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Thoughts of a CEO: Mentoring, Mapping and Meetings

In the past month, there has been so much activity that determining the tone of this was a bit tricky. A lot of my activity throughout this year has been spent providing one-to-one mentoring sessions with our members as they seek to navigate their way through the challenges before them. Multiple stakeholder and parliament meetings have taken place, including one at the Bank of England which provided crucial insight into our industry, and we have been mapping out the next couple of years as best we can with a clearer understanding now of the ongoing challenges we face as a nation, not just within our industry.


The Queen’s Speech on economic affairs and business made for some sobering reading when the insights were published on 5th May. The fallout from the ongoing war in Ukraine has caused inflation to rise beyond problematic levels caused by the pandemic. What we are starting to understand is our need to map out a turbulent two years managing unpredictable costs, problematic supply chains and further changes to consumer behaviour. I don’t believe that this is a time to panic, however. We have proven ourselves to be an incredibly resilient industry and an embracing of new technological marketplaces, a focus on collaboration over competition and innovations in sustainability all mean that we have an opportunity to grow and thrive.


At the Bank of England Meeting at the end of April, I was invited to speak first at a round table event with key stakeholders from the world of business. These meetings take place regularly so please email me to discuss critical topics affecting your business so that I can raise them in future meetings.


Victoria and I have also had the pleasure of several Embassy meetings in the past few weeks, with the aim of enabling stronger trade links and opportunities for our members. The most recent was with the French Embassy, providing us with invaluable resource for our members, including trade opportunities, understanding the French market, gifting trends in France and distribution routes to enable greater access to French markets and beyond. Please contact the team if you would like us to send you a report covering all the above.


We face an incredibly challenging time as a membership organisation, as so many of our members struggle. We are constantly interrogating our membership benefits so that we can provide the very best support for all sizes of business. I am pleased to report that we have signed up over 30 new members so far this year, as a direct result of our trade show activities and the increased member engagement. One of the key benefits members can access, is one-to-one mentoring with me. Chatting to our Head of Membership, Victoria, earlier, we realised that we have delivered over 60 mentoring sessions so far this year – each one over an hour-long, masterminding members’ business challenges and connecting them with service providers who can help to further their journey. It is one of the great privileges of my role and provides a fantastic insight into how our members are developing and growing their businesses.


The next few weeks are set to be exciting for the Giftware Association with the Gift of the Year Awards, new website launch and the start of our Shared Lunches, with the first hosted by Talking Tables about Sustainability.  As ever, please email me if you have any questions about the Giftware Association:



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