New cham­ber head to get stuck in

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By KRIS DANDO

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.’’

Photo: KRIS DANDO

New Porirua Cham­ber of Com­merce ex­ec­u­tive direc­tor Tracy John­son.

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