As director of his own business and chair of one of our local Chambers, Kevin Stephenson talked to us about his role on the North Tyneside Business Forum management team and his vision for the future of the Forum.
What’s your role in the NTBF Management team?
I’m on the management team as chair of the Wallsend Chamber. I was invited, alongside the chairs of Whitley Bay and North Shields Chambers, to sit on the team and I accepted because I think it’s vital to have the voice of businesses in the Wallsend area represented in the region.
I bring my knowledge, skills and expertise drawn from working with multi-national corporates and SMEs locally, regionally, nationally and internationally.
I also bring an understanding of business requirements from start-ups to multi-national organisations. Whilst, recognising that satisfying the needs of all businesses is a difficult task, I see part of my role in using my experience and expertise to find a balanced approach to the initiatives driven by the management team.
Tell us a little more about your background
Originally from Ponteland, I spent four years at Staffordshire University studying Business Studies before taking a graduate sales position with Crown Wallcoverings covering the Tyne Tees television area. After three successful years in sales, I was promoted to a marketing role based in the Lancashire Head Office. Several roles and, some 25 years after that initial move I have returned to the north east where I have set up my own businesses.
Currently, I’m chair of the Wallsend Chamber CIC, director of Experts in Business, director of EIB Business Support CIC and non-executive director of Northumberland Cricket Board.
I like to keep my finger on the pulse of business and as such have been a director and board member for several different businesses in a variety of industry sectors for over 20 years.
My main skills lie in marketing, sales, business development and leadership, but I’ve worked with many different industries including DIY, cosmetics and toiletries, textiles, ceramics, oil and business services and business support for SMEs.
Does your role on the team create connections for you in business and indeed in your life outside the Forum?
While I’m not looking to create any connections or expand my network for my own personal business life, I am always seeking ways in which to represent and support the businesses in Wallsend. I believe that my involvement with the Forum and the other organisations of which I’m a part enables me to represent my local area where otherwise they might not have a voice.
How do you see the Forum developing in the future?
The Forum needs to take a collective, collaborative, inclusive and promotional approach on behalf of all businesses in the area. The diverse nature of the management team is necessary to ensure that all business aspects are considered in providing consultation support to the local authorities.