Clare Ferguson was President of the Newcastle Business Club in 2020. Here she speaks about her experience and what she’s learned in the role.
Clare Ferguson is a woman of many talents: Co-Founder and Executive Director of Verve Partners, Newcastle Business Club President, mother of three and hockey fanatic. As her tenure as President of the Newcastle Business Club comes to a close, she shares her experience, learnings and gratitude.
I first heard of the Newcastle Business Club in 2015 when I was looking for a networking space that felt comfortable, engaging, and inspiring. Very quickly the Club filled that desire and became a home for me to meet a diverse range of like-minded professionals. I enjoyed it so much that 6 months later when I was invited to be part of the committee I jumped at the opportunity. I never expected that 5 years later after first walking through the doors I would be President in 2020. I could not be prouder of taking on this amazing opportunity which without Holly Martin pushing me a little I may have not had the courage.
I started 2020 with so many aspirations for the speakers I would bring. I had been told by numerous ex-presidents to be organised with your speaker list. I worked hard to research and secure a list of impressive presenters; I list I knew would offer amazing value to our members and guests across a diverse range of topics. Most of these were interstate and even one was from New Zealand. Who would know, that after our second lunch, the whole world would turn upside down, borders would be closed, and all networking events were banned?
So although the year has not been what any of us expected, I am still incredibly grateful and have learnt so much over the 5 luncheons, with our Lord Mayor presentation, Peter Williams our Digital Innovator, Jeff McCloy, Bernadette Inglis, and our annual awards. I also enjoyed the committee, plus a live interview with The City of Newcastle representatives that was held this year.
I would also like to thank our amazing committee; it has not been easy this year as we have all had so much to juggle in our personal lives with the pressures of COVID-19. The committee really pulled together though, reaching out to each other during the lockdown period and generating ideas of how we can add value without being able to hold a luncheon. I thank them for all sharing their experiences during COVID on a live feed. It was insightful to hear how their industries had been impacted and in some instances, their hardships and the lessons learnt. These volunteers are wonderful businesspeople and I honestly could not have done it without them.
Since returning to our networking luncheons we have experienced huge support with all luncheons being sell-outs events. I would like to thank the Newcastle Business Club members for their ongoing commitment and our sponsors this year who have enabled us to secure great speakers and even enjoy a change of venue to the Newcastle Jockey Club which I know everyone enjoyed. I look forward to seeing our membership continue to grow next year and enjoy a few of the speakers that were unable to make it this year.
During 2020 we gave our branding a fresh modern look but kept in line with the traditional look of the club and keep a look out for our new imagery on our website.
My gratitude goes to my work colleagues at Verve Partners, to Stephanie Jordan and Jodi O’Connor who put in so many extra hours always without question, and most of all my wife Danielle who had our third child this year. It was a big ask to take on this role during a time when our family was growing, and I cannot thank her enough for all her patience and relentless support.