Meet the new IoD Norfolk Chair Michael Harrowven

IoD Norfolk Branch Chair Introduction.

Why are you proud to represent IoD Norfolk?

I am delighted to have been appointed as Chair of IoD Norfolk. It is truly an honour to be the Norfolk Branch Chair of such an outstanding organisation founded on solid traditions, helping to empower our members to be great business leaders.

What is your IoD Chair role to business leaders in Norfolk?

Under my Chair, IoD Norfolk will strive for a culture of engagement which puts the members at its heart and encourages Norfolk’s business leaders to recognise the IoD as the “go to”, helping them to be empowered. IoD Norfolk will become more agile and come to understand and know its members better, bringing change when needed and endeavour to be more proactive and forward-looking.

Who do you represent?

As Chair of the IoD Norfolk Branch I will endeavour to contribute to representing the IoD and its members, in doing so improve the membership experience whilst raising awareness to the wider Business Community of the key strengths Norfolk brings.

Which sectors would you like to attract?

Norfolk has the benefit of a diverse sector offering and IoD Norfolk must be open to all of the Business Leaders within those sectors and their organisations. Clearly IoD Norfolk takes its responsibilities seriously under its Charter of:

Better Directors – Professionalism

To promote for the public benefit high levels of skill, knowledge, professional competence and integrity.

Better Economy – Lobbying

To represent the interests of IoD members and the business community, to government and all opinion-formers. To encourage and foster a climate favourable to entrepreneurial activity and wealth creation.

Better Business – Corporate Governance

To promote the study, research and development of the law and practice of corporate governance, and to share findings.

Better Services – Support

To advance the interests of members of the institute, and to provide facilities, services and benefits for them.

What is so unique about Norfolk?

Norfolk has an incredibly vibrant business community. From exciting new start-ups to long-established enterprises, the county is home to a wide variety of employers. These businesses, whatever their size, are an incredibly important part of life in Norfolk.

Norfolk creates jobs, therefore playing a vital role in the county’s economy and providing crucial services for people living in the local area. Norfolk’s businesses can stand proud in demonstrating they contribute regionally, nationally and internationally to the economic, cultural and social good.

What does Norfolk offer business leaders?

Norfolk has no shortage of innovative entrepreneurial talent, motivating stories and under-exploited potential. There are ambitious plans for Norfolk – creating 73,000 more homes, 57,000 more jobs and 5,300 new businesses by 2026.

Norfolk’s key sectors, many of which are of national importance, are spearheading growth. There is a powerful energy hub on the east coast, advanced engineering and manufacturing capabilities and a world-class food, life-science and agri-tech cluster.

Tourism is one of the greatest and oldest economic contributors to the county.  It supports more than 54,000 jobs and contributes about £2.8bn to the local economy. Norfolk’s economy is large,  it has more than 37,000 business and 348,000 jobs. Norfolk has grown faster than the non-London UK average since the recession and is now worth £18.5bn  to the UK economy. It has a buoyant labour market with employment levels at 76.7% – above the national average and the highest for 10 years.

IoD Norfolk must, going forward, play its part in engaging with all sectors of business leaders, helping them to ensure that directors and senior business leaders are empowered to maximise the potential from the county.

What are you most looking forward to, as IoD Norfolk chair, in the next 12 months?

As the Chair, I am keen to listen, learn and act. I’m excited by the prospect of meeting members during this coming year in particular and learning about their experiences, and ideas for improvement. My role is to support the excellent Ambassadorial team we have here in Norfolk in putting these improvements into action and with it retain and grow our membership.

Finally, what is your personal business ethos or who do you admire as a business leader?

My personal business ethos is where people and relationships are more important than tasks, and being willing to step in and take responsibility when required. Companies disappear because they cannot reinvent.  Do not defend yourself against the inevitable – face reality and get your team aligned with the new vision that will result in reinvention. Focus on customer engagement instead of financial engineering.

My admired business leader is Howard Schultz, former Chairman and Chief Executive of Starbucks.

To find out more about the Chair’s role and branch activities happening in and around Norfolk, visit our IoD East of England events page.

Better directors for a better world

The IoD supports directors and business leaders across the UK and beyond to learn, network and build successful, responsible businesses.
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