Leaders December 2014

Energised by success

Thanks to players in British Business Awards

We have had some bumper attendances at British Chamber of Commerce in Japan (BCCJ) events so far this chamber year. More than 100 members and guests joined our breakfast, on 31 October, with Michael Woodford MBE, former CEO and whistleblower of Olympus Corporation.

The omens were thus good as we approached the 7th annual British Business Awards (BBA) on 14 November.

Active and enthusiastic member participation provides the energy to fuel a vibrant events programme, and it was therefore with great pride that I was able to welcome and congratulate over 270 members and guests for their contribution in making this year’s BBA the largest event ever hosted by the BCCJ.

Team effort
Although the purpose of the event is to showcase and applaud the success of award nominees, the platform also enabled me to acknowledge the contributions of individuals whose efforts made the evening possible.

It was an honour to thank British Ambassador to Japan Tim Hitchens CMG LVO for presenting the awards, the judges—who had the difficult task of selecting the winners from more than 50 nominees—and, of course, the BCCJ secretariat for toiling through months of preparation.

Delivering an event of this size is truly a team effort.

A number of BCCJ members gave generously of their time on a voluntary basis, including Guy Perryman; Rob Williams, who is heavily involved in the British business community; and Frances Somerville, who marshalled the evening with clockwork efficiency.

No list of credits would be complete, though, without acknowledging the role of Simon Farrell, who led this year’s BBA task force. Congratulations to him and all those involved. Expectations for the 2015 event will be sky high, and planning is already underway.

Learning from fellow members
While I am proud of the success of the BBA, I am also acutely aware that this is merely one milestone along the road to the goal of providing BCCJ members with a more effective platform for business exchange and networking opportunities.

Far from basking in the after-glow, the secretariat has continued to deliver the remainder of this year’s events. The BBA was the perfect complement to the seventh in our series of “Small is GREAT” events, that was held between networking receptions hosted jointly with fellow chambers.

Providing inspiration to budding entrepreneurs, BCCJ member Jeremy Sanderson shared the experiences that have taken him on a career journey, from the Metropolitan Police Service to concurrent executive leadership positions with five firms in Japan.

The achievements of our BBA nominees, and entrepreneurs like Sanderson, show that Japan continues to offer great opportunities for those with the skills and determination to succeed.

I hope that you will be energised by their success, and look forward to welcoming you back to the BCCJ in 2015. For now, I wish you a merry Christmas and a happy and prosperous New Year.