Dawn McLaughlin has been appointed the 78th President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce.
Dawn, who runs her own accountancy firm in the North West, was appointed at the virtual AGM on Thursday 10 December, taking over the reins from outgoing President, Redmond McFadden.
In her address to members, Dawn spoke of the immense challenges facing businesses this year and said the recovery from Covid-19 and managing the effects of Brexit will be her main priorities for the coming year.
Dawn will be supported in her role by Aidan O’Kane, Allstate NI Director and Director of Production Health at Allstate Canada, who will be the Chamber’s Vice-President for 2021.
Speaking at the virtual AGM, Dawn said: “I am very proud to have been elected President of the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce and I would like to thank the membership for trusting me with this position. I am under no illusions as to the serious challenges facing our local business community over the coming 12 months, with Covid and Brexit sure to dominate our focus.
“Redmond worked exceptionally hard this year, doing stellar work in speaking up for the North West as we faced some of the greatest difficulties in a generation, and I would like to thank him on behalf of all our members for his dedication in 2020.
“Rebuilding our regional economy post-Covid and handling whatever comes of Brexit will be our main priorities. Sustained government support will be crucial as we navigate these challenges and we will be working hard on behalf of local businesses to secure this support and clarity.
“However, there are reasons to be optimistic for the next 12 months. The first vaccinations taking place this week in Northern Ireland is wonderful and will hopefully lead to a speedier recovery than first thought. The Executive’s emerging Programme for Government in the first half of 2021 is an opportunity to make the North West’s voice heard loud and clear and make sure that local ministers prioritise our region. And the Taoiseach’s recently announced Shared Island Unit and commitment of half a billion euros over the next five years is a chance to attract crucial investment into the North West and address infrastructure deficits.
“I am excited to get to grips with my new role and I will be working extremely hard over the next year to help make sure that local businesses succeed in a successful North West.”
Outgoing President Redmond McFadden also said: “Despite the challenges that 2020 has presented, the past 12 months have been both a professional and personal honour. In my role as President this year, I have worked hard to fight the corner of the North West and on behalf of our fantastic business community.
“I’ve seen first-hand this year the talent, compassion, and adaptability of our local business leaders as they faced the most difficult challenges of their professional lives and made the most difficult decisions they are ever likely to make.
“It’s important to also acknowledge the successes and high points of this year including the long-awaited sign off of the Graduate Entry Medical School and the commitment from the Executive of match funding for the City Deal.
“I would like to again thank the members for their faith in me this year and thank the entire team at Chamber for their support. I wish Dawn and Aidan the best of luck for 2021 and I am certain that they will represent our region with strong, committed, and dynamic leadership.”