Members' Reception 17 Apr:  Guildhall, Members' Dining Room
MMIW #17  Valuing Networks 18 Apr:  Zoom Meeting — Nanette Young
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Being “Past It” - life after being Master

or:  Master Management Consultant metamorphoses into Amateur Woodsman

The annual Ironbridge Event   

The whole Livery Movement is geared around philanthropy and dinners… Well in retrospect this is how it looks! After a year of merciless promotion of the Charitable Work that WCoMC undertakes through its ProBono Consulting and Mentoring, often at dinners but also at other social gatherings (including being "Jailed at" — and yes thanks to your support "Bailed from" — the Tower of London), I now have a lot more time on my hands (and mixed feelings as I look back). Being Master, believe me, was a tough job, but someone had to do it. And I am pleased to report that I have shed most, if not all, of the weight that I put on over my year.

Virtually all Livery Companies are geared to the annual “churn” of Wardens and Masters — an escalator if you like — enough time to allow each to engage across the Livery, but not enough time for them to achieve many changes (or cause too much 'damage'!). After all, the Livery has been in existence for hundreds of years — why should it change? Don’t get me started — together with David and Noorzaman, we planned and then started a three year programme to become an outstanding Modern Livery Company — and we are now well on the way there, with a few hiccups and detours of course. We love to create change as we are Management Consultants and we make a difference for our clients, so why not for ourselves?

It is, however, a strange feeling when one day you are “Master” and the focus of the Company — then the next day you are, well, “Past it”, as others keen to make their mark step on to the escalator. I am now one of the distinct group of WCoMC “Past Masters” — meeting together twice a year (yes, over lunch) and reflecting on our Company’s growth and development over the relatively few years of our existence. I am of course new to this group and I can only speculate at the moment. But on the other hand, I now have more time to focus on our ProBono work and supporting colleagues on the Committee — and others at CassCCE — both critical parts of WCoMC’s very lifeblood. And everyone knows by now that these are passions of mine.

Yes, I have more time — well when not working to improve our membership, admin and website systems, a project started by Mary Collis when she was Master, three before me. Yes time — a strange commodity. In some ways I feel that I have less control over my time now than when I was in full time employment as a Consulting Director. What I can do now is have more and longer (still mostly) weekend breaks in the West Country with Ann. And what do we do? Walking? Yes. Cycling? Sometimes — but the hills seem to get steeper each year. Wood cutting? Again, yes otherwise we won’t have any fuel for the open fire — and also trees have an uncanny habit of continuously growing. However, this sounds like retirement from consulting. Far from it - as I said, Ann and I are busier now than ever supporting charities and other 'good causes'. We simply dream of having more time for these other activities!

All this comes back to the picture. What you can see is a pile of wood discs, which we had cut from branches that we felled from various trees (Ash, Oak and Cotoneaster). Many of these discs need splitting as they are too big for the fire. So the chainsaw and axe are there for a reason, not just for decoration! It is wonderfully therapeutic as well.

That’s it. That’s us now that we are “Past It”.  I hope this makes sense. And of course: if anyone needs any trees felling, do give me a call. Reasonable rates of course!

And finally — anyone recognise the reference to Irving Berlin on the newsletter ‘front page’? It is a slight bastardisation of “What can you do with a General?” from the film White Christmas (1954), one of the two that feature the eponymous song. And the other film? Holiday Inn (1942). A useful fact for your next pub quiz?

Patrick Chapman Master 2014-15