New Board Member Making Connections

Inspire Blog |

Director of family firm Sylvester Keal and chair of the Chamber of Commerce for North East Lincolnshire, Irene Keal is a welcome addition to Lincs Inspire’s Board of Trustees, playing a vital voluntary role in driving the company forward.

Irene brings years of private-sector business expertise to the table combined with a passion for the local area and the services delivered by the charitable trust.

Irene said: “I’ve lived here all my life; we have a business rooted in this area employing local people and supplying local firms.

“Lincs Inspire is here for the community, making a difference to so many lives. This is one of the reasons I’ve decided to join the organisation to help make a difference to the area, to be involved and to be part of its future.

“Since joining earlier this year, I’ve met many employees of the company. Everyone is so passionate, and you can tell they love their jobs, it’s inspiring to see. It’s a pat on the back to the business, I feel proud to be part of it.”


Irene left school to pursue two professions. Growing up dancing this progressed into teaching and the founding of Mayfair School of Dance (formerly Lilian’s Dance School), which Irene combined with hairdressing. After marrying and whilst bringing up two children, Irene began to take a greater role in the family business – Sylvester Keal, which was being managed by Irene’s husband and his father.

Irene.Keal Web

They were short staffed one day and my husband asked me to answer the phone. And as they say, the rest is history.

“I’ve been there 21 years and I’ve done pretty much every role in the business, apart from fixing dishwashers! Now I focus on marketing, web sales, and take a strategic director’s role. But when your company is smaller, you’ve got to be hands-on.

Irene Keal Lincs Inspire Board Member

Having grown and developed a local firm, Irene is looking forward to bringing the lessons learned to Lincs Inspire.

“Not being from the public sector, which is vastly different,” said Irene, “you must work with what you’ve got. Sometimes it is incredibly hard, and that knowledge and skillset that I’ve got, I can share; it adds another dimension.

“My role as chair of the Chamber of Commerce means I can help signpost people to Lincs Inspire’s services. A colleague from the chamber has recently launched a charity for stroke rehabilitation. I’ve shown her around the amazing facilities at the Grimsby Health and Wellbeing Centre and she was absolutely blown away with how incredible it is. It’s a nice feeling when you can help with something, and it’s those sorts of connections I’m looking forward to developing.

“The timing of my joining the board of trustees is great because we’ve just come out of covid, everything is happening and starting to evolve. It’s brilliant because it’s in a local community and it’s accessible for everybody- that’s the crucial point of it. It’s great to be part of that.”

Lincs Inspire Limited is overseen by a Board of Trustees; independent members from the community and business sectors who share their expertise to guide the company forward.

For more information about joining the charitable trust as an independent board member, please email