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WCoMC News



Master Steve Cant



Installation Ceremony

Chris Sutton

Kanan Barot




Karol Szlichcinski 

Collette Stone



Jim Foster 



Honourary Liveryman

Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli 




Installation Dinner



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Issue 76:  October 2021


Our Master’s Voice

I find myself in an interesting position – Master and Editor!  While this is not unexpected, I’ll simply try to be clear which hat I’m wearing in these Newsletters.  

For my first “Our Master’s Voice” I thought it best to summarise what I said at the Installation dinner for the benefit of those who were not present. Unfortunately quite a few Members were unable to attend for various (mainly health related) reasons and we had four last minute dropouts for the event.  All this shows that we aren't quite back to where we were.  This background led me into my theme for the year ahead. It is, simply: “Back to the Future”. (Ed: Yes - the science fiction / comedy film series which I’m sure you’ve all seen).  My favourite scene in the first film is where Marty McFly ends up back in 1956 and teaches the young Chuck Berry the riff to "Johnny B Goode".  That's a great example of a time loop.  I don’t want our Company to get stuck in a time loop. For me it's not about getting back to where we were pre-Covid, but about moving forward and incorporating some of the good things that have come out of the lockdown into our future operations. What might that future look like, using our agreed priorities: Philanthropy, Education and Fellowship? 

First Fellowship. Well clearly, it was great to be back together, meet old friends and colleagues and have a chat, but, given the realities we’re planning a mix of events for the year ahead, continuing to use virtual meetings alongside real-life sessions.  During the past 18 months we’ve been able to engage with self-isolating members as well as those in far flung places like Florida and Ireland using Zoom, and we want to keep that going, as well as enjoying a full programme of in-person events in the year ahead.  See below for the forward programme which includes these highlights:  The Charities Supper on 24th January – our (annual) celebration of our pro bono efforts; beyond that we are planning a joint event with the Chartered Secretaries Company for the Spring, and ‘something a bit different’ for a summer celebration. Fellowship is about our Members, and there’s a healthy pipeline of new members. Indeed, two were present at the Installation Dinner. 

Education where, Malcolm McCaig is now driving the agenda and has taken over governance responsibility for our Centre for Management Consulting Excellence, which is itself under new leadership with Nick Bush and his team.  Malcolm also agreed to take on the “My Most Interesting Whatever” series of virtual talks, and for that I am personally very grateful.

Finally, Philanthropy - where I see most change coming. Our Charitable Fund is now on a firmer operational footing, and we'll see it progress with Past Master John Corneille taking over as Chair and three new Trustees. The Trustees will be looking for synergy between our philanthropic giving and our highly effective pro bono work. Past Master Patrick Chapman continues to drive our pro bono offering, and there will be more on that at the Charities Supper.   

As we head “Back to the Future”, I’d like to see three things happen and I’ll be giving them a firm push. 

  • In the month of the COP26 conference on climate change I think we need a clear statement of our position and what we as a Livery Company can do practically.  Court Assistant Andy Miles is leading on that and will be using material generated by the Livery Climate Action Group. More on that at the New Master’s Reception on 24th November.
  • I’d like to see a reboot in our relationship with the profession, particularly the MCA and CMI, and to this end I should like to introduce some new faces who are well placed to influence things.  (I tried to move this forward during the summer but my hernia operation derailed things.)  First Warden Chris Sutton will lead on this – again more on 24th November.
  • Finally, and perhaps longer term, I’d like to see a more integrated and coordinated approach to pro bono services provided by a variety of Modern Livery Companies.  It's early days on this, but the mood across the Livery seems to be more open to collaboration these days. I was at a Pan-Livery conference very recently, looking at Philanthropy, (Ed: See below) and that was certainly the mood there, so I'll be looking for opportunities to support such moves.

I hope to see you all soon either in person or virtually. 

Installation Ceremony

This year, for the first time, we held the ceremony and dinner at the splendid Saddlers' Hall, close to St Paul's Cathedral.  Steve Cant was duly installed as our new Master. He then installed Chris Sutton, as First Warden and Kanan Barot, as Second Warden.  New Court Assistants were also installed: 

  • Karol Szlichcinski (read more about Karol here.)
  • Collette Stone (Colette was featured in the March '21 Newsletter here)
  • Jim Foster (will be subject of GTK later)

Court Assistant John Watson was unable to attend (but will be installed, and the subject of GTK, later). 

Finally it was a great pleasure to welcome Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli as an Honorary Liveryman. 

The Ceremony concluded with one minute of silent refection in memory of Sir David Amess MP who was murdered five days before the Ceremony.  (Ed: Sir David was my MP).

Installation Dinner

After a champagne reception, we all enjoyed a fine dinner accompanied by some excellent wines. Many people commented on the quality of the wines and the way they complemented the different foods on offer. This included Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli who was clearly impressed. One attendee said afterwards that he had never experienced such an excellent matching of food and wine.  Thanks were expressed to PM Patrick McHugh who unfortunately was himself unable to attend due to il-health (mercifully not Covid).

We knew we were in for a treat with Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli as guest speaker and he certainly delivered.  He picked up the “Back to the Future” theme and ran with it. He entertained and intrigued us. He dazzled us and delivered more than a few rather good jokes.
(Master: I count myself lucky to be Master as we are returning to in person events but doubly lucky to have Michael as guest speaker at my Installation). 

Special thanks go to our Clerk, Julie Fox, and Acting Clerk Walter Gill for all their efforts in organising the event and making sure it ran smoothly. I know that records were broken in terms of the number of iterations of the table seating plan. I believe there were seven, enough to try the patience of anyone. Also thanks to Mark Fox for all the excellent photos above.

Pan livery Conference

Master John Pulford and I attended this year’s Pan Livery Conference on 6 October at the Mercers’ Company Hall. Some 125 people from across the Livery attended and our own John Corneille and Bob Harris were among the presenters. The event was hosted by former Lord Mayor and Alderman Sir Charles Bowman. We learned about several philanthropic case studies using a combination of video clips and panel discussions. These included “No Going Back” (a long-term initiative aimed at reducing repeat offending by prisoners) and “The Livery Kitchens Initiative” (a short term and highly effective response to the challenges of feeding NHS staff during the early stages of the pandemic).

In a section about pro bono efforts across the Livery, John Corneille was on a panel discussion and guests were able to watch a short video about our Company’s work with Youth Business International (YBI). (Ed We are going to try to get the video loaded on our website). Bob Harris presented progress with the current Pan Livery survey of Philanthropy and there was a vigorous discussion about a “Communications Plan” - the flavour of which was mainly defensive. (Ed: in my humble opinion).

Throughout the morning conference several instant polls were taken, using an interesting phone app called “Slido”. We took encouragement from one question that asked about future pro bono collaboration across the Livery – 96% of responders thought this was a good idea! It is understood that there will be several subgroups taking work forward from the conference, including (I hope) one on greater integration or at least synergy between various pro bono offerings across the Modern Livery Companies. Overall it was an interesting, engaging and encouraging event at which our efforts were conspicuous.  Well done and thanks to Bob and John for all their efforts. 

Our Clerk - Julie Fox

On 13th October, I was a guest at the installation of our own Julie Fox as the new Master of the Worshipful Company of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators.  I was joined by a decent contingent of our own Company members.  It was a very enjoyable event and while Julie professed to being very nervous, she carried it all off with great aplomb and, as these photographs show, seemed to enjoy her installation hugely.

Congratulations and best wishes for your year as Master, Julie. 

CMCE Showcase - 18th October

Professor Joe O’Mahoney returned to present the latest Showcase: Digital Marketing 101 For Growing Consultancies.  He gave an interesting and stimulating presentation that covered all the ground between finding prospects and generating leads. He gave several practical tips supported by a presentation which you can find here or on the CMCE website.

(Ed:  This session left me with a sense that I need to up my game as new Master in terms of exploiting digital channels to publicise what we do and, hopefully, generate some interest from prospective new members. Watch this space.)

Lots of Shop Talk 

One of the successes of the lockdown was our ability to attract new members despite not being able to hold in-person events. Shoptalk events are where new Members introduce themselves and there have been two such events recently, one virtual and one in person, where the following members have introduced themselves.

Ajay Chhabra is an independent arts consultant who has worked in the creative industries for over two decades. He specialises in how placemaking can drive local economic growth and encourages spontaneity and intuition in creative decision making, alongside specific data and analysis. Ajay focuses on 'purpose' to strengthen an organisation's mission.

Luca Collina has a background in management consultancy in Italy and more recently as a change manager / project manager based in the UK. His work has ranged from transformational consultancy for medium-large enterprises to scale-up coaching for start-ups, mainly for overseas companies. His current interests include helping to make the professional life of both younger and more mature consultants easier and smarter: by encouraging consultants to develop a more productive approach, exploiting new technology and using AI to enhance capability and capacity.

Paul Kelly has spent many years working primarily for large corporates in IT, programme management, change management and supply chain. He now works as an organisational consultant helping people to rethink their operations by applying systems thinking concepts - addressing cross-functional issues and developing new operational models.

Alan Greenwood has spent most of his career working with large and small banks and fintech businesses to transform, scale and innovate their operations. He has worked with stakeholders at Board, Head of Business and ExCo level.  Alan has recently decided to retire from commercial work and to move his focus onto pro bono, charity, mentoring and NED work and to start travelling again.

Future Events

We have full and mixed programme of events over the coming couple of months although given the prevailing situation with Covid cases and the fact that we had a number of people unable to attend the Installation Dinner means that this programme has to be presented with a distinct caveat:  “if possible” for the “in person” events.

3rd November - MMIW#10 – Patrick Chapman - virtual

11th November - CMCE Research Awards  - virtual

13th November – The Lord Mayor’s Show – marching in the fresh air

24th November – New Master’s Reception - in person 

1st December – CMCE Showcase – virtual 

13th December - Christmas Lunch @ Ironmongers' Hall. In person

24th January - Charities Supper @ Barber-Surgeons' Hall. In person

Details of these events are on the website where you can also book. 

Nominations Committee - Update

The current members of the Nominations Committee are as follows: 
Master Steve Cant and IPM John Pulford, Past Masters Edward Sankey, David Johnson, Denise Fellows and John Corneille (as Chair). The Chair of Membership (Second Warden Kanan Barot) and Clerk are also invited to attend Committee meetings. 
One thing that all are agreed on is that the very title “Nominations Committee” is inaccurate and probably unhelpful. Unfortunately nobody has yet come up with a better title and the question will be considered again towards the end of 2021.  Another thing that they are agreed on is the need to remind Members of the Committee's work.  So what does this “Nominations Committee” do?

The major activities are:
-    Leadership progression and development
-    Awards and Honorary Membership
-    Assisting with filling specific positions within the Company

Leadership progression and development:
A major part of the Committee’s work has been to identify potential candidates for progression to Court Assistant and beyond, and to ensure that those identified understand what leadership positions involve and the Company’s election process. In support of this activity the potential candidates are contacted individually by a member of the Nominations Committee. In identifying potential candidates the Committee seeks the views of the Chairs of other major Committees.
The Committee does not engage in “succession planning” and does not “nominate people for roles”.  These things are simply impractical in a volunteer led organisation. It does however encourage people to step forward and to apply to become members of the Court of Assistants and then Wardens, thereby ensuring a good supply of candidates for future leadership roles.  It does not seek to avoid elections when that supply of willing volunteers exceeds demand.  

Awards and Honorary Members:
The Committee regularly considers candidates for Awards and Honorary Membership. An example is the Outstanding Service Medal which has not been awarded for a few years. Indeed, it is only awarded occasionally for conspicuously good service.
The most recent Honorary Membership was Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli.  He was recommended by the Committee over a year ago and was admitted as an Honorary Liveryman by new Master Steve Cant at the Installation Ceremony on 20th October. 

Filling specific positions: When vacancies arise for specific positions within the Company, the Committee is sometimes asked to assist with filling them. For example the Committee assisted with finding a new Director for CMCE during the past 12 months. 

For further information about the Nominations Committee feel free to contact any of the members referred to above.

Get to Know – Karol Szlichcinski 

New Court Assistant Karol joined us in 2010 and has been a member of the CMCE core team since it was set up in 2016.  
Karol studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge, specialising in Psychology.  At university he held a Post Office Studentship and he subsequently joined the PO Research Department to carry out applied psychology research for the PO Telecommunications business.  His work led to the appearance of pictorial instructions in public phone boxes (remember them?) and was supervised from University College London for a PhD.
Post Office Telecommunications became BT and Karol moved into strategic planning.  The work of the strategic planning unit involved placing and managing numerous consulting contracts, and in due course Karol crossed the fence and joined Butler Cox, a medium-sized consultancy specialising in IT management.  Many Company members will know Sir George Cox, then the Chief Executive of Butler Cox.  In 1992 Karol set up his own consulting practice, specialising in strategy and market analysis for telecommunications and IT companies.  
In 2013 Karol took up a professorship at the University of Silesia School of Management in Katowice, Poland.  The university wanted someone with practical business experience who could lecture in English.  This was a great opportunity for Karol to reconnect with academia and with his father’s country of origin.  Unfortunately the university authorities overestimated their students’ English language skills and Karol had to deliver his lectures in Polish, a steeper learning curve than he had anticipated!  
Joining the Company stimulated Karol’s interest in pro bono consulting.  Not long after, he helped The Bread Tin determine its future path and develop a business plan, a project described in a case study on the Company website, and he has mentored several charity managers.  He has also carried out a series of projects for YBI, including assessments in Poland, Saudi Arabia and Germany and, online, of YBI Serbia.  Volunteering through other channels took Karol to Sri Lanka for 3 months, where he trained Sri Lankan management consultants on live consulting assignments with local businesses in an area that had been devastated by the 2004 tsunami.  

Master's Blog

I'll try to share some of the experiences that come my way during my year as Master in a regular blog, here.  I've already covered the Pan Livery Conference so I'll kick off this month with a visit to “Wizardry in Wood 2021” which came about via the City Consorts*. This was the fifth exhibition held by the Worshipful Company of Turners and it is noteworthy because it only happens every four years. The aim of the exhibition, held at Carpenters’ Hall, is to showcase the work of outstanding UK and international craftsmen. Wizardry in Wood was launched by the Turners Company in 2004 on the 400th anniversary of the granting of the Company’s Royal Charter in 1604. There were some fabulous items on display, and I needed no encouragement to spend some money on a small but beautifully turned pot. The next exhibition will be in 2024. 

*(Ed: “City Consorts” is a Society of Consorts of Masters of City of London Livery companies whose common purpose is to help build confidence in future Consorts. My partner, Cathy, is a member, and she received this invitation).

Your lock-down projects – how are they going?

All that craftsmanship reminds me about lock-down projects. Back in March 2020, at the start of lockdown, I embarked on what I thought was a good long term project - a new stained-glass window for my lounge.  I’ll give an update on that project another time, but I wondered about other Members’ lock-down projects.  I have heard of a couple but please do let me know about yours and send photos if possible for a feature next time. 

And finally .... 

This graphic is from the last CMCE Showcase and it struck a chord! Have you ever been on “Mount Stupid”? I know I have!

Keep those ideas and contributions coming. Thanks for reading this far and stay safe! 

Steve Cant

Master / 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).