Human resources expert Sandhya Iyer has become the eighth and final member of the Board of the Sevenoaks and District Chamber of Commerce.

Following a lengthy and competitive recruitment process, the appointment completes the make-up of the Board, which serves more than 200 business members in the area.

Sandhya is the director of The HR Dept Sevenoaks, Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells, which provides outsourced HR advice and support to SMEs in and around the district.

Her business started in December 2017 when she set up following high level corporate roles in India, Singapore and London.

“It has been a great three years,” Sandhya said, “and being appointed to the Board of the Chamber is something I’m really proud of.

“During the current crisis I have been offering support through workshops and, more widely, on HR and employment practices to Chamber members of all business size and structure. It’s been crucial to help them continue trading without worrying whether their approach towards staff is legally compliant, with well-rounded support from an HR and a health and safety perspective,

“I am now looking forward to continuing to support the Chamber through a period of many unknowns and working closely with the team on a way through future challenges.

“My business has gone from strength to strength over the past three years and, with the combination of my previous corporate experience and the work I’ve done with local SMEs across different sectors, I feel like I have a lot to offer.”

Sandhya’s appointment was welcomed by Julie Phillips, CEO of Sevenoaks Chamber, who said that the Board is now at capacity with eight members. Alongside the two businesswomen on the Board are: Andrew Raby, senior partner at solicitors firm Thackray Williams; Sharon Field, head of corporate and social responsibility at FM Conway; Katrina Walker, business development manager at Warners Solicitors; chairman Nick Brooker from Handelsbanken; treasurer Kirsteen Allen from resourcing agency Ten2Two; and Gareth Walters from private medical firm WPA.

Julie said: said “We are delighted to welcome Sandhya to the Board of the Chamber and feel she is the perfect complement to our current skillset.

“We were delighted by the high number of applications we had for the position, demonstrating a genuine support from our members to ensure the Chamber of Commerce continues the great work it does in supporting business within the Sevenoaks District.

“Our final appointment to an eight-strong board demonstrates that the Chamber is committed to developing our member offering, to ensure the right level of support is offered post-Covid with workshops, information, networking and promotional opportunities.

“Having our full complement of board directors will help us to steer the Chamber in a positive manner and enable us to respond to the unpredictable business climate.”

Born in India and with a specialist MBA in Human Resources Management from Mumbai University, complemented by a UK Graduate membership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), Sandhya’s corporate life took her to offices in Bangalore and London, focusing on employee relations and the day-to-day application of employment law to dynamic work environments.

But it was when working for a pre-school in Singapore, as part of her graduate membership qualification for the CIPD that her appetite for working with smaller organisations was whetted.

During the past three years her business has grown significantly as she has supported clients in all areas of staff management, particularly during the coronavirus crisis.

She has also become involved in community life in the Sevenoaks area – not just within the business community but by sponsoring local events; such as jazz concerts at the Sevenoaks Summer Festival last year and local family and women-based charities.

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