HAVING spent a career interpreting and communicating messages, Waterford Chamber’s new President said more than ever a “confident, consistent and positive message” is needed.
Jonathan Earl, owner of B2B Communications, was elected President of Waterford Chamber at the 232nd AGM in the Granville Hotel on Monday, May 27.
Addressing Waterford Chamber members, Jonathan said there has been significant changes in the 25 years he has worked in Waterford. “Waterford has emerged from being an industrial city to a post-industrial climate with the evolution of our tourism offering, service industry and the growth of our tech, pharma and life-science sectors.
“B2B Communications has tracked the changes in industry in Waterford and the South East. Ours is a business which is a weather vane for consumer and business confidence, and we’ve seen how within certain sectors Waterford’s self-assurance has grown. This needs to spread across the whole of Waterford and the Chamber has a role in this evolution.
“I have spent my adult life attempting to interpret and communicate messages, and today I find myself in a role, in an organisation, in a city where now more than ever a confident, consistent and positive message is required.
Role to play
“We all have our roles to play, Waterford Chamber, Waterford City and County Council, businesses, home grown or foreign direct. We have all chosen to live, work and do business here,” he said.
Despite a proud business tradition, Waterford in recent decades has lost its confidence, Mr Earl said. “Over the last few years there has been significant investment in Waterford, hundreds of millions, and there are hundreds of millions more to be invested over the next number of years. This is a time to restore that confidence, but as with life, it cannot be restored from without, confidence must come from within.
“Waterford Chamber will play its part, but it requires a consistent, confident message from all stakeholders, large and small. And it requires partnership and collective responsibility from within for confidence and success to be restored.”
Jonathan has been involved with Waterford Chamber since joining the retail committee in 1996, became a director in 2000 and subsequently returned to directorship in 2014. He is chair of the Chamber’s Connectivity, Infrastructure and Development Policy Advisory Panel and the Chambers Ireland representative on the Programme Monitoring Committee of the Ireland-Wales Programme.
Participation and dialogue
Outgoing President Kathryn Kiely thanked Chamber members, staff and fellow Chamber Directors for their support. “During the year what was particularly striking to me was the willingness of members and business leaders to participate and give of their time, be it on voicing their views directly to Government, engaging in a dialogue on the role of regional cities and their vision for Waterford, mentoring future business leaders and participating in a series of workshops to help shape the development of Waterford Chamber’s Strategic Plan 2019-2022. I would like to thank all our members for their continual engagement, sharing of ideas, experiences and knowledge.”
Chamber CEO Gerald Hurley said that the Chamber is performing better than it has in years, confirming that membership was growing and it is in a very solid position to develop going forward.
“Working collectively has never been more important, whether it is with our members, stakeholder groups or with our elected officials, as we all strive for the same vision – to ensure a vibrant economic environment for the Waterford we choose to love, learn, work and do business in.
“Our mission is clear – to be the voice of business in Waterford, dedicated to supporting, promoting and advocating for our members while being the catalyst for creating a vibrant and sustainable economy.”
Danette Connolly, Home Instead Senior Care and John McSweeney, AIB Bank were deemed elected as Deputy President and Vice-President respectively.
Join President Jonathan Earl at Waterford Chamber’s President’s Lunch on Friday, June 21 in the Majestic Hotel, Tramore, where Irish Times Editor Paul O’Neill will make the keynote address. For bookings contact Lynda Lawton on (051) 311130 or see www.waterfordchamber.ie.