INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY: 'Business dating agency' appoints county's new director

A Lincolnshire 'business dating agency' has appointed a Skegness woman as its new director for the county.

Claire Bicknell and Sally Hurst “sealing the deal” at Skegness Seal Sanctuary. (Image courtesy of Argeg Media (Mark Mason Photography)
Claire Bicknell and Sally Hurst “sealing the deal” at Skegness Seal Sanctuary. (Image courtesy of Argeg Media (Mark Mason Photography)

Catena Network, the specialist business introductions expert, has appointed Sally Hurst, the owner of Skegness-based Energy Matters, to run its organisation across the county.

Sally will take up the role in March, but will continue to manage ‘Embracing Skegness’, the networking arm of the Skegness Area Business Chamber so that the county’s businesses and entrepreneurs can benefit from the support of both networks.

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“Skegness has been my home for 14 years and I value this wonderful county which is packed full of history, great local produce, culture, scenery and coastline, and of course, it’s wonderful people," Sally says.

Claire Bicknell (left) and Sally Hurst. (Image courtesy of Argeg Media (Mark Mason Photography)

“Most of my working life has been in international sales and customer service. I got a real buzz out of building a rapport with customers using my languages of German and French.

"After attending many different networking groups, I discovered Catena which reflects the values I hold for my own networking with Embracing Skegness (including an awareness of pastoral and welfare issues), so working with both organisations will allow me to engage and connect with businesses on a regional scale .”

Catena started in Nottingham in 2013 and has grown to over 170 member companies based in the East Midlands, Manchester, Bristol, Greater London and the North-East, providing on and off-line commercial introductions for ambitious entrepreneurs as well as for established firms. The company’s founder Claire Bicknell identified the need for a professional introduction service to connect like-minded businesses.

Claire says: “When I first met Sally, I was struck by the passion she had for her local area and the business community and as I became aware of her ability to see the value in connecting like-minded business people, I had no hesitation in welcoming her as one of Catena’s Regional Directors

"What we are all trying to achieve with the Network is the ability for businesses to grow relationships with each other, developing trust to the point they feel confident to do business together or recommend to others.”

Since the pandemic, Catena has continued to grow membership by holding both in-person and online events.

Sally plans to run a mixture of events around the county as well as introduce Lincolnshire business executives to the central Catena programme.

These events are designed to build leadership skills, encourage collaborations, solve business issues through special interest groups and create an environment where confidential discussion is possible.

Sally will host her first online event on March 24 and first face to face event on April 6 at a drinks and canapes event at the Hilton Hotel in Lincoln City Centre.

Registration details can be found here