As North East England Chamber of Commerce’s partner engagement & sponsorship manager, Erin Knight works closely with a smaller group of some of the region’s largest and most influential businesses through the Chamber’s Partner Programme, and engages members looking to further raise their profile within the business community. Here, she tells Steven Hugill more about her role and the satisfaction she gains from identifying shared objectives and building relationships
Partner engagement & sponsorship manager
You are the partner engagement & sponsorship manager at the North East England Chamber of Commerce. What does your role entail?
I recently moved into this role, having previously worked with our small business members.
I’m now working closely with our Partners, finding ways in which we can drive the Chamber’s Stronger North East campaign and together develop a range of activities where our Partners can share their wealth of knowledge and experience with the wider business community.
I also handle our sponsorship proposition, which provides our members with opportunities to further associate with the Chamber and reach specific audiences.
The role is very much about getting involved. It’s my job to be curious, get stuck in and make sure we deliver what we set out to do with our Partners and Sponsors.
What do you enjoy about your position?
I am excited to work with our Partners and Sponsors as I love meeting new people, learning new things and am keen to champion the North East. Our members are from such a diverse range of sectors that no two days are the same.
Knowing that you are collaborating with people who want to be a positive force for change is also very rewarding.
What made you choose this area of expertise?
My role is all about building relationships and wanting to work towards shared goals.
I think I’m a pretty easy-going and hardworking individual, and I’m eager to contribute too. I believe this is a good starting point for anyone who works in business engagement and support.
Tell me a little about your career path. Did you always aspire to work in business engagement and support?
I think I’ve always been interested in people, their ideas and stories, and am grateful to have found a role where I can engage with a variety of individuals.
While studying International Relations and Media at Kingston University, I interned at the Norwegian-British Chamber of Commerce, in London, for a couple of days a week. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there and saw how it created a great support network for Norwegians working in the ‘Big Smoke’.
Fast forward to 2017, and a new life in the North East, and I was delighted to see there was a Chamber of Commerce here too. I had a feeling it was where I should be working, and I’ve not been wrong.
How important a role do you think the North East England Chamber of Commerce plays in supporting the growth of the region’s business community?
I think the Chamber is pivotal to the growth of the region’s business sector.
There is strength in numbers and even more so when its channelled through an organisation such as the Chamber. It not only provides a voice for the North East, but is a place where ideas are developed, collaboration is encouraged, and action is expected. We want to be accountable to all our members and, equally, promote businesses to be accountable too.
If we all commit to this, the North East business community will be a force to be reckoned with.
How has the unprecedented situation with the COVID-19 pandemic and the ongoing uncertainty around Brexit affected your role? Have you had to adapt to meet businesses’ changing needs?
The pandemic has highlighted the importance of working collaboratively and flexibly, and certainly thrown many of us into a life lived virtually.
In some ways, this has allowed me to meet members more easily, but the reality is that ‘offline’ there are big issues and concerns that businesses are having to manage.
With Brexit imminent and the pandemic still gripping the region, it’s imperative that in my role I continue to keep channels of communication open and ensure we are responding effectively and efficiently to businesses’ needs.