Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Warmth, generosity and hard work

Under the beautiful hanging candelabrums lit with hundreds of real candles, Goldsmiths’ Hall looked magnificent.   With 230 Members and guests, we sat down for the Installation Banquet that followed the Ceremonial Court on Thursday 22nd January.   At the Court I had been installed as Master by IPM Michael Harrison and received The Master’s Blessing from the newly installed Chaplain, the Reverend Canon Dr Alyson Joyce, Rector of St Bride’s.   

Looking around me, I realised the full importance of the year ahead but with the support of Wardens, Livery and Freemen as well as the great efforts of the Learned Clerk John Hammond and his Assistant Clerk Doreen Blythe, I appreciated what a thriving Company we are.

Liveryman Dame Dianne Thompson gave an excellent speech; Diane built Camelot to a £7bn turnover business with her three rules for successful marketing – understand how your products fit into the consumer’s lives and what they expect from them, build integrity into everything you do, and never stop innovating!

I was also delighted to announce the Marketor’s Harvard Business Bursary worth over £50k to the winner. This valuable and generous gift by Professor Martyn Davies gives one of our Members a life changing opportunity.

We were shared the truly grand evening with a large number of VIPs including:

o   Two Great Twelve Masters (The Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths Company and the Master Merchant Taylor) plus the Master Patten Maker, Upholder and World Trader.
o   Directors General of the Advertising Association, The CIM, The Marketing Society and the President of the 30 Club
o   New Hon Colonel of 151, the Commander of HMS St Alban’s (Who had flown in specially from the ship)

The week before, I attended the Communications and PR Meeting.  It was all change there with Andrew Cross chairing and the onboarding of the new PR agency, Whiteoaks.  With all this in hand, it is a really good start to the year with improvements to the web site, improved electronic communications and a good deal of publicity in our trade press for the Company.

The following week (26th January) I was stuck in New York in blizzard conditions so couldn’t open the seminar on the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation at Cass Business School.   This was organized by the Marketing and Law Committee and chaired by Liveryman Ardi Kolah with the Financial Services Forum.  The Senior Warden kindly replaced me.  Over 100 people attended and there has been fantastic feedback. This is a sound example of how the Company can work with the City’s financial community.

The first week in February was a busy one.  On Monday 2nd, the City of London Guides Lecture was held at the 12th century Temple Church built by the Knights Templar, and given by the Reverend and Valiant Master of the Temple the Rev Robin Griffith-Jones.  A funny and hugely entertaining speaker who talked about the Temple’s role in the Magna Carta, holding King John’s treasure and the granting of the Charter of London. I enjoyed this veritable ‘tour de force’.

The next day, I headed to the Heritage Committee. CA David William’s has already produced an excellent brief history of the Company ready for our 40th Anniversary in April. The new team has a full and challenging agenda ahead with an exciting series of projects to progress.

That evening it was the Masters and Clerks Annual Dinner at Stationers’ Hall. The Master, Ian Locks is an old friend so it was a delight to sit on his table.   It was also interesting to sit with several Masters and compare notes.   Ian Locks and the Master Mercer gave very enjoyable speeches. I  have agreed to meet up with the Master Information Technologist to talk about how we can work together more closely.

On 4th February we had the Master and Wardens’ meeting.  Again a full agenda,  covering Finance and General Purposes Committee issues, the confirmation of the Company Diary, administrative matters, Aim Reports and a plethora of operational issues. This Committee lies at the heart of the running of our Company.

On the weekend of 14th I headed up to Lincoln with CA Edward Fulbrook make sure all arrangements are in hand for our Company’s visit on the first weekend in May.   As you all know it is the 800 anniversary of the Magna Carta and our carefully planning should mean a fun and informative weekend.  Already we have almost 50 people attending all or part of the weekend.

The 11th Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race took place on 17th; this is organised by the Poulters at Guildhall Yard and involves a great deal of dressing up and laughter.   Unfortunately, severe tendonitis kept me out of the running but the Middle Warden ably replaced me.  The team of Keith Rowland, Adele Thorpe and Simone Davies ably supported her.   This fun morning in glorious Spring sunshine was followed by a hearty buffet lunch in the Guildhall Crypt.

That evening, we held a briefing for all the Committee Chairmen at Plaisterers’ Hall.

 The next day (18th) CA Michael Bedingfield held his first meeting of the Events Committee at Guildhall.  And it looks a full and varied programme for the year.

On Friday 20th, the Immediate Past Master and I met to agree the ambitions and scope for the Aim 1 Committee.  The Learned Clerk and I also visited Stationer’s Hall to start preparations for the Spring Lunch on 23rd April. It will be rather special.

The next week was just as busy with dinner with the Wardens on 24th then a meeting of the Trustees of Marketors’ Trust on 25th followed by our Business Court.    This was a full agenda covering the approval of the 2014 accounts to go to audit, approval of new Court Assistants, promotions to Liveryman and joining Freemen.

The World Traders’ Tacitus Lecture held at Guildhall on 26th.  - this is one of the highlights of the City calendar and attended by some 800 guests.    

Baroness Scotland’s lecture entitled ‘Do we need the City’.   Fortunately it was agreed that we do indeed need the City as ‘it is the engine that powers the real economy’, but that traders need to rediscover the need to ‘understand the value and purpose of the product to the client’ and ‘to undertake understandable risks with honestly and in good faith’ if trust in the City is to be restored.

I wonder if the Baroness is a secret Marketor? I had the honor to attend a small private dinner with the Lecturer afterwards.

Throughout the month I have been impressed by the extraordinary work being undertaken by the Almoners. They undertake their work with great care, in confidence and with no thought for personal recognition. We are fortunate indeed to have such a group of dedicated people in our midst.

The appointment of Whiteoaks as our PR agency has been a great success. We have had more coverage in the past month than the total in any previous full year. Coverage was achieved in all the right titles and web sites for my installation as Master, the Harvard Bursary, the Data Regulation Seminar and the Top Ten Tips to help deal with the problems arising from them written by Liveryman Ardi Kolah, for the Senior Warden discussing mergers and acquisitions in the new economy, and for an article by me on the Top Three Things marketing directors should concentrate on in 2015. We need lots more interesting ideas please.

The month ended with the sad news that the beautiful and delightful Shirley Hooper, beloved wife of CA John Hooper, Chairman of the Marketors’ Trust departed this life peacefully on the 27th. I know we all wish to express our sincere condolences to John and their family.

Andrew Marsden