Hampshire Chamber of Commerce has appointed Sarah Mills as director of commercial operations.

The Sheffield graduate, with over 25 years' business experience, previously worked at start-ups, SMEs and a FTSE100 company in sectors ranging from service to products.

Mills had senior roles in horticulture, such as head of wholesale at Hillier Nurseries, and was formerly operations director at recruitment agency, 1to1 Group.

She kickstarted her career as a confectionery buyer for a national chain, a job she attributes to her lasting skills.

Welcoming Sarah, Ross McNally, chief executive and executive chair of Hampshire Chamber, said: “We are excited to appoint Sarah to such an important and progressive role within the Chamber. The importance of reaching out to our membership and ensuring our programme of support meets their current and future business needs is at the heart of the decision to make this investment in our success.

“Sarah’s experience and skills will prove a perfect fit, supporting our well-established team.”

Ms Mills said: "I learned early on how important it is for any business to deliver a consistently positive customer experience, work as a team and constantly innovate to deliver growth.

"I then moved into account management for one of the UK’s largest suppliers of cut flowers importing product from all over the world to supply supermarkets here.

"This led to leadership positions in sales and marketing and commercial, where I was accountable for fresh ranges and products, managing complex supply chains and developing new sales channels in the USA.

"While most of my career has been spent working with private SMEs, I have also worked for the FTSE100 company British American Tobacco.

"My time there honed my project management skills. I was managing global project teams and realising the importance of collaboration.

"The sheer size of such a business meant it was vital to have a clear vision, purpose, strategy and financial discipline, particularly in product investment opportunities, to ensure robust decision making."