EXECUTIVE Members of the Westport Chamber of Commerce executive committee at their AGM in the Leeson Centre, front, from left: Laura Staunton, Helen Gavin, President; Eithne O’Sullivan and Brian Moran. Back, from left: Maurice Mellotte, Aoife Costello, Michael Moran, Dermot Langan, Aoife O’Neill, Danny McLaughlin, Geraldine Horkan, CEO, and James O’Doherty. Pic: Frank Dolan
Helen Gavin has been elected as the new President of Westport Chamber of Commerce.
Ms Gavin, who runs her own business, Bold Craft Marketing, on James Street, in the town, takes over from outgoing President Maurice Mellotte. She was elected at the Chamber’s annual general meeting last Thursday night in the Leeson Centre, Westport.
Ms Gavin said she was ‘privileged and honoured’ to assume the mantle from Maurice Mellotte and described the Chamber committee as ‘very enthusiastic, energetic and passionate about Westport’. She called on all stakeholders to make contributions.
“The new committee is meeting for the first time this Thursday and we want to hear what people think in terms of how the town can and should develop. We will take all ideas on board and we will review the ideas together as a group and see what is practical and what can be achieved inside the year and what can be looked at longer term,” Ms Gavin told The Mayo News.
“My voice is only one voice. The Chamber is about a collective voice. So any positive or negative experiences people have had, we would like to take it on board. We are here to represent everyone,” she added.
A native of Geesala in Erris, Ms Gavin (nee Carey) cited the town’s history of collaboration as a facet she hoped the Chamber could develop and expand upon.
“There is a lot of collaboration in Westport and we are trying to nurture and grow that through all companies. Collaboration is one of the key things we can nurture as a chamber.
“We would also be seeking to look at ways we can attract new industry and jobs. That’s a key focus. Training and support for business is another key focus,” Ms Gavin said.
After working in both Dublin and Westport, Ms Gavin returned to Mayo over a decade ago and worked as an advertising executive with The Mayo News. She then completed a marketing degree in GMIT Castlebar and after graduating worked with two big Mayo companies, Smyth’s Toys and Portwest.
In 2017 she went out on her own, setting up Bold Craft Marketing. A digital marketing agency, they build websites for companies, manage digital marketing campaigns and develop brands online. Bold Craft Marketing employ five full-time and two part-time employees.
Helen Gavin lives in Aughagower with her husband Adrian. The Gavin family are also in business in Westport, running Westport Bike Hire on James Street and Gavin Plastering.
The outgoing President Maurice Mellotte has been praised by the Chamber for his leadership. Mr Mellotte stepped up to become President following the sudden death of Neill O’Neill in 2017.
“Maurice resumed the role of President at a time of great loss, grief and readjustment. He led the Chamber with humility, kindness, good humour and understanding,” said the Chamber in a statement.
Meanwhile there is more change at Westport Chamber with the organisation also having a new CEO.
Geraldine Horkan takes over the role of CEO/supervisor/manager from Stephanie Colambani.
In a statement, Westport Chamber thanked Ms Colambani for her service.
“Stephanie served the Chamber for the past eight years with dedication, professionalism, loyalty and kindness. Stephanie has moved on to pastures new but has left a template and a mark which will benefit the Chamber for many years to come. Stephanie has taken up a new and exciting role with LEO Galway and we would like to wish her all the very best in her new post,” they stated.