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Andrew Smith
24 Sep

24 September 2015

Andrew Smith sets out his agenda for 2015 / 16

Andrew Smith, partner at Shakespeare Martineau and the incoming Chair of Coventry & Warwickshire First, has set out four principle objectives for his year in office.

– Talent development

– Building the voice of the professional

– Keeping members informed

– Growing the membership

Talent development

As the economy returns to healthy and sustainable growth so the professional services sector is also returning to growth. Attracting good talent in this competitive market is challenging, particularly in the face of the high salaries offered by Birmingham and London firms. Retaining our own talent is also a challenge in this context.

The mentoring programme has already proved successful in addressing this skills challenge. Paired with a leading professional, the region’s talented young individuals are able to accelerate their development.

My ambition is to build on this excellent platform and continue to develop the talent within our region, helping them achieve their career and life goals. This approach will support the growth of our own members and enable local business to access an increasingly broad range of capabilities on their doorstep.

Voice of the Professional

Earlier this year Coventry & Warwickshire First 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.

The consultation deepened our understanding of the issues and challenges in the local economy and the role and contribution of our members. We now need to project our voice and engage with key stakeholders in the region to advocate on behalf of our members and their clients. This will also involve boosting our profile in the local media.

Keeping members informed

Through a comprehensive programme of events Coventry & Warwickshire First members are kept informed of key initiatives within the region and given behind the scenes access to new developments and some of the region’s most high profile organisations and venues.

This programme will be sustained during my year, with a number of key events already planned. These include a quarterly breakfast titled ‘Leadership for Today and the Future’, a debate on the forthcoming EU referendum and First Friday events at Coventry Cathedral, the Council House in Coventry and the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Growing the membership

Under Martin Gibbs’ stewardship Coventry & Warwickshire First has been reinvigorated. The organization is clearly the voice of the professional, gives members valuable insights, and supports the development of relationships that grow business.

With the Coventry & Warwickshire First board as advocates, I intend to spread the word to professional services firms throughout the region and encourage them to join so they too can reap the rewards of membership.

I am delighted to be taking up the reins of Coventry & Warwickshire First and looking forward to building on the strong platform established by Martin Gibbs.