From the Newsroom

Natasha Watkinson (left), was elected as the new President of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce at the AGM on November 24, stepping into the role of outgoing President Carol Pachos (right). Image: Emma Pritchard.

New President to lead the chamber forward in 2022

Emma Pritchard

When her name was announced as the newly elected President of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce at the recent AGM, Natasha Watkinson described it as a surreal moment, a moment that was made even more special by having her 7-year-old son by her side.

“He was looking at me with such pride,” she recalled.

“When my name was read out, and he was looking at me proudly, that’s when it all became official.”

Hailing from a commercial real estate background, Ms Watkinson has been a member of the Grafton Chamber of Commerce for four years and is the Director of NJW Commercial, a locally based business which specialises in commercial property services.

Describing herself as passionate about the local economy and seeing local businesses grow and succeed, Ms Watkinson said in her new role, she would absolutely love to see membership numbers continue to increase while networking with the business community and encouraging the trade and construction industries to become more involved with the chamber in 2022.

“I would love to get those industries on board,” she revealed.

“I’d love to find out how the industries have coped during the past 12 months, what’s important to them and gauge their feedback.”

Acknowledging the Grafton Chamber of Commerce as a great team, Ms Watkinson said working in unison is a key component to having a really strong economy, and she is looking forward to leading the chamber towards a bright future in the new year.

“Grafton is a viable and vibrant place, and that also includes South Grafton and our surrounding smaller communities,” she said.

“2022 is a new business year and we will continue working together to support each other, our local businesses and our local economy.”

Outgoing President Carol Pachos said the Grafton Chamber of Commerce is in excellent hands with Ms Watkinson, and she has every confidence that she will lead the chamber to a whole new level.

“I am very excited to be able to pass the leadership of the chamber to Natasha, and I look forward to seeing what the chamber will accomplish in 2022 as it continues in the work of supporting local business,” she said.

Ms Pachos remains actively involved within the local community having a place on the Community Consultative Committee for Serco and a place on the Steering Committee for the Industry Training Hub.

As the current Practice Manager of the Ochre Medical Centre in Grafton, she said she made the decision to step back from her role on the executive team for the chamber due to the unrelenting demands experienced by the Health Sector in the last two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.