A Holme Valley woman who has devoted her working life to encouraging enterprise has received the MBE.
Dawn Whiteley, chief executive and former chairman of the National Enterprise Network (NEN), was presented with the honour by the Duke of Cambridge at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
Dawn was named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours earlier this year in recognition of services to business support and enterprise over 25 years.
Dawn, who lives at Thongsbridge, said of her visit to the palace: “I have been incredibly humbled by all the good wishes I have received since the announcement of my MBE. It was a wonderful experience to be at the palace with so many other people being recognised for a whole host of fabulous achievements.
“I have always been very passionate about the work I do and have been proud to be involved with the enterprise support sector for 25 years. I hope that I can continue to use my recognition to shine a light on the fabulous work done by the sector and more specifically by the membership of National Enterprise Network.”
Dawn’s career in the enterprise sector began at Kirklees & Wakefield Venture Trust in 1992, an organisation which later became West Yorkshire Enterprise Agency (WYEA).
She joined as an office administrator to look after the newly-opened office in Huddersfield, where she talked to clients interested in starting or running businesses, provided basic business information and booked them onto a range of courses or arranged an adviser meeting.
Dawn worked at WYEA for 16 years – finishing as general manager running an organisation with a £5m annual turnover and 120 staff. She has been NEN chief executive since 2011, having previously chaired the board from 2008 to 2010 and served as deputy chair and regional director before that.
She said: “Within a matter of weeks of starting as an administrator back in 1992 I knew this was a job I was going to love and want to do for a long time. I’m proud to have helped thousands of start-up clients – both those I’ve talked to and those I’ve represented more widely – and I’m very grateful for the great bunch of people I’ve worked with along the way too.”
Dawn, a Huddersfield Town season ticket holder and member of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, was also head of enterprise at Business Link Yorkshire from 2008 to 2011 and is chair of Kirkroyds Infants and Wooldale Junior schools, which she has supported for the past 15 years.
Her other voluntary activities include being company secretary for youth charity Chrysalis Youth Trust in the early 2000s and very active involvement in the Action Halifax Regeneration Trust from 2004 to 2010.