CMCE Virtual Interactive Workshop 13 June:  Fearing the Unknown
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The Worshipful Company of Management Consultants : What’s it all about then...?

Reporting on the fun and learning of my first year of getting stuck in...


When I talk with people about the WCoMC, my Livery Company, people are fascinated.  Unless you’re a member of a livery company, what they are and how they work can be a bit of a mystery.

I was exactly the same of course. 

Curious about what I thought might be :

  • almost a secret society (it isn’t),
  • potential for connecting with other management consultants with a wealth of experience (it is); and
  • opportunities for giving back to society through pro bono consulting (plenty of great opportunities here if you want them).

I didn’t think of the fun bits (lots of these) and wasn’t aware of a calendar of inclusive events which is positively buzzing.

Elizabeth Consalvi asked me, noting that I’d joined just over a year ago, if I’d write a short piece for the newsletter.  I’m delighted to do so, and here it is.

In typical management consultant style, I’ve come up with a 10-point summary of why becoming an active part of the company has been such a brilliant thing to do.

  1. Welcome and belonging Management consulting often means you don’t really belong anywhere – you wander from client to client.  Even more so if you leave a big partnership or organisation and run a small consulting business.  WCoMC fills the ‘belonging’ gap with a community of warm, friendly and welcoming professionals in the field. Satjit Singh was one of the early people who welcomed me to the fold, explaining how the Court system works and how company members are represented in decision-making. Understanding from Sally Garratt what our almoner does has been heart-warming. There’s real care here that many of us haven’t traditionally associated with management consulting;  lovely. I’m delighted to give the same warm welcome to our new members.
  1. It IS a modern livery company, just 25 years old, which is working actively to become more inclusive.  The fact I’m a member shows that ; (never having been known for being consulting ‘mainstream’ as a change specialist!). Making a difference and bringing it all up to date, it’s a Company that’s clearly set out its stall around diversity and inclusion.  All-male panels are on the way out here. Thanks to John Corneille, our current Master, and to many others around him, we’re all actively working to be a company that’s a whole lot more representative than our workplaces of the past. Kanan Barot and her team are doing a brilliant job of managing member recruitment, and the ‘modern’ bit is key to getting new people in the door.
  2. Knowledge and experience and people willing to share if you are in need or even just curious!  I’ve learnt about the “unconference” thanks to Nanette Young, and seen it in action.  Learning about the challenges of consulting with smaller family companies across Europe from Valentina Lorenzon has been brilliant;  and all new stuff if you’ve come from a big four consultancy. Just two tiny examples of knowledge that’s available here from just two fellow members of the Company.
  1. Challenging conversations and vigorous debate in a way you just can’t have with clients.  Thank you, Patrick Chapman, for being so patient and polite with me (!) and helping me to understand more about other perspectives.  Invaluable.
  1. Having a laugh and not taking yourself too seriously - Noorzaman Rashid and Simon Davey probably have a joint first here, although there are plenty of other contenders (Denise Fellows and Bob Harris with their inter-livery pancake race performance certainly spring to mind). This is absolutely not a stuffy company. The wealth of knowledge and experience is combined with a real sense of fun.
  1. Solid academic grounding in what we do – Calvert Markham and CMCE (Centre for Management Consultancy Excellence) keeps and builds the connection with what we do and why/how we do it.  Proving that we don’t just make it up in the back of the cab on our way to the client I’m pleased to say.
  1. Pro bono consultancy and mentoring – I’d done pro bono work for many years before joining the company, but WCoMC has given me the opportunity to reach some different and very interesting clients. Thanks to David Glassman and Nanette, I got started with The Company’s pro bono work in August last year.  It’s been a hugely rewarding experience, and well supported by David and Nanette and other colleagues.  For those not yet retired, this can also be a door-opener into a whole new sector or skill if you’re looking for it. Good also to have the opportunity to prove that management consultants can give back, despite our reputation as being sometimes akin to that of estate agents!
  1. 800 years of tradition and The Lord Mayor's Show – you can’t beat taking part in a parade!  The huge history is a nice contrast to the relatively modern world of management consultancy, and the two really do sit together. I’m not known for being a traditionalist, but with quite a modern profession, it’s lovely to be able to anchor yourself in 800 years of tradition.  Best of both worlds.  The Lord Mayor’s Show is now 803 years old;  yes, really! The atmosphere is amazing as you walk the route that the new Lord Mayor takes in the golden carriage and you absolutely connect with the history of the City and all the organisations you parade with.
  1. Slick and professional : The hugely efficient and effective team that backs everything up :  Julie Fox, Mark Fox and of course our Beadle, Mervyn Bassett, make it all look effortless.  With some considerable events management experience, I absolutely know it isn’t effortless. Lovely to know it’s all being done brilliantly on our behalves and all we need to do is to just show up.
  1. Indulging yourself, great dinners and events – my partner would be the first to say that he’s enjoyed my membership of the company at least as much as I have. The most amazing venues, wine (thank you excellent Wine Committee!) and food.  A few really good formal/dressy events a year balance out many more informal/business ones in the calendar.  Pick whatever you want to go to, there’s something for everyone. We management consultants are known for our 18-hour days, being endless road warriors, and always putting the client first.  For once in your life, why not do something that’s great for you, and your nearest and dearest, too? The company has some excellent events and I've now got a certificate to say I can open a bottle of champagne with a sabre……Great wine (did I mention the wine?!)

And on that note, I look forward to talking more with existing members of The Company, and welcoming new ones. Together we can maintain our best traditions and actively grow and make this the Livery Company we want it to be for a thriving future in The City of London.








Sue Ells, Liveryman, Worshipful Company of Management Consultants

April 2019