Clare Elsby of Elsby & Co took up the post of Area Leader for Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland in January 2019 along with Jenny Cross. Here she shares how she first got involved in FSB and what drives her to put in the effort as a volunteer leader.
My accountancy training means I have a wide range of commercial experience. Having started and managed (along with my husband) a successful accountancy practice for 25+ years.
From humble beginnings in a back bedroom in Northampton, we now have four offices in Northamptonshire and employ 52 staff. I therefore understand and can relate to the issues faced by business owners on a day to day basis.
I have been a member of the FSB for many years. Initially, I took advantage of the business support offered as part of my membership and attended networking events to be able to build relationships with like-minded business owners.
This led to my being asked to stand as Treasurer on the East Midlands FSB committee. Our role was to spread the word about the FSB, its membership benefits and to organise networking and social events for members and non-members.
I was then asked to stand as Vice-Chair for the Regional Area committee for Leicestershire, Northants and Rutland. This appointment allowed me to see the lobbying value of the FSB representing business on local issues such as car parking, business rates and rural broadband.
I was therefore delighted to be able to stand for election for Area Leader. I am passionate about issues affecting business such as recruitment, IT connectivity, over-regulation, 30-day credit terms to name just a few. The government needs to take notice and be accountable to small and medium-sized businesses, which are the backbone of the UK economy. The FSB has the voice to make this happen.
Living and working in Northampton means that I am very aware of the particular challenges faced by the county, especially with the changes in local government. It is vital that whatever form the local government takes, it recognises business and the employment it creates in the community.
When not at work, or championing the FSB, I can be found on the dance floor, competing across the UK, including Blackpool, the home of Ballroom for dancers worldwide- and of the FSB!”