 2014 there were only three nominations for the board positions.

Chamber president Carla Forbes said it was “very exciting” to have more people putting their names forward.

“It’s a real accolade for the chamber to have so many people involved this time around – it shows there’s a real interest in what we’re trying to achieve.”

Forbes said the high interest was a result of the structural changes which had been made to the organisation and its role in the Southland business community.

“It’s a completely different beast from what it was a few years ago.

“The chamber has been very aggressive in its advocacy role over the last two years, we’re a lot more visible now than we were.

“What the Chamber of Commerce offers is continually growing, we cut a lot of stuff out and put a lot back in.

“The people who stood up and wanted to be on the board are all really excellent businessmen – I’d be thrilled to have any one of them represent us.”

Forbes said 2017 would be a pivotal year for the chamber, particularly in light of the implementation of the Southland Regional Development Strategy.

“The key project for us is to support the SoRDS initiative. We need to make the whole region really business friendly and attractive to people who want to come down and invest here.”

Forbes was unopposed in her nomination as president, and will enter into her third and final term.

At the 2014 annual general meeting the chamber, adopted a new constitution, with a major change being the inclusion of a three year limit on the president’s term.

Board members Dean Addie and James Jubb are both standing down at the end of the current term, creating a space for two of the three vacancies.

The results of the election will be announced at the chamber’s annual general meeting on April 6 at the Ascot Park Hotel.

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