Chamber History

2015

This year sees new Chairman Anthony Moss taking over the Chamber lead after Tony Eades’ decision to step down at the close of 2014 after three years as Chair. Anthony welcomes a dynamic Board including some new Board members and exciting plans for strategic growth in 2015.


2012 - 2014

In 2012 the Chamber celebrated a milestone of 20 years of existence as the Hills region’s premier business association. The opportunity was taken to review operations early in the year to provide the platform for future growth. We made some major changes to our organisation in this year which delivered a renewed relevance and energy to our oganisation.

The outsourcing of the core operations of the organisation allowed us to refocus on building our membership base and better servicing our current members to support retention.  We formed strong alliance partnerships with Hills Shire Council, NSW Business Chamber and UWS and in 2013/14 employed a new Chamber team.

The Chamber now flourished on a new energy that attracted members and packed out events – the highlight of 2013 being the Small Business Summit for Greater Western Sydney attracting almost 400 local businesses. Our popular Referral PLUS Team Program was rebranded and launched as MyBoard as the teams grew to 12. The close of 2013 also the Chamber reach over 300 members which had not been achieved since November 2006.

In 2014 the Chamber embarked on the development of a new website and event booking system, appointed a dedicated Event Support Partner and employed an Admin Assistant and closed the year with, for the first time The Sydney Hills Business Chamber winning the regional award for best Chamber in Western Sydney.


2011

This year saw a number of changes in our Board as departing Chairman Tony Moran steps down having reached the end of his tenure according to our Constitution.  From one Tony to another, the incoming Chairman is Mr Tony Eades, owner of Brand Manager and partner in Your Australian Business.

The Deputy Chair position was taken up by Nic Baines, owner of Gvirah Pty Ltd and All My Admin.

The year saw the introduction of a number of highly successful major events, namely the Corporate Cook Off, Connect IT and the first Hills Business Summit. Collective voice issues continued to be dominated by the Norwest Rail Link which is again being promised by the current Liberal Government.  CEO Robin Baird was instrumental in providing a platform for the business community to have a say in the planning of the rail link and our successful submission resulted in an additional station being promised to service the growing Norwest Business Park.


2009 - 2010

Major Team changes this year that meant a reshuffle in duties and new recruiting. An experienced head in Robin now leads a young team of high achievers and we are very happy with the balance of the skills and enthusiasm that we have in our staff.

We were joined by Kelcey Hall in April as a trainee to support Ashleigh and Robin in their new roles. We have a new team of Board Members including Tony Eades as Deputy Chairman. We are excited about having Tony on board and looking forward to working closely with him. He has already been a great assistance in his role as a Support Partner with our marketing activities.

+ John Mason – Secretary.  John returns to the fold in an elected capacity. He is and has been an absolute wealth of knowledge and experience to the Chamber team for many years and we are very pleased to have John back.

+   Mark Twomey – Treasurer. Mark has a very extensive background in the Finance Industry and he will be a very strong addition to the team. Finance is always a challenge for us

+ Our ongoing Board Members, Nicole Baines, Bill Elmer, Terri Henry, John Hagerty.  We had a record year in terms Support Partnership in 2010 to the tune of approx $270,000. Our Support Partnership program is second to none and we are very proud of the backing we have behind us through those relationships. It's a model that many others would like to replicate but simply don’t have the blue print required for it to be successful.

Support Partners will remain an important component of our DNA in 2011 and we hope that you will all stay with us for some time to come.

+ Our earlier rebranding exercise has settled in nicely and continues to promote the Chamber’s voice in a number of effective ways.

+ The Referral PLUS Team initiative has been very successful with numbers growing all the time

+ The roll out of our new CRM and Website platforms was a major challenge for our staff and one that was eagerly awaited by the Board. The new platform is bedding down nicely and we hope this will be the back bone of our growth in the short to medium term and potentially a revenue opportunity in the longer term.

Our events have been excellent this year and our most recent Business After 5 certainly had the tongues wagging. Having said that, membership numbers have been consistently higher in each month of this year than they have over the corresponding previous 2 years but we still need to be stronger. Reliance on the growth in membership numbers and maintaining active members is paramount to our existence and this issue will remain at the forefront of the Board’s minds always.


2008 - 2009

This was an exciting and challenging year for our CHAMBER, culminating in a decision to rebuild our complete IT infrastructure in an effort to improve efficiencies in our operations in order to underpin the membership growth planned for the 2010-2011 financial years.

Government funding was obtained for a range of business support initiatives aimed to benefit the small business community during what was described as the "GFC or global financial crisis".  This provided businesses in the Sydney Hills with the highest levels of local support ever before offered and resulted in our local region standing in good stead as the economy turned towards the end of the end of the 2009 calendar year.

A number of new Executives joined our Leadership Team, which was also boosted by the addition of a crew of leaders taking part in the brand new Referral PLUS Team Program.  A new staff member was able to be added to the team to assist with the administrative tasks required to roll out the government funded programs and we enjoyed the opportunities and challenges of working with an expanded team. 

The Referral PLUS Team Program introduced in November 2008 revolutionised CHAMBER membership as we began to offer no charge referral group participation as part of all CHAMBER membership packages.


2007 – 2008

Like any other business, our CHAMBER found this financial year to be quite challenging.  Not phased by the downturn in the world economy, our CHAMBER undertook one of its most important projects ever this year, with a change of name and rebranding exercise launched in June under the guidance of a member and local design house.

The change of name from Hills Chamber of Commerce to Sydney Hills BUSINESS CHAMBER was determined as necessary to move our CHAMBER from its current market position of "networking group" to "premier business support agency", and pre-empted the need to explore every aspect of our CHAMBER'S operations to ensure our efforts supported and embedded the new brand throughout.

Additional educational programs were introduced during the year to assist individuals with presenting themselves and their businesses, including Network Coaching Sessions and 30 Second Commercial Sessions.

Each month in the calendar was themed according to the current needs of the local business community and this provided much more of an opportunity to gain momentum with educational opportunities for members. 

A new Executive Assistant was added to the team under a government funded traineeship as we welcomed Ashleigh Murphy in February 2008. 

This was the year that we discovered that what makes our CHAMBER unique is our culture of giving relationships and it was with great delight that we proudly began to communicate this to new members in an effort to celebrate and protect this wonderful quality. 


2005 – 2007

In August 2005, Nicole Baines joined our CHAMBER team as Business Development Officer.  Working alongside colleague Robin Baird, the 2 began to build solid foundations into our CHAMBER'S management practices and operations.

Consistent marketing collateral began to be created, based around the CHAMBER'S message of "supporting local business" in the areas of relationship building, business development, business promotion and collective voice. Processes were refined and defined, resulting in more efficient work practices and which provided the Executive with sound reporting and monitoring systems to assist in decision making.

In Sept 2006, Tony Moran was elected as President, with immediate Past President John Mason continuing to sit on the Executive as an invaluable resource for the committee and staff alike.

In Nov 2006, our CHAMBER membership broke 300 for the first time in history and the CHAMBER continued to go from strength to strength on the back of that growth. Formal alliance and support partnerships were formed, allowing our CHAMBER to offer members a wider range of opportunities than ever before.


2005 - 2005

Corporate governance featured strongly this year as John Mason was re-elected President and Les Strong as Treasurer. A new Constitution was ratified and as a consequence, a Code of Conduct adopted together with a significant restructure of the Executive and CHAMBER functions.


2003 - 2004

John Mason was re-elected President and a new administration was appointed. Achievements this year included a corporate makeover including a new look logo and web site, increased turnover, increased retained members, increased sponsorships, increased partnerships, removal of a traffic bottleneck on Old Northern Road and a roll out of ADSL internet capabilities in Norwest Business Park.


2002 - 2003

In August 2002 John Mason was elected CHAMBER President, ably assisted by Phil Bamford - Public Relations Portfolio, Peter Watson - Membership, Les Strong - Treasurer, Julie Fugaccia - Events Portfolio, Bob Morgan - Secretary, Melinda Fletcher - IT Portfolio, David Hill - Partnerships and later Carol Breen - Sub Committee Portfolio.

The achievements of this administration were the appointment of our CHAMBER'S first staff member Executive Officer Robin Baird, the relocation of our CHAMBER'S physical office, increased turnover, increased membership, successful lobbying to guarantee an extension of Gladstone Road to Windsor Road, the creation of additional sub committees, a business plan, a budget and an increase in the number and contribution of our partners.


2001 – 2002

In 2001 Rob Sawtell was elected CHAMBER President and brought a marvelous warmth and personality to the table.  Rob was a positive influence on our CHAMBER with membership continuing to rise.  Achievements included the introduction of the first Hills Chamber Website, hosting of I.T. month and increased membership.


2000

Mike Yeo took over the Presidential reigns for a successful two years, retiring in 2000. Upon Mike's retirement, the Chamber Presidency was taken over by Jim Taggart in November 2000. In the 8 months that he was President, Jim revitalised our CHAMBER as he determined to implement the first Hills Chamber website and encouraging countless new members join our CHAMBER membership. 


Before 2000

The Hills Chamber of Commerce came about by means of an amalgamation of two Chambers; Baulkham Hills Chamber of Commerce and the Kellyville Chamber of Commerce.

The Baulkham Hills Chamber of Commerce had existed during the mid to late 70's and early 80's but by the mid 80's had few members consisting mainly of retailers located in the shopping strip along Old Northern Road at Baulkham Hills.

The Kellyville Chamber of Commerce was commenced in the early 80's by Dave Fox, who was then the proprietor of the Mobil Service Station at Kellyville and who later gained fame as the man who conducted a beauty contest on the Gold Coast which was won by a male. Dave was an entrepreneur at heart and saw the Kellyville Chamber grow to include most of the retailers in the Kellyville area together with a variety of professionals and other businesses.

When Dave moved to Queensland around 1983, Geoff Strong became the President of the Kellyville Chamber which in 1985 became the Hills Chamber of Commerce. Our CHAMBER was later incorporated and widened its membership to include professional and other businesses in the growing Castle Hill and Baulkham Hills areas. 

Our CHAMBER then drew its membership from all over the Hills Shire, as a result of Geoff's vision to make available to all businesses access to government, both local and state, provide business information in the local areas as well as giving businesses an opportunity to network and access to information that would assist their businesses.

Our CHAMBER rapidly grew to over 100 members and maintained that level for a number of years. It enjoyed a diverse membership of retailers, professionals, manufacturers, together with large, medium and small businesses and rural and home based businesses.

Geoff Strong gave ten years of dedication to his role as President and his support to businesses in the shire.

The Hills Chamber of Commerce was incorporated on 13th May 1992.

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