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18th September 2013

AXMINSTER: New boss for chamber

New Axminster Chamber of Commerce boss Lisa Lyman announced drastic changes during her maiden speech to members.

She has already created six teams within the chamber - each with its own leader and specific area of responsibility (executive committee, communication, membership, ways and means, government affairs, economic and business development).

The new structure was presented in a four-page document named ‘Suggested Administration, Organisation and Programme of Work’.

It is based on the structure used when she worked full-time for an American chamber of commerce (Cape Cod area) for about three years in the mid 90s.

She also announced a promotional membership offer to attract new members, and that she had secured a £500 grant to revamp the chamber website.

Mrs Lyman officially took over as chairman from Shane Morgan on Tuesday September 10th - in her absence.

An unfortunate misunderstanding about the meeting’s starting time meant members voted her in before she had arrived.

But once she was in situ, the ambitious and straight-talking Apple Tree Galleries owner made her strategy known.

In a previous address to members, she said: “I would work with other members to see if we can get some excitement back into the membership and get some much-needed new members and local support to achieve our goals. 

“If we are unable to gain support for a clearly defined vision and pathway to achieving it, then I suggest the chamber has come to an end.”

The chamber, formed in 1945, currently has about 45 members, with monthly meetings usually attracting 10-15 members.  

The monthly members’ meetings have been changed to a quarterly basis, but will feature an invited speaker and social time.

The executive committee and the six team leaders will meet on a monthly basis - and the respective teams will meet as and when required to “achieve their vision”.

The document presented by Mrs Lyman also said: “To succeed in our mission, it is imperative that the chamber has a vibrant membership with members contributing to issues/projects relevant/of interest to them.

“Participation is actively encouraged of all members and their staff.”

Mrs Lyman took over the chairmanship from Shane Morgan, who had been in post for almost five years.

He will continue to be an active member and said: “I’m pleased to say Lisa is now officially chairman and I wish her every success.

“Thanks for all your support. I have enjoyed my time.”

Mrs Lyman closed the meeting by saying: “We’ll give it our best shot.”

PICTURE: NEW REGIME - Shane Morgan hands over the chairmanship to Lisa Lyman.

AXMINSTER: New boss for chamber

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