New chamber head to get stuck in
Tracy Johnson is all business – except when it comes to her poodles.
The Ranui resident is in her first month as Porirua Chamber of Commerce executive director.
Her most recent role was with Porirua City Council, involved in the partners programme and economic development, so she already has many important civic relationships – now it’s about getting her teeth into the business community.
‘‘ I’m incredibly excited and these first few weeks are about getting out there, making people aware of who and what I’m about, and asking the chamber members the best way they can be represented,’’ she said.
‘‘There will be change coming with this organisation.’’
One of her priorities is the tricky one of increasing the membership. There are an estimated 4000 businesses in Porirua and 52 per cent of them are home-based.
The chamber has 249 members and Johnson said it was hard to be a voice for business in the city with numbers like that.
But how do you make the chamber and its services attractive to the one and two-person companies?
‘‘No-one can work their best in isolation and it’s about us showing off the services we offer and bringing like- minded people together more regularly. It’s a challenge, but I’m up for it.’’
In the coming weeks a survey will go out to chamber members, asking for frank opinions on what the organisation can do better.
With the backing of what Johnson said was a ‘‘brilliant’’ board, led by Peter Couchman, she hoped to implement changes to make the chamber more proactive in Porirua.
She said issues such as the city centre redevelopment, Transmission Gully and amalgamation would loom heavily in the chamber’s near future.
Johnson said it was important she advocated for local businesses strongly to local and central government, and in the media, and to celebrate business success where possible.
‘‘It’s up to us to be a voice for Porirua business and we need to be relevant and up to speed on the issues concerning them.’’
Johnson has been in Porirua for about 25 years. She has three adult children and adores her two poodles, George and Molly – the best way to get in her good books is to ask after the dogs.
She wasn’t job hunting, but when the chamber role came up, she felt it was the right time to go for it.
‘‘My background in not-forprofit organisations, relationship management and the council meant a job like this was something I was comfortable with.
‘‘It’s fair to say the process [of hiring her] was robust and I’m grateful to be here. Can’t wait to get stuck in.’’
New Porirua Chamber of Commerce executive director Tracy Johnson.