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Suffolk business expert gets prestigious role leading British Chambers of Commerce

PUBLISHED: 10:31 17 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:26 18 October 2019

Sarah Howard MBE has been elected as the chairman of the British Chambers of Commerce. Photo: Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

Sarah Howard MBE has been elected as the chairman of the British Chambers of Commerce. Photo: Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.

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A Suffolk businesswoman has been elected as the new chair of the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC).

Sarah Howard MBE.  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNSarah Howard MBE. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Sarah Howard MBE is only the second woman to take on the prestigious role and previously served as president of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce (SCC).

The BCC is the UK's leading business network and lobbying organisation made up of 53 accredited chambers across the UK and represents more than five million workers.

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Dr Adam Marshall, director general of BBC, said: "Sarah's enthusiasm and dedication will be particularly valuable as we tackle the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead for our business communities in these uncertain times.

"She has devoted significant time and expertise to the Chamber Network during her time on the BCC Board, and the team and I look forward to working even more closely with her in the coming years."

Sarah Howard MBE at the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the EADT EU referendum debate. Photo: Phil Morley.Sarah Howard MBE at the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce and the EADT EU referendum debate. Photo: Phil Morley.

Ms Howard continues to run Haverhill's Sarand Business Software and also leads Abbeycroft Leisure - a not-for-profit organisation running leisure centres and health and well-being programmes across Suffolk.

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In 2015 she was awarded an MBE for her services to the community through the ONE Haverhill neighbourhood community programme.

Ms Howard added: "This is a great honour for me and I'm looking forward to helping the BCC team as they represent the views of the country's wealth creators and risk takers.

"In particular, I am keen to work with our 53 accredited chambers to help ensure that workers, whether they be just out of school or college or who are more experienced staff, have the skills and support needed to contribute to businesses' longer-term growth plans.

"The BCC's newly-launched Workplace Training and Development Commission will play a unique and vital role in highlighting the needs of businesses in this regards."

Speaking of the appointment SCC's chief executive John Dugmore added: "Sarah's achievement is a well-deserved recognition of her outstanding and sustained contributions on the national stage.

"She has helped the BCC and our network deliver campaign success after campaign success for our members and the wider business community.

"It also says a great deal both about the growing reality of gender equality in the workplace - although much more work needs to be done - - that we now have both the first woman and the first Suffolk businessperson in this national role."

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