This week we sat down with our Chief Executive Glenn Vaughan to learn what makes the British Chamber and him tick, his vision for the chamber and where Aston Villa’s rightful place in football is.
What one word describes you best?
And if I had my full wishlist, Aston Villa would make a rapid return to the top of European football, where they belong.
What is the biggest challenge the chamber is facing?
You’d be a bit surprised if I didn’t say Brexit right? And while I don’t have much time for those who tell us to forget all the difficulties and try to find the opportunities, the challenge is what makes life interesting.
Right now our focus is on getting the negotiating parties to prioritise jobs and business rather than seeming to accept the prospect of significant negative impacts on both sides. That’s simply not acceptable.
I think that in the medium term, the UK and EU relationship can play an essential part in the success of Europe. We all need Europe to be an attractive place to create, build and sell.
We need the negotiating parties to get on with making a fair and sensible agreement.
As for challenges, apart from those facing Aston Villa, that’s probably enough to be going on with.
What are the most important traits for a successful leader?
Being right. Or more likely, finding someone who could be. And listening to them.
Luckily, the British Chamber is full of people with ideas, talent and commitment. Enabling them to achieve things is the best way to make a difference.
What are you most proud of during your time at the chamber?
The British Chamber really is the most European and international of chambers of commerce. It always was – but it’s become even more so in recent years.
Seeing that reflected across the leadership team of the chamber – and throughout our membership – is great.
How do you see the chamber changing over the next two years?
We need to make sure we’re in good shape to help our members get their voice heard. Our big strength has always been enabling our members to engage with the key decision makers and influencers and speak for themselves.
Responding to Brexit has illustrated the importance of the chamber having its own voice, and that will be a capacity we’ll build on. Including at the bilateral UK-Belgium level where British investment is so important.
But we’ll also need to be more commercially focused in helping companies enter the Belgian market, and grow their businesses as a launchpad into the rest of Europe. If anything, British companies will need us more than ever, so that really is an opportunity.