After a year of maternity leave, I’m thrilled to be back in the British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) hot seat. I’m busy soaking up the latest UK–Japan news, on-ramping back into chamber business, and catching up on developments from members and other stakeholders in the private and public sectors.
My first day back “at the office” (my dining room table) was energising and intriguing. With the kids on their way to nursery, I dived into a whole new world of lingo: digital transformation, the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, Sparkup, and Zoom backgrounds.
Work and life have changed immeasurably since I gave birth to my son in March last year. It’s been inspiring to see our chamber members and executive team rising to the challenges presented by 2020 and 2021—not least the rapid digital transformation of the workplace and business.
Since the pandemic took hold, the chamber has been proactively championing digital innovation and delivering high-quality member services—including events and B2B promotion—in association with trusted partners such as the UK government and Export to Japan.
We’re now laying the groundwork for an exciting spring / summer season, reviewing and bolstering our membership value proposition—particularly in the areas of innovation as well as diversity and inclusion—and working to advance bilateral commercial interests, while remaining flexible as we face the ever-evolving public health situation.
The chamber is also evolving. I’ve transitioned the executive director role to a four-day work week, and will be focused on the strategic leadership of the chamber. I’m delighted that Sarah Backley can continue as full-time associate director, ably taking care of day-to-day operations alongside our digital genius Sam Maddicott, and our super administrator Sanae Samata. Sincere thanks go to Graham Davis for his commitment to the team over the past year in the capacity of senior adviser.
Over the coming weeks, I look forward to reconnecting with you and your teams, and to standing alongside you throughout this year in the pursuit of sustainable growth for your business, and the wider UK–Japan partnership. It will not always be easy, but I have faith in the power of our network.
As ever, it’s a privilege to serve you, our members, and to support your ambitions, especially during these challenging, yet promising, times.
What do you need from the chamber to further your business interests in 2021? Let me know:
Thank you very much for your ongoing support of the BCCJ.