22 September 2015
During his year in office as Chair of Coventry & Warwickshire First (2014-2015) Martin Gibbs, Managing Partner at Dafferns Chartered Accountants has “worked closely with the new Secretariat and reinvigorated the organisation.
Under his stewardship Coventry & Warwickshire First has truly:
– Become the voice of the professionals,
– Helped members develop relationships that grow business, and
– Provided valuable insights into the region, its economy and the challenges facing local businesses.
Reflecting on his year in office he cited his key achievements as reinvigorating the events programme, leading a valuable consultation with members and supporting the launch of the mentoring programme.
“High quality, interesting and informative events are the lifeblood of Coventry & Warwickshire First. They bring our members together whilst informing and engaging them with key issues and influencers within the region.
“Our programme of quarterly events adds substantial value to members and this year included a lively debate amongst business leaders about the challenges to growth being faced by the region. They cited an acute skills shortage and confusion surrounding funding and grant support as the key issues. As the voice of professionals we are now taking these issues forward and advocating on behalf of our members amongst those with influence in the region.
“The final quarterly breakfast of my term is one on procurement. In direct response to requests from our members we brought together procurement professionals from the public and private sector to give members the inside track so they can make sure they are well placed to win important tenders.
“First Friday is a relaxed, monthly gathering of our members, giving them the chance to connect with colleagues while getting behind the scenes access to one of the region’s key organisations or venues.
“This year we kicked off a consultation process designed to develop a detailed understanding of the issues facing members and their clients: Driving Economic Growth in Coventry & Warwickshire. We held four private dinners, each one themed around one of our sectors – finance, legal, property and business services professionals. Each was very different, with the members engaging in lively informed debates.
“Abiding by the Chatham House Rule we gathered the opinions expressed at the dinners into a series of reports and are now in the process of defining the key elements and establishing proactive campaigns to take them forward.
“Our members loved the format of the dinners so we intend to develop it and there are plans for cross-sector dinners to be held in the forthcoming year.
“The skills shortage has repeatedly been cited as one of the biggest challenges facing both our members and their clients. Launched during my year the mentoring programme is already having a positive impact on this issue. Paired with a leading professional the region’s talented young individuals are able to accelerate their development. Their feedback, as well as that of the mentors themselves is incredibly positive.
“We have achieved a great deal during 2014 / 15 and I am delighted to be handing on a vibrant organization delivering real value to its members to my successor.”