Generational change has seen Marie Beikmanis, the long term President of Kiama’s peak business body, the Kiama & District Business Chamber, pass the baton onto Cameron McDonald of Carter Ferguson.
“Marie has made an amazing contribution over the last five years,” says Mr McDonald.
“We are grateful she will be continuing to sit on our Board as the immediate Past President, so we can benefit from her guidance.”
Mr McDonald returned to Kiama from Queensland two and a half years ago, joining the law firm of his old Kiama High friend, Deb Langton.
He immediately got involved with the Chamber, joining the Board in 2017. He became Vice-President last year.
Mr McDonald says business chambers around the state are in a period of change, as they look to make themselves more relevant to a changed business environment.
“It is going to be an exciting year for the Chamber, modernising it and making it more relevant to a broader cross section of businesses.
“There are now so many different and varied ways that people work, the traditional model doesn’t really apply to a lot of people.
“We want to address those perceptions that we are focused on the main streets and traditional businesses.
“Our goal is to help businesses thrive together.”
He’s looking forward to implementing the ideas generated by a think tank initiative he championed a couple of months ago.
“We invited members in to throw around ideas on how we could do things better and differently.”
Amongst the ideas were the holding of open board meetings, where members could contribute to the discussion, and introducing sub-committees to share the workload around.
“If we got more members involved, we would be able to make a much bigger contribution on a number of fronts,” he says.
These include making submissions to Council on issues affecting the business community, and getting involved in other initiatives to help the community.
“Past boards have made a Herculean effort. This isn’t sustainable in the long term. It will be great to get other members involved.”