Sandra Doherty, who served three years as President until May 2015, will take over from Brian Dunsby, subject to formal approval from the Chamber membership at its AGM. Brian announced his intention to step down at the end of 2015 after 14 years' service on a voluntary basis.
Sandra said: “Brian has done an incredible job of building the Chamber from a fairly small group of business owners to a membership of around 250 businesses across Harrogate.
“Having worked closely with him for several years as President, I have seen the way the Chamber is run and the many ways it serves the local business community. With the support of the members, I hope to continue that work from May onwards and help to ensure the Chamber supports and represents local businesses for many years to come.”
When Brian steps down, he takes with him the secretarial team at Perlex Associates, which has carried out the administration for the Chamber since 2002. Sandra will also take on most of that work, while a new website and distribution system will help to boost communication with members and other contacts.
Vicky Carr, who has been working for the Chamber on a freelance basis since 2013, will be its PR Officer and also assist with administrative duties.
Meanwhile, the AGM in May will also see the hand-over of official duties from outgoing President Mike Shaw to Michael Webster. Michael has owned Sign-a-Rama based on Knaresborough Road in Harrogate for the past 15 years, supplying business signage throughout North Yorkshire. This appointment will also be put to members for approval at the AGM on Monday, May 9 at the Cedar Court Hotel, Park Parade, Harrogate.
Outgoing President Mike Shaw said: "This May will be a time of change for the Chamber, as two of the key leadership roles are taken by new people.
“However, both Sandra and Michael have a long association with Harrogate Chamber and understand the role it plays in the business community. With the support of the Management Group, which also has many long-serving members, I am confident they will take the Chamber into a new era with skill and confidence.
“It is an exciting time for everyone involved with the Chamber and we are looking forward to seeing how things develop over the coming months and years. This is also a great opportunity for anyone who has not been a member before, or who has never tried a meeting, to come along and see what the Chamber can offer to local businesses.
“As well as regular networking with around 250 local businesses of all sizes from a wide range of sectors, the Chamber represents the views of its members at the highest levels and is a leading representative of the Harrogate business sector. The more members we have, the more representative we can be – and the more powerful our voice.”
Although stepping back from the Chamber, Brian will continue as Managing Director of Yorkshire Business Market Ltd, the not-for-profit company which has run the Yorkshire Business Market since 2005. YBML then created and built up the very popular Harrogate Christmas Market over the last four years.