Cherie Norris is Economic Development Officer at Watford Borough Council. She joined the Council four years ago and the essence of her role is to work with local businesses and partners to secure sustainability in Watford’s economy, ensuring it continues to be a great place for businesses to thrive and local people to work.
She is responsible for delivering the Council’s strategy and delivery plan around four economic growth priorities: inward investment and business retention; key sector skills support and brokerage; knowledge economy growth; and economic equality – and is also currently Vice-Chair of the Hertfordshire Economic Development group.
Cherie was an individual IED member before the Council took up a corporate membership in 2014. “I originally joined the IED for professional recognition and then, with the Council having so many staff with individual memberships, it made sense for it to become a corporate member,” she said. “It’s really beneficial for the Council to have and utilise its membership, and be seen to take economic development seriously.”
A personal highlight for Cherie is the IED annual conference. “I attend every year and find it incredibly useful – for us it’s important to see what best practice is taking place across our sector under different streams. Because my own role encompasses business support, skills development, infrastructure and planning, issues-led discussion and case studies around funding and finance, growth priorities and the future of LEPs are absolutely key. The networking opportunity is also valuable – through consultants we have met at the conference we’ve been able to plug gaps in our team when needed.”
Going forward, Cherie is hoping to tap into the IED’s professional development networks. “Regeneration, planning and how to deliver local skills for growth are particularly needed for someone in my role, and similar roles,” she added.