Thursday, May 30th, 2024

Chamber of Commerce CEO to Charity Volunteer. Meet Julie Philips.

Julie Philips has been an instrumental figure in strengthening and developing the Chamber of Commerce during her five fruitful years as CEO. Having succeeded in bolstering both the Chamber’s presence and members, Julie’s triumphant efforts have not only injected new life into the Chamber, but has also provided a vessel for its future evolution after she leaves at the end of April.

Julie Philips

Initially leading a corporate career in London, it was Julie’s sense of detachment from her local Sevenoaks community that lead her to change direction. With the Chamber seeming a desirable option for its appreciation of community ties, local charities and people, Julie’s new role as CEO soon proved extremely beneficial in fuelling the Chamber’s rapid growth and success. With members doubling in a mere two years, Julie’s refreshing approach resulted in an astounding 80 to 100 individuals attending the Chamber monthly meetings. By giving potential new members the opportunity to taste what membership is like before fully committing, a new found sense of inclusion has certainly been key to the Chamber’s growing strength and viability.

Not only is it the increase in member presence and cohesion that has profited the Chamber since Julie joined, there is also a host of other notable achievements that have been woven into the Chamber’s culture over her five years of service. A significant highlight for many is the summer reception held each year at local venues, with local supplies to celebrate local businesses. Such engagements exemplify Julie and her fellow board of director’s accomplishments in providing opportunities where links can benefit members in a direct and personal manner. This sense of opportunity is also mirrored in the ‘work experience week’ engineered to provide young school leavers the chance to sample local businesses, and taste the many career paths available to them.

Summer Reception event

Championing the younger generation in order to safeguard the Chamber’s future has been significant to Julie’s contribution. Most notably is the creation of ‘Next Generation’, an initiative set up in 2018 that introduces young people to the world of business and entrepreneurship, providing them with the foundations and tools to prosper whilst creating a positive impact on the community’s future.

A positive impact on the Sevenoaks community is something that Julie endeavours to continue. In a new pivotal role as the marketing lead for Sevenoaks Samaritans, and also a listening volunteer, the wealth of knowledge and skills that Julie has accumulated during her time with the Chamber will undoubtedly make her a valuable asset to the newly formed organisation. With alarming statistics revealing Samaritan calls during lockdown were in demand every 9 seconds, it is clear that where help is needed, Julie’s passion and goodwill indeed suffices.

Close ties with charities has been a dominant feature in Julie’s career within the Chamber. By choosing to support local charities, respectable relationships have been forged over the years. With the popular ‘charity of the year’ scheme. Julie will continue her charitable role as a newly appointed trustee at Rockdale a senior living community in the heart of Sevenoaks. This sense of giving back to the community is evident to why Julie holds a much valued presence within the town of Sevenoaks. 

Having lived and worked a local life, Sevenoaks has been home for Julie and her family for 20 years. Describing the bountiful acres of Knole Park as her ‘back garden’, plentiful runs with her dog Rolo has served as a definite perk of living in the idyllic town. With her children having attended local schools and sports clubs, and her husband also sharing close ties within the community, such as collecting goods for food banks and involvement in local events – a collective sense of loyalty and duty is clearly woven into the Philips family.   

With a diverse and productive chapter at the Chamber of Commerce now coming to an end, Julie’s commitment and care has ensured that the Chamber will be left in a finically stable position, paving the way for its ambition and continuation as a very viable business. A feat she can be most proud of, and one that will enable her to hand over her role to the new CEO this July with great confidence.

Julie Leaves the Chamber in good hands with newly appointed Chair Katrina Walker from Thackray Williams. Katrina will be supported by a strong board of Directors including: Sharon Field – FM Conway, Sandhya Iyer, HR Dept, Gareth Walters, WPA Healthcare, Paul Baker, Wealden Properties and Andrew Raby, Thackray Williams Solicitors.

The helm will be held in the interim by Kathryn McKerlie until the new CEO is appointed in July. 

For any enquiries or to find out more about the Chamber of Commerce please contact Kathryn McKerlie or visit the Chamber’s website:

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