We held our Annual General Meeting on Friday the 17th of March 2023. It was at this online event that Mary Coyle - the longest serving Chair in our history - bid farewell to the team and the rest of the Shared Interest community. Mary has been with us since 2015 and 145 members were in attendance via Zoom as she proceeded to deliver a heartfelt speech.
This is what Mary had to say:
"I have been fortunate to hold this role for eight years and what a journey it has been. As this is my final AGM as Chair, I have been reflecting on the highlights of my time at the helm of this unique and wonderful organisation, including that very first AGM I attended in 2015 before being voted in as Chair. I immediately felt the essence of a common goal, the shared purpose of everyone involved.
It is this shared purpose that has continue to thrive during my time as Chair. Even
throughout the pandemic, when we could not be together, the loyalty of members, commitment of colleagues and resilience of producers shone through.
Businesses across the globe have faced huge challenges due to the impact of Brexit, Covid and climate change. Shared Interest has worked together with farmers and craftspeople throughout all of this, continuing to be a reliable source of finance during increasingly uncertain times.
As this AGM draws to a close, my time as Chair draws to a close also. It has been a fantastic eight years. I have learnt so much from so many and will miss being at the heart of this amazing organisation. I now hand over to my lucky successor, Yvonne Gale to close. I wish you every success and hope you find it as satisfying a role as it has been for me."
A Welcome from Yvonne Gale
Yvonne is a Chartered Accountant who specialises in improving access to finance for small businesses to address economic inequality. She was previously the Chief Executive at NEL Fund Managers Limited, whilst she remains the current Chair of the Government UK Small Business Commissioner’s Office, as well as Chair of the investment committee for the Millfield House Foundation, a charity that promotes social change with the aim of reducing poverty and inequality. Yvonne said:
“First, I want to give a special thanks to Mary for her role as Chair in steering us through many challenges and successes. It is a delight to take up the role for such an unusual and unique organisation; a real exemplar in social justice, financing unserved parts of the world. Thank you for joining, voting, investing, donating and finally for your support throughout the year."
A Steadfast Shared Interest
Yvonne continued: "We would like to extend our sincerest well wishes to Mary upon her departure from her role as chair with Shared Interest. We can be confident that Yvonne - as impassioned and experienced as she is - will continue to support Shared Interest in its journey onwards and upwards towards our common goal: building a fairer future for all."