In this latest Digital Excellence 2019 Speaker Insight article we interview Sarah Irving, Head of Marketing and Communications at Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce. She will be talking about digital benefits in a value driven membership model.

What does your organisation do and how many members does it have?

Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce Group aspires to be the leading voice of business – on behalf of micro to multinational organisations, driving better economic conditions and new opportunities for members and the wider community.  Through our recognised centre of excellence for global trade and inward investment, we provide services that promote and create opportunities for the Thames Valley business community while protecting trade and the local/ national economic environment. We offer local engagement, regional representation and global opportunity. We have over 4,000 members, based in all corners of the Thames Valley and beyond. Our range of membership packages appeal to businesses of all shapes and sizes, ranging from SME’s to global brands.

What is your session about at Digital Excellence 2019?

We are currently going through a huge period of change in terms of our membership offering, moving from an employee based model to a value based model.  Digitalisation is forming a huge part of this process, as we look to make the whole process of signing up through to engagement more automated, with the members are the centre of everything we do. My presentation will cover the processes that we are going through to achieve what we hope will be a smoother and more engaging experience for both our members and potential members.

Why is this a topic of interest to membership professionals?

Membership organisations must operate with the best interests of their members at the core of what they do. The pace of change in terms of digitalisation is rapid, so there is always the need to stay relevant and engaging – this applies to all membership organisations, who are looking to retain and recruit members.

Who is your session useful for, who would find it useful?

I would hope that anyone who works for a membership organisation will find the session useful – working for a Chamber of Commerce has it’s own challenges, due to the perceptions of a Chamber of Commerce and its purpose – so anyone who deals with the same challenges in terms of perceptions of their organisation will hopefully find the session extra helpful.

Why did you agree to take part in Digital Excellence 2019 as a speaker?

It’s great to be able to share a platform with other membership organisations – I am looking forward to hearing from all the other speakers.

Are you looking forward to attending and what do you hope to get from it?

Having spent 17 years working with students in a Further Education setting before joining the Chamber 2 years ago, I have plenty of experience of speaking to people – and it’s something I enjoy.  And as I am telling myself that a roomful of 14 – 16 year olds is quite possibly the toughest crowd you can be faced with, I’m hoping that the DIGX audience will be receptive to what I have to say!

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