14 Dec 2023

East Midlands Chamber president stays on for another year as six new board members appointed

Stuart Dawkins will remain as president of East Midlands Chamber for another year after the business representation group held its annual general meeting (AGM) for 2023 yesterday (Wednesday 13 December).

The former FTSE 100 bank communications director continues in the honorary role after Dawn Whitemore, who was due to succeed him for 2024, chose to defer her year as president until it is compatible with her position as chief executive of SMB College Group.

Craig Brothers, owner of Nottinghamshire-based digital transformation consultancy Six Degrees Associates, was inaugurated as vice-president, with Dawn now set to succeed him as president at the AGM in 2025.

Five of the new board members appointed at the 2023 AGM. Pictured from left: George Oliver, Martin Barnett, Sandra Wiggins, Anjuu Trevedi and Maz Patel

Six individuals were also elected to the Board of Directors, a group of 17 experienced business leaders representing different fields and sectors who provide strategic direction to the senior leadership team in driving forward the chamber of commerce for Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire.

The new board members are:

  • Martin Barnett, chair of TTK Confectionery (trading as The Treat Kitchen)
  • George Oliver, owner of 1284
  • Maz Patel, managing director of Scope Construction
  • Amit Sonpal, director of commercial banking at Barclays Bank
  • Anjuu Trevedi MBE, head of knowledge exchange and innovation at De Montfort University and senior partnerships development manager at Twycross Zoo
  • Sandra Wiggins, manufacturing mentor and leadership coach at Authentically Balanced.

East Midlands Chamber president to continue supporting the region’s three community foundations

Stuart, who spent 18 years working at Alliance & Leicester prior to its acquisition by Santander and now sits on a number of strategic boards across the region, spoke about how East Midlands Chamber has gone “from strength to strength” since its creation following a merger between Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce with its Leicestershire counterpart a decade ago.

“I remain convinced that not only is East Midlands Chamber outstanding at all the things a chamber of commerce should be, it also performs a vital role as a voice for the East Midlands – a region that lacks many such voices,” he said.

Stuart revealed he will continue to support the region’s three community foundations – Foundation Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Rutland Community Foundation, and Nottinghamshire Community Foundation – for another year as part of the Chamber Charitable Fund, which raised £4,698 over the past 12 months.

He explained how between them, they support more than 400 local charities and causes each year, and he wished to “continue to raise awareness about their vital role in the infrastructure of our place”.

Representatives from Pick Everard and Flint Bishop, pictured with Chamber chair of the board Kevin Harris, right, received certificates for 95 years as a Chamber member

His two themes for the year of supporting “generation-next-but-one” and supporting our communities will also remain in place for 2024.

Stuart added: “Healthy, positive communities are not just a nice-to-have. Supporting them is not just ticking the CSR box. It is an essential part of a sound, thriving economy and society.

“Similarly, one does not need to be a grandparent to be aware of the way in which the choices made by those with power today can profoundly affect the lives of those who will take our place in future generations.”

The AGM, which was preceded by a market hall exhibition of 17 charities and non-profits, was hosted for the first time by Kevin Harris, who was appointed chair of the Board of Directors earlier this year. It featured a presentation from East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles on its activities over the past year and opportunities for members in 2024.

Mir Patel, from the Chamber’s Leicestershire Business of the Year for 2023, Unique Window Systems, and Craig Needham, from Nottinghamshire Business of the Year, BFY Group, also gave presentations on their companies.

The event wrapped up with presentations to longstanding members, with Nottingham University Business School celebrating 30 years as a member, UHY Hacker Young and Leicester City Football Club reaching their 40th year and Saint-Gobain Construction Products UK marking 50 years. Pick Everard and Flint Bishop were also honoured for 95 years as members of the Chamber.