06 Oct 2022

Well known Portlaoise businesswoman is the new President of the Laois Chamber of Commerce


Alison Browne and Yvonne McKeon are showing the way in Laois business

October 7 was National Women’s Enterprise Day so it was more than appropriate that one of Portlaoise leading business woman took the reigns as the new President of Laois Chamber on the same date.

Laois Chamber held their 2nd AGM on the evening of Wednesday, 6th October via Zoom, due to Covid-19. The AGM saw the election of a new President, Vice-President, and Secretary.

Alison Browne of Portlaoise-based Gerry Browne Jewellers is stepping up from her previous role as Vice-President and is taking over as President from Ciaran Finane, of Finline Furniture. Yvonne McKeon of McKeon Stone, located in Stradbally, is the Chamber’s newly elected Vice-President, with Martin Crowley of iCashco elected Secretary. Conor McGarry of Powerpoint Engineering continues in his role as Treasurer.

Following her election as the new President of Laois Chamber, Alison Browne said she was looking forward to the coming year as President of Laois Chamber. 

"I would like to thank our outgoing President, Ciaran Finane, for steering the Chamber through one of the most difficult business climates that we have seen in decades. Despite this, still managing to grow membership and maintain a very strong business representative body while managing a very large and profitable business, Finline Furniture. 

"I am delighted to be able to give some time back to Laois, a county that has been loyal to us in business over many decades. I look forward to working with our new CEO, Caroline Hofman, who has covered a lot of ground in such a short time here.  We have an outstanding board, who only want to give something back to Laois and each year they have achieved this.  I also welcome Yvonne McKeon, Vice President, who brings a wealth of business knowledge to the board.  Yvonne is passionate about building on all the strengths that Laois have on offer.

"I look forward to providing real tangible benefits to our loyal membership.  Working closely with all entities in Laois is key to its future success,” she said.

Outgoing President Ciaran Finane spoke. following the AGM. 

“It has been a genuine privilege to represent Laois Chamber Board and Members as President this past year. I would like to thank our fantastic board which is full of great enthusiasm and energy for Laois business. Everyone in Laois knows the huge potential that exists in our great county and hopefully the Chamber will continue unlocking this potential and get our message that Laois is open for business to the wider world! Laois Chamber is the only Chamber in the country to grow our membership during the pandemic which shows the appetite in Laois for networking and growing business.

"I would especially like to wish our new CEO Caroline Hofman the very best of luck in her new role. Caroline has made a fantastic early impression and is the youngest Chamber CEO in the country. Huge thanks to John Mulholland and Laois County Council for their ongoing support of Laois Chamber.

"The future of Laois Chamber is in great hands with Alison Browne as incoming president. Alison is as passionate about Laois business as anyone in the county and has done huge work on our board in recent years. I would like to wish her the very best for a great year ahead,” he said.

The new president will be working closely with the new CEO of Laois Chamber, Caroline Hofman.

“I would like to thank Ciaran Finane for his outstanding work and contribution to Laois Chamber over the past year, and I look forward to continuing working with Ciaran as a Board member," said Ms Hofman.

"He has been a tremendous asset to the Chamber, and I want to commend his hard work and determination supporting Laois businesses particularly during such challenging and unprecedented times as a result of Covid-19, and ensuring that Laois is promoted as a key location for business.

"I look forward to working closely with Alison as newly elected President of Laois Chamber and wish her the very best of luck in her new role. Alison has really done stellar work with the Chamber and the business community in Laois, and will no doubt continue delivering results for Laois businesses.

"We are fortunate to have a diverse Board representing a number of business areas. They are extremely hardworking and with the best interests of Laois at the heart of their roles,” she said.

The remaining Board members are Ciaran Finane of Finline Furniture, James McElwee of Rolleston McElwee Solicitors, Ashleigh Doyle (CJ Sheeran).


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