Writing our 146th Annual Report this week, exactly 6 months to the day of joining the Chamber has provided for a point of personal reflection for me.

It was my absolute pleasure to join the Fremantle Chamber of Commerce in March, and to become a more active part of this connected and diverse business community. I am enormously proud of the passion, vision and hardwork of our Board, our Committees, my Chamber staff and our members that has helped us jump over the hurdles that were facing us over the last 12 months.

The Herald editor asked me this week what was the one thing that had surprised me most since joining the Chamber and the one glaring thing that Fremantle was missing from my perspective.

In addition, to finding myself sewing a sequinned onesie/wowzzzee at the 10 Nights in Port Festival (which I think is probably one of the most surprising things I have ever found in life!!), I think the thing that has surprised me the most is how my pride in Fremantle has grown. Our competitive advantage, the diversity of our industry base, our creative sector, our port and working fishing harbour, our great and quirky venues and retail and heritage soul are suddenly around me every day, and a great reminder to how lucky we are to do business here.

I firmly believe Fremantle is well placed for the future. We are experiencing a significant social change across all cities of the world, not just locally, in the way people gather, entertain and spend their money. This is having a significant impact on our local economies.

There is, however, a consumer drive for authentic experiences, local and independent retail/hospitality and things that offer connections to other humans – something we can’t get online. Fremantle has all of this. Listen to more on this at our recently released Set the Month in Motion Podcast here.

The one glaring thing  that I think we all recognise we need is local people – residents and workers that fill our City around the clock and not just on the weekend. Two of our most vibrant communities are currently North and South Fremantle – they have the locals to support and drive their local economy and as the region’s unashamedly urban heart we need to continue to find ways to increase our residential and business populations.

In a fun fact from the Annual Report, we have acted as host to a total of 942 Fremantle business leaders at a variety of events across the last financial year – from networking to learning events, through to our annual Business Awards.

This participation is actively growing as we work to create better networks and greater interaction with our members and stakeholders. It is these connections that sit at the heart of how we can come together to make a difference.

Some of these plans include pushing for a better visitor’s centre outcome for Fremantle, working with the Department of Communities to welcome their 1,600 new workers early next year and continuing to build business capacity through our “Set the Month in Motion” Forums and Podcasts, run in partnership with the City of Fremantle.

Also coming up next month, is our annual Chamber Leaders Lunch on Fremantle Leaders Perspectives on Friday 18th October 2019. We are bringing together perspectives in our series of think tanks with leaders across each of Fremantle’s core economic sectors. Learn more and book your tickets here.

Finally, I’ll see you all at Freo.Social, who are hosting us next Thursday 19th September.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Mansell