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CMCE Showcase 29 Feb:  Progression in Consultancy
CMCE Showcase 7 Mar:  Great, Enduring Organisations
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GTKP - Issue 8 - July 2023

WCoMC is a collegiate forward looking Modern City Livery Company; we maintain City traditions, share expertise and information between fellow members and give back to the community through our pro bono activities.

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GTKP Issue 8:  July 2023

 

Welcome to Issue 8 of the Newsletter dedicated to all our Company’s diverse philanthropic efforts. In this issue:  Mentoring, YBI - the end of an era, Charitable Fund update, and some Pan livery news too.

But first, an opportunity....

Could you be our Almoner?  

Following the recent and very sad passing of Sally Garratt, who was our Company Almoner for several years, the Company is seeking a new Almoner.   The role is honorary but practical. More details can be found on our Company website.  If you are interested in taking on this important role or would like further information, please contact our Clerk.

Pro Bono Mentoring 

David Glassman, our Mentoring Lead, reports:
"Mentoring charity CEOs and trustee chairs is one of the ways we contribute to society at large. In offering them mentoring MAGIC we help them with:

  • Making better decisions
  • Accountability
  • Growth, personal and professional
  • Isolation relief
  • Change that is certain, risky and uncomfortable where an independent sounding board can improve thinking and implementing.

Types of independent support are summarised in the diagram below. Our mentoring workshops explain the differences between the coaching and the mentoring approaches all will have practiced informally during their professional lives.

The debate about the differences between coaching and mentoring continues to rage with the ferocity of medieval theological discourse, but we have found that the client is more concerned with the benefit they receive than with the apparent purity of its delivery mechanism. Whatever we do and whatever we say will be of lesser value to clients than the way we leave them feeling.

We focus on that feeling and coach to an objective – often to be discovered – and mentor with an openness about the relationship and the outcome. In both cases we offer our knowledge, experience, expertise and enthusiasm to help clients achieve their potential. We don’t come with gold dust to sprinkle over their endeavours, nor do we judge. But we do hope that each client will, in due course, be willing to support others in the way they recognise they have been helped. 

Before being introduced to their first mentoring client all Members, even those who have been global head of something at a major consulting practice, progress through a mentoring workshop. That forum provides tools, techniques and tips but the main purpose is to demonstrate how our “Giving and Gaining” can be made real. We harness expertise to the mentoring approach and contribute from our experience while learning from that of our colleagues. Later, with clients, we will find we learn as much from them as they absorb from us. Magic for us too.

We treat our clients as any professional services firm would do: we offer expertise and absolute confidentiality but on a pro bono basis. We work to their agenda and use our processes to develop capacity and capability in them as individuals so they are able to stimulate the same in their teams and throughout their organisations. Teenage offspring are quick to notice the difference too. In short, we aim to increase effectiveness and enhance lives.

Our process entails holding a metaphorical flat mirror before a client. If s/he likes what they see, the sessions cover how to generate more of the same. If they don’t like what they see, the conversation covers what to stop, what to start and what to do differently. That process has a start, a middle and an end, each with an individual approach.

At the end of the most memorable cases, the mutual trust, learning and respect generated will have elevated the client-mentor relationship into one of lasting friendship.

And finally the important news:  The next full-day mentoring workshops will be held be held on Monday October 16 and Thursday October 19 at Plaisterers’ Hall,  at a nominal cost. For further information please contact Assistant Nanette Young (or David Glassman).

Youth Business International - The End of an Era

YBI has been the longest-running pro-bono client of the Company. We have supported YBI from 2010 until recently.

Background:
YBI was founded in 2002 with the support of The Prince’s Trust. Its purpose is to support underserved young entrepreneurs to start, grow and sustain their businesses – enabling them to create jobs, build communities and transform lives. Key aspects of the support provided by YBI Members to young entrepreneurs includes training, mentoring and access to loan finance. The YBI Network now comprises over 50 Member Organisations in 45 countries with an objective to increase to 70-80 organisations within three years. YBI is incorporated as a charity in the UK with each YBI Member generally an independent not-for-profit legal entity.

From an early stage, the YBI Trustees wanted to ensure that each YBI Member met high standards – particularly on leadership, governance and financial integrity. It therefore established a process of accreditation and, following an introduction by Liveryman Rosemary O’Mahony, invited WCoMC to undertake periodic independent reviews of each of its Members. The findings and recommendations of these reviews were reported to an Accreditation Committee who would decide on whether to support the accreditation of the Member and its continued membership of the YBI Network. Such accreditation was valued both by Member Organisations and by funding agencies who were assured by the accreditation process.

Our work on accreditation:

WCoMC helped to develop and refine the accreditation process. This incorporated in-country visits by experienced consultants – including interviews with senior management and trustees, funders and other stakeholders, mentors and young entrepreneurs. 

In the decade up to early 2020, over 100 assessments were undertaken – typically repeated every 3-5 years. These covered YBI Members in Africa, Asia, Europe, North & South America, Oceania and the Caribbean. During this period, some 30 of our members undertook accreditation assessments, see table below.

The Covid-19 pandemic then changed the situation. International travel was not possible and the accreditation programme moved online during 2020 and 2021 with assessments limited to documentary review and interviews of key staff and stakeholders held via Zoom or MS Teams. During 2022, the YBI Board approved a new strategy in which the role of accreditation was replaced by a more limited ‘Member Health Check’ which was based on documentary review by YBI staff. Jeff Herman and Tom Jenkins assisted the YBI team with the first two such health checks, but we agreed in March 2023 to step back from our decade-long pro-bono support role. 

The end:

A final ‘end of an era’ reception was held on 5th June, hosted in the offices of Trustee and Chair of the YBI Accreditation Committee Crispin Rapinet.  Anita Tiessen, CEO of YBI proposed a vote of thanks for all the Company’s efforts over the years, which was strongly endorsed by Crispin.  Bob Harris, who managed our relationship with YBI for many years, responded, as did Patrick Chapman, Chair of our Pro Bono Committee who initially set up the whole programme back in 2010. 

A group of eight Company Members who had undertaken assessments over the last few years raised a glass to the late John Corneille (who had carried out more than a few accreditation visits in Africa and was always keen to share his experiences) and swapped stories about what they had learned and some of the inspiring people and organisations that they had met along the way.

Postscript:

Over the course of our 14-year relationship with YBI every one of the original staff team has moved on. The original CEO retired in 2018 and the first Chair stepped down in 2021. On a more sombre note, three of our assessors are no longer with us – Alan Harpham, Elizabeth Consalvi and most recently John Corneille who undertook several assessments and had taken on the YBI liaison role in 2021. Sadly the long-serving founder Chair Malcolm Williamson died in April of this year, and our host at the June reception – Crispin Rapinet - died unexpectedly three weeks later. (Crispin is pictured on the right of the photo above). 

We wish the current team every success in the future.

(Ed: The end of our relationship with YBI is newsworthy because it was our longest and largest (in terms of the volume of support) client relationship. In my 12½ years on the Pro Bono Committee, I have seen several such relationships begin, flourish, and end. In that sense, YBI has been an example of Pro Bono "business as usual".)

WCoMC Charitable Fund - Update

As reported in the last issue of GTKP, we are now developing long term partnerships with a few not-for-profit organisations. Several candidate organisations have been identified where the Charitable Fund and/or the Company itself has an existing long-term relationship. The aim is to develop such relationships into long term funding agreements. This is likely to be in the order of £10,000 p.a. for three years.  At present we are considering two applications from such candidate organisations:

First, the Sea Cadets with whom readers will be familiar.  There have been on-going discussions between the Sea Cadets and one of the Trustees (Master Chris Sutton in this case) to sharpen the focus: we plan to work exclusively with one branch (Feltham) to get us closer to the young people and to build a case for longer term support via the national Sea Cadets organsation. 

Second, XLP who have applied unsuccessfully previously.  XLP stands for ‘The eXceL Project’ and is about creating positive futures for young people growing up in inner-city communities in London. Here Trustee and Grant Assessor Geoff Berridge is working with XLP to hone their focus on outcomes and to shape a long term grant application.

As you might expect agreeing to a relatively large long term funding proposal is not a simple binary “yes/no” decision and it is entirely within the role of the Grant Assessor in each case above to work collaboratively with the applicant organisation to shape and refine their grant applications.  More news in due course. 

Livery Charity Chairs Group (LCCG)

On 12th June, as Chair of our Charitable Fund, your Editior attended the Annual Conference of the Livery Charity Chairs Group. The aim of this Group is to make livery charities better at attracting funds, better at running themselves and so be able to help more people in more ways through the grants made.

It was an interesting and stimulating conference, introduced by Professor Alderman Michael Mainelli. It also featured as one guest speaker, our very own Bob Harris, talking about our collective efforts on Pan Livery Pro Bono. More on that below.

As well as Bob, there were talks about grant applications and their impact, Trustee & Board effectiveness, and investment issues - a very technical presentaion on “Charity investments in a time of inflation" - most of which went straight over my head, I have to admit.

Probably the most engaging session was about the role of Charity Trustees and Chairs, from the Charity Commission. There was also an update on the Livery Food Initiative, (which we have supported), and Pollinating London Together - another successful Pan Livery initiative.

In July I attended another LCCG event, this time virtual, which was all about increasing giving by Livery Members. What I learned from this is that as a Company, we are not doing badly, in terms of donations from our Members compared with many other Companies. But I did leave the session with some food for thought. More on that another time, perhaps.

Pan Livery Pro Bono Interest Group

Monday 19th June saw the latest meeting of the PLPB Interest Group, organised by Bob Harris. At this one, I spoke on behalf of a small "steering group", providing a wrap up of where the Group had got to so far and proposing “A Vision and Mission” for the group. We then ran a workshop to help shape the way forward. As a result of this workshop, we are now able to describe the "aim" of the Group, as shown in the diagram below. 

We can also now articulate several future work streams. Again, this is shown in the diagram below and more detail will follow.  

It was a productive and convivial meeting, overall, and there is a real sense of momentum now. 

To conclude, it is worth noting that it was  good to have the opportunity to talk about this Group at the LCCG Conference (see above), and in fact we are mirroring their evolution in many ways. There certainly does seem to be a mood of “Cooperation and Collaboration” across the livery at this time, as evidenced by the LCCG, The Livery Food Initiative, Pollinating London, and the PLPB interest group. Hence the tagline in the slide above.

There have been some good examples already of this collaboration delivering real benefits. It’s worth noting that the Mentoring Workshop, described by David Glassman in the opening article of this newsletter, will be open to Members of other Livery Companies under the auspices of this Pan Livery Pro Bono Interest Group.

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Thanks for reading this far and to all the contributors of content for this GTKP Newsletter.   More in the Autumn.

Steve Cant
Editor

This newsletter is produced by the WCoMC Communications Group. Please let us know if you have any items to include in relation to any topics that come to mind! The opinions expressed in this newsletter represent those of the contributors and not necessarily those of the Company.
​WCoMC is a Chartered Charitable Organisation (Privy Council Reference C877) and a Company Incorporated by Royal Charter (Company No. RC000819).