The only Impartial Voice

Posted: 27 October 2023

The only Impartial Voice

As I reflect on my first week, I can say it has been a great opportunity to connect with representatives from all levels of government, and many members.

I know many of you but for those I have not had the opportunity to meet year, here is a little about my journey. I first came to Australia as a UK Government marketing advisor turned intrepid explorer who found her way to the tropics over 20 years ago to dive the barrier reef. The Yongala called me to Townsville, and I met a Burdekin boy.

Over 10 years and many trips back to Townsville I saw the city transform and become somewhere that this Londoner could settle down. And in 2008 I returned permanently, starting my marketing and PR business Crystal Clear in 2009 and yes finally starting a family with and marrying that Burdekin boy. 

Over the past 14 years it has been a privilege to work with and build relationships with many business owners, boards, and stakeholders from a huge range of industries across our region. I am the leader I am today because of the example many of them have set, the challenges we have faced together.  

I am supported by my family, a passionate board, an enthusiastic young chamber committee, and past presidents who have all volunteered considerable time and expertise over many years to advance business interests in our region. I also have the support of a very competent Membership Officer in Amanda who I have known and respected for many years. And Ross has been asked not to leave town!

Some of you know that I have worked with Ross and Chamber before. At the start of COVID the chamber board contracted me for a month to support Ross as the new CEO, this turned in to 20 months. His tourism business and my marketing business had taken a direct hit and we found ourselves like many other business owners confused and concerned about the future. We used the words pivot and resilience way more than we ever thought possible, we focused on the chamber’s core pillars and let them guide us. The role I played during that time still gives me a sense of achievement and highlighted to me the importance of the Chamber to our business community. It is thanks to that apprenticeship of sorts that I know I have the skills, experience, and connections to make a difference.

I’m honoured to have been entrusted with this pivotal role at such a critical time for our region. Miranda, Kevin, and I align on the priorities, challenges, and opportunities for chamber and looking into 2024 with 2 elections on the horizon the importance of Chamber as the only independent voice of the business community, is as relevant now as it has ever been in its 141-year history.

When we look at the core pillars that have guided Chamber over these years, they are simple. Chamber connects, informs and listens to the needs of members to then be an effective impartial voice.

I look forward to working with you all to build on the success of so many who have come before me and thank you for the opportunity.

Heidi, CEO