3 Top Tips on Networking from a GDB Ambassador

3 Top Tips on Networking from a GDB Ambassador I recently finished my two terms as the Chair of Gatwick Diamond Business (GDB), the most notable business membership organisation in the region. I was delighted when they invited me to stay connected and become a GDB Ambassador. I have seen the organisation grow, adapt and flourish with new services and membership options, always with networking at its core. Face-to-face or virtual, it’s great to meet other GDB members - useful and interesting people - to discuss their objectives, opportunities and ideal clients. Being a GDB member has been extremely worthwhile both for my business and for me personally. Eshcon thrives on partnerships and recommendations – GDB is the place to be.   GDB Ambassadors I join a group of five other Ambassadors, representing a range of business type, size and sector. We’ve all been members of GDB for many years and see the value of networking, while supporting other members. Back when GDB just did in-person events,...
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Chair of GDB – What it means to me

Chair of GDB – What it means to me After completing my two terms, I recently stepped down as Chair of GDB. It’s been a rollercoaster ride, with ups & downs, some challenges and a lot of enjoyable experiences. I’ve been a member of GDB Gatwick Diamond Business since I first set up my business Eshcon. I knew that networking would be an important part of my business and marketing strategy. I get nearly all of my work through referrals, so having an active network of contacts is really important. People need to know me, like me, trust me. And I use my GDB network for just that. In addition to the paid staff, GDB has an Executive Council made up of members, lead by the Chair and Directors. I first joined the Executive in 2013 and became Chair in 2016. My GDB objectives My objectives when I became Chair were to show strong leadership, of both the Executive and the whole organisation. GDB was...
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GDB Diamond Sept 20

Read my Chairman’s Column in the GDB Diamond My regular column in Diamond – the magazine for Gatwick Diamond Business.   Welcome to my last Chairman’s Column. I stayed on for an extra couple of months during the pandemic until the AGM, postponed until September. It’s been a privilege to be Chair of gdb & I’ve thoroughly enjoyed myself, indeed the years have flown by. I’ve seen a lot of change, with new staff coming on board, of course the pandemic, but also now our more formalised, strategic approach for the business. We have developed new services, partnerships with key organisations, learning & development programmes, quality publications, structured membership options & attracted more diverse organisations, in terms of size, sector & location. All these truly demonstrate the great value of gdb membership. With lockdown easing, we now have a great opportunity to change the way we live, work & operate as a nation – to Build Back Better, with greater benefits for society, the environment and economy. I am...
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Adapting my business during Covid-19

Adapting my business during Covid-19 How have businesses adapted during the Covid-19 crisis? Are female entrepreneurs thriving during these difficult times? What changes need to be made to existing business models? I was pleased to discuss these issues in the SINC Female Founders webinar run jointly by with Sussex Innovation Centre & Gatwick Diamond Business, as part of their Survive & Thrive series. I shared the screen with 2 other female founders - Daniela Carl, Deputy Chief Executive of the Regional Studies Association, and Oanh Brophy, head of a circular economy start up. The objective of the session was to introduce our businesses & discuss how we had adapted during the pandemic. Here’s what I covered.   Effective Environmental Management during Covid-19 I shared my story – my why, my business, my services. I started with ‘My Why’ – my love for our beautiful, complex & wonderful world. It’s important to me & what drives my career in environmental management. Indeed, many more people nowadays feel the same. Recent research by...
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GDB Diamond July 20

Read my Chairman’s Column in the GDB Diamond My regular column in Diamond – the magazine for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.   I write this on the day that should have been our AGM, which is now postponed to September because of the Covid-19 disruption. The new AGM is going to be different; it might be in person or done virtually – hopefully we can have a dynamic & engaging session. Either way, this is just another of many examples of adapting to new ways of working. There will be a couple of vacancies on the Executive Council, so please do consider now if you’d like to nominate yourself. It is an interesting & rewarding opportunity to be involved in the running of Gatwick Diamond Business. Voting will be taking place later on in summer. Have you seen the report commissioned by our sister organisation, Gatwick Diamond Ltd, on the impact of Covid-19 in this area? A loss of 12.8% in GVA is expected in 2020. To...
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GDB Diamond May 20

Read my Chairman’s Column in the GDB Diamond My regular column in Diamond - the magazine for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.   Firstly, I hope you are all well & managing to get through the initial shock of the Covid-19 lockdown. In these fast-moving times, it is difficult to write a piece which may be rather dated by the time of publication. As I write this, it’s a beautiful sunny Monday morning & I’ve been working from home for I don’t know how many weeks. The gdb Steering Group has been meeting regularly to assess risk & plan budgets & strategy. The first difficult decision was the postpone the Awards, without government guidance at the time we wanted to show leadership. I look forward to the ceremony later in the year & at least the entrants can continue to use the ‘gdb Awards 2020 Finalist’ strapline on their emails! Similarly, we have decided to postpone the AGM until September. This way we can have an engaging &...
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GDB Source Mar 19

The Source Chairman’s Column My regular column in The Source Magazine, for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.   In January, I attended the gdb Conference - did I see you there? If not, you missed a great opportunity (as the conference title said) to… Re-Energise You, Your Team, Your Business. We had four impressive speakers, with inspiration & advice for business leaders. Starting off with overcoming adversity, Richard McCann shocked us with his life story, starting with his mother’s murder & subsequent battles with depression, drugs & the law. Despite this, he’s developed a positive attitude. He believes in himself & that’s what makes him succeed. His motto is “I can - I will - I did”. Julie Barker of NatWest talked about Diversity as a Business Asset. Did you know that companies with a gender & ethnicity balanced workforce outperform others by 30%? She talked about barriers to entrepreneurs (& indeed anyone in the workplace), one being the lack of role models & mentors. I wonder if...
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GDB Source Jan 19

The Source Chairman’s Column My regular column in The Source Magazine, for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.   At the last Members’ Meeting I shared a story about attending the recent Kingston Smith Charity Quiz Night. This is an annual event, now in its 20th year, which has raised an amazing £65,000 for charity. Most of the quiz teams were from individual companies (many of them our members I’m pleased to say). It was suggested that we put in a gdb team. So an appeal went out to the gdb Executive & we put together an astounding team made up of Simon Pringle (Red River Software), Brett North (Thakeham Homes), Jeff Alexander (gdb), David Montgomery (Kingston Smith), Andrew Hookway (Extech Cloud) & myself. We duly entered our team Gatwick Diamond Quizness (what a great name!). We’ve done team building events together in the past, but maybe we should have considered ahead of the event that there is a very specific strategy (with tactics) to a quiz night...
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GDB Source July 18

The Source Chairman’s Column My regular column in The Source Magazine, for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.   My two-year term as Chairman comes to an end shortly, though I’m very pleased to say I am continuing for another term. We’ve achieved so much in this time, but always so many more possibilities! At gdb our vision is to: create opportunity locally, nationally & globally help local businesses have influence & impact & ensure that the Gatwick Diamond remains this centre of excellence. We held a strategy session recently for the gdb Executive - we looked at how we work now, what are our challenges & opportunities. We know we do networking well - building business relationships. We’ll do more of the same & also try different approaches, to get all members working together. Representing our members, we are the voice of business in the region. We will continue with work with other bodies (e.g. BEIS, C2C, GDI) to contribute to economic strategies. As in all things, communication is...
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GDB Source March 18

The Source Chairman’s Column My regular column in The Source Magazine, for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.   Did you attend the GDB Speakers Conference? I was so impressed with it, an event truly worthy of the Gatwick Diamond Business name. Entitled Challenging Business Practices, we had four really interesting & engaging speakers. I wanted a share a nugget from each of them for you. It started with a new concept to me: Unconscious Bias - where the images & messages we see all the time help to shape our thoughts & influence our behaviour. Then the youngest British woman to climb Everest talked to us about Motivation. What usually stops us achieving is not that something is too hard, it’s the fear of failure. The Futurologist shared the idea of the 4 New Economies: - Maker - innovations in production, e.g. 4D printing. - Sharing - the sharing & full utilisation of equipment & assets. - Circular - getting away from the linear extract-use-dispose model & promote the reuse of...
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GDB Source Jan 18

The Source Chairman’s Column My regular column in The Source Magazine, for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.   At the Members’ Meeting recently I asked a bit of tricky question - why are we here? This wasn’t a theological query, but rather asking why are we all here today at this gdb event? For our companies, it may have been to increase our network or grow sales. On a personal level, perhaps to pay the mortgage, learn or simply enjoy. Or maybe for more altruistic reasons: to build the economy, to boost skills and for a better quality of life for all. I'm reading a lot of business books at the moment, the latest is putting the WHY into our business ... in developing our strategy, we should start with why. For me it's about improving the environment. I was inspired by David Attenborough to bring about positive change and make a living out of it! So, it is my mission to make environmental management the business...
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GDB Source Nov 17

The Source Chairman’s Column My regular column in The Source Magazine, for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.     How is a wedding like gdb? Let me share with you a story from my cousin’s wedding recently.   As we hadn’t seen each other for years, there was too much to cover at dinner on that first night. But, the more we met up over the long weekend, the more we talked - our lives & businesses, our plans & achievements. I met plenty of new people at the wedding, who I’d never have met without sharing something in common. The bride’s parents introduced me to a couple, owners of an accountancy firm whose clients were strong on supply chain & environmental issues. We didn’t talk long, but it was enough to tell them of my work & how I help similar businesses to theirs. It’s up to me now to build a stronger contact.   So whether it’s a wedding or gdb membership, I’ve learnt that your success...
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GDB Source Sept 17

Source Chairman’s Column My regular column in The Source Magazine, for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.     As an environmental management consultant, I help companies become more efficient, reduce risk & win new business. Which sounds rather familiar - just like gdb, we are all about Supporting - Growing - Engaging. I can’t believe I’m already one year into my tenure as gdb Chairman. As I reported to the AGM, it’s been a rollercoaster of year for me - all about strategy, budgets, promoting gdb & leadership. gdb is evolving & you’ll see the changes: We have a new & expanding team, taking on new roles and working practices, tracking progress & celebrating success. Our new Ambassadors help to promote gdb and welcome the ‘newbies & pinkies’. A referral scheme helps to make use of the ‘Good People Who Know Good People’. We’ve seen growth - membership is up 17%, we ran 80+ events with 4,000 attendees & continue to make the connections. We are the voice of the...
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GDB Source June 17

Source Chairman’s Column My regular column in The Source Magazine, for GDB Gatwick Diamond Business.   What are the most important things a company can have? Most would say profits; perhaps a good reputation; engaged and motivated staff. You can't buy reputation. You don’t just magically get motivated staff. And you can't improve your profits without either of these. As an environmental management consultant, I’ve been running workshops getting clients ready for new standards, like ISO 14001. I get staff together from across the company and all levels, to look at business risks and opportunities. This helps them become more efficient, plan for the future and raise their profile with customers. The important element here is staff engagement. Everyone has something to contribute. Staff want to be part of the organisation, to be truly involved and feel proud of the company. Staff motivation can also be helped through team building. Take, for example, the GDB Charity Challenge. I had a great afternoon at the challenge, alas not...
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