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Commonwealth Chamber installs new president

17 September 2020

Joel Blake OBE has been installed as the Greater Birmingham Commonwealth Chamber of Commerce’s second president.

Mr Blake was formally welcomed into the role at the Chamber’s annual meeting.

Joel is the founder and CEO of www.gfaexchange.com, an award-winning fintech business which helps reduce risk and cost for financial services firms.

Mr Blake is also a national ambassador for the Institute of Leadership and Management, a fellow of the National Centre for Entrepreneurs, and a non-executive director of two other companies. He was awarded an OBE for services to business support and enterprise in 2016.

He said: "During my time, I am to make digital inclusion a key driver of growth for the Commonwealth Chamber, ensuring that businesses are given the opportunity to get back to what they want the most during these challenging times - to do more business in an efficient and sustainable way."

Mr Blake takes over the Commonwealth Chamber presidency from Keith Stokes-Smith, who was appointed two years ago as the organisation’s inaugural president. 

Chamber international director Mandy Haque said: “I would like to thank Keith Stokes Smith for his dedication and commitment to the role of president of the Commonwealth Chamber.

“Keith’s passion and determination was evident from the very creation of the Commonwealth Chamber and is leaving his role to take on the honorary chair position.

“Keith is handing the Commonwealth Chamber presidency to Joel Blake, who intends to drive forward the Chamber and steer it to deliver exciting new initiatives during his two year term.

“This is a really exciting time for the Commonwealth Chamber particularly with the Commonwealth Games in 2022 and businesses looking at new markets for exports.”

Five new executive committee members were also elected to the Chamber’s council yesterday, at the general meeting.  

Karen Daw, from Karen Daw Fundraising and development, Merisha Stevenson, from Business Contracts and Resolutions Ltd, Mashuq Ally, of Rockpool House and Home, Tony Lear, from Business Assist Midlands, Michaela Kendall, of Adelan and Diane Vernon, from Employability UK, will now serve on the council for a two-year term.

Pictured: Mandy Haque with new president Joel Blake   

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