Stacey Cooke says she feels “honoured and motivated” to return for a second year as president of the Gunnedah and District Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Mrs Cooke said she had “great mentors” in Michael Broekman and Treena Daniels who offered “amazing support and guided me” and also had “guidance and encouragement” from previous presidents Jamie Chaffey and Ann Luke.
The chamber held its AGM a week ago, with Lisa Davis taking up the role of vice-president, Angela McCormack now secretary and Treena Daniels returning as treasurer.
“It’s great and encouraging to have members take up the roles of executive committee and I am looking forward to the experience of a new committee with fresh ideas and motivation,” Mrs Cooke said.
The president said her goal for the next year was to keep working towards creating "a mentor space for all business” and engaging with students and Gunnedah TAFE.
“We have some pretty big ideas that we hope will get off the ground with some funding that is available regionally, which will assist with the gap that exists between people looking for work and job vacancies in Gunnedah and district,” Mrs Cooke said.
Mrs Cooke said a highlight of the past 12 months was representing the chamber when it won the Best Local Chamber of Commerce Award at the 2017 NSW Business Chamber State Business Awards a year ago and supporting the CMCA National Rally and EIMEX.
“Another highlight was being asked to attend a course at the community college, which focused on women getting back into the workforce,” she said.
“The women I met were inspiring because they didn’t see their potential in the first instance but by the end of the course they gained confidence and could see that they each had an abundance of skills to contribute to a workplace environment.
“A highlight is also attending the Gunnedah High School and assisting in mock interviews and giving feedback to the students.”
I am looking forward to the experience of a new committee with fresh ideas and motivation.Stacey Cooke, Gunnedah Chamber of Commerce president
Mrs Cooke said the chamber also completed a report on skills, which researched what was lacking in the community to facilitate better employment opportunities and highlight the challenges to achieve growth in available employment.
The president said in 2019 the chamber would focus on mentor programs, development of a program to assist with local job matching, networking events and relevant workshops that are either free or at least affordable.
She said she hoped more locals would attend the chamber’s networking nights on the second Thursday of each month at the Gunnedah Services and Bowling Club from 5.30pm.
“Everyone is welcome, whether you are a member or not, whether you are a business owner or not,” she said.
“We would like to see people who are contemplating starting a business attend and meet people who have been through the process. There is a lot of experience and knowledge at our networking events so please come along.”