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International Women's Day

It’s a long line of girl power for the Cambridge Business Chamber.

With the last six CEOs including the present and the past five presidents leading up to the current being women, the Chamber celebrates their history of female influence on International Women’s Day.

Past President of the Chamber (2003-2007) Rosalie Lunson says it was the work of women that championed the standalone of the Chamber, where the organisation broke away from the Information Centre.

“Women have been extremely influential in the Chamber,” she says. “It’s been a great journey. Seeing the change in the Chamber and its becoming – policies and procedures being formalised, transparency and consistency reached, more of a voice going on.

“Everybody has bought something different to it. There was the groundwork era, the building era, the growing era. And of course, leadership is only as good as the leadership you have with you - I was very fortunate to have a wonderful team, much of whom were females, alongside me who were instrumental in the growth and real drivers behind it.”

The CEO run started with Amanda Hema, followed up by Judi Smythe in 2007, Julie Epps 2008-2010, Raewyn Jones 2011 to 2014, Tania Witheford 2014 to 2018 and now Kelly Bouzaid. Presidents have taken the form of the first woman as Rosalie Lunson in 2003, followed by Jo Hueston, Lorraine Bidois, LesleyAnn Thomas and Mel Englebrecht, before our current standing Phil MacKay.

First formed in 1905, the Cambridge Business Chamber (then the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce) was the making of a group of likeminded townspeople wanting to enhance ad share support for business in town. To join was a 10-shilling subscription fee, and after a brief hiatus in the 70s the Chamber has grown from strength to strength to thrive today.

Current CEO Kelly Bouzaid took over the helm in October 2018, and says her predecessors created a strong platform with growing a membership across a number of industries and incredibly generous partnership relations.

“We want to ensure that Cambridge has the best possible representation as part of the Waikato Region to ensure our unique proposition and identity is retained as the creep south continues,” she says.

“There is much to be done with so much growth and development in our region, and I am delighted to be working with two other incredible women on the team, Aroha Croft and Felicity Mehrtens who make it all happen behind the scene. Their hearts are really in Cambridge.”

By Poppy Wortman


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