The IoD regional chair for the North East and Associate Professor, Entrepreneurship at Durham University Business School, Dr Joanna Berry, talks about the strengths of the region and her plans for the IoD
Why are you proud to represent the IoD?
I was born, brought up and educated in the North East. It is a hugely important and creative region, often overlooked by politicians, policy makers and business. I’m immensely proud to be given the opportunity to put this fabulous region in the spotlight and shout about not only our successes, but our potential for innovation and growth.
What is the IoD’s role for business leaders in your region?
Our role is to inspire. The IoD is the UK’s longest-running organisation for professional leaders. This unique perspective gives us a comprehensive understanding of what makes businesses of all sizes and sectors tick. Some people see businesses as ‘ordinary’ but, for me, every business is special and has a story behind it that deserves to be heard.
Who do you represent?
We represent about 500 members, drawn from multiple sectors across the North East. Our membership includes individuals of all ages, from experienced directors to members of our Young Directors’ Forum and our 99 Club for young entrepreneurs. I’m keen to attract more business leaders from right across the industrial spectrum of this diverse region.
Which sectors would you like to attract?
Everyone is welcome to join us in the IoD and I’m particularly keen to drive more participation from women and aspirational young entrepreneurs. I want to encourage on-shoring and the relocation of supply chains to the North East of England, and will do everything in my power to encourage that to happen.
It is important to me that the young people I educate can have jobs and careers in the region, keeping all our intellectual capital closer to home. I firmly believe that you are better off connected! So the IoD offers a range of tailor-made memberships for students, apprentices and young entrepreneurs.
What is so unique about your region?
We are hugely creative and innovative – but rubbish at telling people about it! We are part of the Northern Powerhouse and look forward to the opportunities that devolution brings. However, we are a powerhouse in our own right too. The North East is an engine room for manufacturing but also punches above its weight in sectors including automotive, life sciences and sub-sea.
What does your region offer business leaders?
Learning, development, qualifications, networking, high quality events, courses, inspiration, creativity and an opportunity to feed into a national policy voice that has clout in the corridors of power.
Tell me about something your region has done in the past year that you are particularly proud of?
I am new to the role in 2017 but I’ve already experienced the high quality of events that the IoD stages in the North East, such as our recent Business Leaders’ Dinner. I would like to pay tribute to my predecessor Graham Robb who worked hard to build the profile of this region. He has left big boots to fill but I’m looking forward to building on his successes.
What are you most looking forward to, as IoD regional chair, in the next 12 months?
I have been either in business or teaching business for all my adult life so I’m looking forward to representing not just the business leaders of today but the young entrepreneurs who will lead us in the future. I’m also looking forward to expanding the regional network of business leaders and to growing the IoD’s regional event portfolio.
Finally what's your personal business ethos?
To be ambitious, aspirational and innovative - and always with a positive mental attitude.