Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce has appointed three new Directors and a new Chair in its continued bid to improve its offer and maximise its potential.
Incoming Chair Lee-Anne Gillie takes over from Moira Wilson.
Lee-Anne, who started her career with Peri-Dent in Galashiels in 1991, joined RP Adam Ltd in 2006 and following its acquisition by Ecolab in 2017, she oversaw the business integration, change management process, retention of customers and new business. She is currently a business consultant, working with various Borders-based businesses on achieving sales growth.
“It’s a privilege to be entrusted with the position of Chair.” she said.
“We are fortunate to have an incredibly diverse range of businesses across the region, and while we are likely to face a great number of challenges in this ever-changing COVID world, the people and the businesses within the area have always been resilient. It’s our duty now more than ever to represent their needs and to provide a platform to showcase what they can offer locally and further afield.”
The Chamber’s new Directors are Giles Etherington, Tim Ferguson and Alan Wheelans.
Giles Etherington, who started his career with US advertising agency J. Walter Thompson (now known as Wunderman Thompson) – is owner of Brand Satellite, a brand consultancy based in Melrose and with clients across the UK. Now a Strategic Consultant, he helps start-ups, entrepreneurs and SMEs to think, look and act like big brands.
Giles said: “Our ambition is the make the Scottish Borders Chamber a ‘must join’ for every Scottish Borders business. The discussions we’ve had, coupled with the changes that are already in motion, give me confidence that we will go from strength to strength.
“I’m looking forward to using my skills and experience, alongside the diverse talent that makes up the rest of the board, to help shape a Chamber that is relevant to the vast majority of businesses in the Scottish Borders.”
Time Ferguson is Managing Director and Owner of Ferguson Planning, a leading independent town planning and development consultancy based in Galashiels. The company – which has generated significant inward economic investment to the Scottish Borders region – acts for major PLC housebuilders and large farm/estates providing them with planning and development advice.
Tim said: “Having set up my business in the Borders during the last recession, I have learnt quickly the importance of remaining positive and looking forward not back. Some sectors will be affected much more than others by the current pandemic, but it is vital that the private and public sectors work together to ensure that Borders businesses are given the support they need.
“The Borders is at a critical junction in terms of how we react, plan and attract new investment to the region. We must do all we can to encourage diversification and maximise emerging markets, playing to our strengths and prom
oting the Borders across the UK as a great place to live and do business.”
Alan Wheelans is Managing Director of Border Safeguard Limited, a third-generation family business based in Selkirk that specialises in the installation and maintenance of electronic security and fire detection systems. Currently the Regional Chair in Scotland for the BSIA (British Security Industry Association), he is also Vice Chair and a board member of the Developing Young Workforce Group in the Borders.
Alan said: “I’ve been a supporter of the Scottish Borders Chamber for several years and it’s a privilege to be able to represent the membership by joining the board during this critical time for the local business community.
“I’m looking forward to engaging with my fellow board members to provide a platform for the businesses in the region. My aspiration is for a growing membership that will strengthen and demonstrate the Chamber’s position as being the ‘go-to’ representative of choice for all businesses in the Scottish Borders.”
The Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce is one of 30 Chambers in the Scottish network. Its primary function is to inform and facilitate sharing of information to help members’ businesses flourish. Networking, including collaboration with neighbouring Chambers, also plays a major role.
The Chamber also acts as a “voice” for members concerns and liaises closely with MPs, MSPs and local Councillors.
Recently appointed interim CEO Emily McGowan added: “Our new appointments – who bring knowledge, insight and great expertise across a range of sectors – represent a positive step forward for Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce. At such a crucial time, they will play a significant role in supporting our Chamber and enabling it to maximise its potential, and in turn, the potential of our member businesses.”