Previously Vice Chairman of the construction firm Esh Group and with a background in corporate banking and strategic marketing at Barclays Bank, James champions the North East business community. James has been Chief Executive of the Chamber since 2006 and experienced first-hand the magic of the Great North Snowdogs art trail.
My favourite moments were my first and my last (and much in between). When St Oswald’s Hospice Head of Fundraising Jane Hogan first brought me the idea – and I had never heard of it before – the wonder of it all caught my imagination immediately.
I was enthralled and committed to do everything possible to help. My last memory was participating in the auction at the end where I witnessed at first-hand how much the Snowdogs meant to so many people and they were doing everything possible to buy ‘their’ Snowdog to keep. It was incredibly emotional and was so wonderful to see.
The Snowdogs brought so much to the North East. It united so many people across the region and brought real passion and excitement. The ‘dogs’ touched people of all ages in so many ways as they transformed spaces – turning the familiar into something that excited the senses and brought real warmth.
I am so looking forward to experiencing the same emotions with Elmer as I saw with the Snowdogs. Seeing people take these wonderful artistic animal creations to their hearts, debate why they like them and which is their favourite. I anticipate so many people touring the region to find them all and so discovering many places they have never previously visited, truly enriching their lives.
Wild in Art events genuinely touch people’s hearts. There are very few things involving the business community which reach out to people of every generation with such passion.
Brand building is all about feelings and emotions and endears businesses to people and communities in a totally unique manner. Employees and their families, customers and suppliers and their families, neighbours and the wider community will all become engaged. Go for it and show another side to you and your business.
Don’t just sponsor – engage and involve. Use it to work in a unique way with all your stakeholders and enjoy every moment. Everyone else will.
Anita Roddick who founded The Body Shop said that “if you ever think you are too small to make a difference, you have never been in bed with a mosquito”. We should all endeavour to make a difference, never be afraid of trying something if we believe in it, and work to inspire others. The Snowdogs and Elmers will all make a difference and bring renewed energy across the North East.