CMCE Virtual Interactive Workshop 13 June:  Fearing the Unknown
Education Supper at Bakers' Hall 19 June:  AI's Role in Higher Education
Workshop at Plaisterers' Hall 25 June:  How should charities use AI?
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NL Sept 2020


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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Click here for a recap of the results.











Read about the Review of the Charitable Fund below.
Read about upcoming events here.
Get to Know Kanan Barot here.
Chris Sutton models the branded Company face covering... maybe. Read more..



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Issue 68:  September 2020


Our Master's Voice

The year’s reflection

This will probably be my last piece as Master.  It’s been a very different year to that planned and thank goodness that the ability to Change through Wisdom runs through our Company.  It has made us better able to respond to what is becoming a new normal.
We may not have been able to run the big dinners in magnificent halls or even the small gatherings in a pub, but we have held a wide variety of events over Zoom and this has made it easier for some to join in.  The Special Interest Group events have been particularly well attended with some fabulous Wine Club events, and a thought-provoking event from the Faith group which reflected on the longer-term impact of the pandemic and the contribution that faith communities can make.  The Music group has the most active WhatsApp ensemble advertising events with music from Jimi Hendrix to Beethoven.  
As might be expected, the opportunities as Master to attend functions in the City and with other Livery Companies have been greatly reduced however, we are not alone in being ingenious and I will be attending another virtual white tie Mansion House event this week in the company of the Lord Mayor. 

Moving forward into the new normal

We took our first tentative steps in meeting again in person at our Annual Service when twelve Members and guests gathered together to give thanks for the past year, to reflect on what it means to be a Worshipful Company and to remember past Members.  It was a joy that many others were able to join in through the livestream. 
The Common Hall (re)election for the Lord Mayor went ahead on 29th September but in a very restricted fashion with only one Member from each Livery Company being invited.
It is becoming clearer that at best we will be working within a hybrid existence with a few able to gather together under strict self-distancing rulings, and at worst remaining as a virtual community for the next 6-12 months.  Second Warden Elect Bob Harris represented the Company at the shortened ceremony, which resulted in William Russell being re-elected for a second term.
However, engagement is not just about attending events and there have been increased opportunities and take up on projects with probono clients, mentoring, research with Tomorrow’s Worth, building our knowledge bank with the Centre for Management Consulting Excellence, and Securing Future Prosperity.  Our emerging strategy will hopefully inform whether we are focused on the right things to achieve our aim of being a modern, vibrant Livery Company.  It is our Members who are at the core and we will be contacting you soon to understand the sort of events and activities with which you would like to participate.
Reflecting on my year, I am relatively content that many of my aims from my election address have been achieved, despite the challenges.  I am particularly delighted that we are increasing the diversity of our Court of Wardens and that we are welcoming some wonderful new Members onto Court to complement the skills and experience of those continuing in office.  The Leadership of our Company is even more important at this time and there is always more to do in increasing and engaging our Members and in reaching out into the sector.  
Thank you to all in the Clerk’s office, on the Court of Wardens, the Court of Assistants and to all Members who have been active in so many ways during the last year and who have made this Company such a joy of which to be Master.  I wish every success to those who follow.
Keep safe, be kind
Best regards
Master 2019-2020

Election Results

A quick recap of the election results recently notified by our clerk: :

  • First Warden John Pulford was elected Master for our livery year 2020/21
  • Second Warden Steve Cant was elected First Warden for 2020/21
  • Third Warden Bob Harris was elected Second Warden for 2020/21 
  • Assistant Kanan Barot was elected Third Warden for 2020/21 
  • Assistant Nanette Young was elected Fourth Warden for 2020/21 
  • Assistant Simon Engwell was re-elected Court Assitant for a second three year period 2020/23
  • PM David Peregrine-Jones having completed his term as a Past Master, was elected Court Assistant for a three year period 2020/23
  • Liverymen Nick Bush, Ron Cruickshank, Sue Ells and Andy Miles were elected Court Assistants for the three year period 2020/23

Each name above is also a link to that person's election address PDF document.


Events Committee Chair Bob Harris Reports:

We’re now getting back into the swing of virtual events after our summer break. Thursday 24th September saw the third edition of our series on “The Most Interesting Project I Ever Did”.  Around 20 people joined us for two engaging and entertaining presentations. First Dennis Ciborowski talked us through a major project with the London Underground which involved a team of consultants and 100 of the Underground’s best and brightest people to undertake a range of projects identifying opportunities for delivering greater value. Steve Cant told us about a project at the Natural History Museum which, although intended to be an eCommerce project, actually delivered significant value for the museum by bringing together different elements of the museum who saw their roles very differently, all using a well-established management technique: Michael Porter’s Value Chain.


There was a lively and engaging discussion afterwards, a key message from which was “it’s great to be reminded about the basics”.  It feels a while ago now but we should record here that the second in this series took place in July when Karol Szlichcinski discussed: "Consultant in a conflict zone" and Andy Miles described how “David saved Goliath …… from the regulator and himself”.   Two engaging and entertaining events. A benchmark has been well and truly set and we look forward to a solid future programme which currently looks like this: 

Our next event will be Virtual Shoptalk on Wednesday 7th October – available for booking here - at which David Trafford and Sarah Vickers will introduce themselves and their current consulting work.

Breaking News.... Herbert Berger's Dining Club.  Our Clerk has made me aware of a decent looking lunch opportunity in the City next month at the intimate Innholders' Hall. More info here.

Pro Bono Round Up

Our work for YBI has continued with the completion of two further financial due diligence reviews of organisations in Lebanon and Malaysia who are now working with YBI with the support of grant funding from Google.  The separate long-running programme of accreditation assessments of YBI Member Organisations around the globe has become entirely virtual as in-country visits are not possible in the current circumstances.  The initial wave of these virtual reviews has been successful in Peru and Serbia but less successful in a third country, as undertaking such work remotely has proved challenging with the lack of face to face interaction proving to be something of a limitation.  With a real visit there is always the imperative on the local charity to get things organised, to have the right paperwork in place and generally be prepared.  Despite these limitations, our assessors still play a valuable role in driving up quality and reducing risk in the global YBI Network.

Elsewhere Patrick Chapman is leading a major project with The Age of No Retirement and their Common Room project, work that is also being supported with a phased grant from our Charitable Fund. This reached the end of the first of three phases of their work and a comprehensive report on their activities was independently reviewed by IPM John Corneille.  This resulted in the second phase grant of £4,500 being made.  The aim of this work is to extend the number of active Common Rooms from the first two pilots in Islington and Waltham Forest across London and beyond. Patrick has contacted our whole membership to get their involvement in helping with any contacts to Local Authorities (London and broader). 

Requests for mentoring support have flowed in steadily during the period. Nanette Young and David Glassman have matched relevantly-experienced mentors in an expanding range of sectors that now stretches from organised religion and education to the welfare of immigrants and community action. Our relationship with ACEVO remains strong as we continue to provide mentors for its CEO members. Remote mentoring via e-platforms has made life simpler for both clients and mentors, with both acquiring the techniques required in today’s circumstances.

Steve Cant has concluded his assignment with the Tutu Foundation UK but continues to support Art History Linkup and indeed has recently become a Trustee and Treasurer there, despite doing everything remotely.  These things can happen because of pro bono assignments - ask Patrick about Girlguiding Wales!

Steve Mayhew is working with Cards for Good Causes – helping them prepare for their main season – Christmas.  This charity, formed 60 years ago, operates through around 300 outlets each year and represents over 250 Charities helping them raise vital funds, mostly from Christmas cards.  Steve is helping them with their strategy, which has been materially affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, particularly affecting the balance between bricks and clicks.

Bob Harris’ work with the Jack Petchey Foundation is complete and is reported separately.

Pro Bono Case Study - Jack Petchey Foundation

The Jack Petchey Foundation ( was set up by Sir Jack Petchey CBE to inspire and celebrate young people. Since 1999, over £133 million has been invested in programmes to benefit young people aged 11-25 across London and Essex.  It has achieved wide recognition for its extensive range of programmes and support to inspire and motivate young people and to celebrate their achievements. Following previous successful mentoring support a decade ago from Liveryman Gareth Rees, the JPF Chief Executive Trudy Kilcullen approached WCoMC for further support – this time to help address succession planning in the Board and Executive Team in the context of a strategic refresh of the organisation.  Third Warden Bob Harris was assigned to the role and had an initial meeting with Trudy where she outlined the issues and challenges that needed to be addressed.  A first step was to gain the confidence of the Chair of the Board of Directors: the Petchey Businesses and the Jack Petchey Foundation rarely used “city advisors” and had a natural aversion to paying “management consultants”.  Fortunately, Bob was able to explain that he was born in Hackney, brought up in Haringey, and had played football on Hackney Marshes where the Board Chair had also played.  The relationship was sealed when Bob noted that during a previous WCoMC pro-bono assignment in 2013 for Onside Youth Zones, we had recommended an approach to the Jack Petchey Foundation – which had led to JPF investing over £1.5m into the recently opened Barking & Dagenham Youth Zone.  

The assignment for JPF was unusual in three respects.  First, nearly all the Directors (aka Trustees) of the Foundation were very long-serving and had worked with Sir Jack in his various businesses and/or were members of his family.  Secondly, the Foundation continued to share offices with the HQ of the Petchey Businesses and received all of their funds from retained profits from these businesses.  Thirdly, a number of the twenty or so staff in the Foundation were also long-serving and had prior work experience in the Petchey Businesses.  So - as well as bringing new ideas, new trustees and new staff - succession planning had to address how links with the Petchey Family and the philanthropic ethos established by Sir Jack could be maintained, how continued links with the Petchey Businesses could be strengthened and how the financial sustainability of the Foundation could be secured.

As well as the normal range of interviews with all trustees and senior members of the executive team (some in person but others via Zoom as Covid-19 hit), it also required some delving into the intricacies of holding companies and trust funds in offshore locations.  This threw up a further personal linkage, when it transpired that the solicitor who helped set up these arrangements in the 1960s played in the same football team as Bob at university and they both have grandchildren at the same school in East London.  Bob presented the conclusions from the review to the JPF Board meeting at the end of May, and implementation of his proposals are now being taken forward.  As a mark of appreciation for the support provided, the JPF Board offered a donation of £5,000 to WCoMC – which was gratefully received and is now held in a restricted reserve to provide support to future work in the third sector.

Review of the Charitable Fund

We have previously reported on progress with this Review which is now, after a summer break, nearing completion. During its work, the Review Team (Geoff Berridge & Steve Cant) found:

  • A committed team of Trustees
  • A well-managed investment fund delivering reasonable returns
  • The high-level grant assessment criteria are adequate
  • A good track record in grant making, especially to long term beneficiaries
  • A solid history of significant achievement both in helping to establish the Company and its reputation and also in the creation of the Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness and
  • A sound basis for the Fund’s continued existence as an important adjunct to the Company’s mainstream activities.

Against this, the Review Team found that over the past decade there has been a decline in its activity and its active support by members.  In the same time frame there have been changes in the charity sector with growing emphasis across the sector on outcomes and impact; trends which have not necessarily been followed by the Charity.   Many members are simply unaware of this legacy to the point where, today, many members know little of the fund, what it does with its funds and the impact it achieves.   This all points to a range of communications challenges going forward.  The team also identified several other areas for improvement, including: the governance structures, fund administration, the process and mechanism for grant assessments. Action planning will follow.

Get To Know Kanan Barot

As a language graduate my plan to go into sales and marketing was scuppered by a Barclays’ milk-round presentation offering free wine and sandwiches – what self-respecting student could resist that? Impressed by their graduate scheme, I applied and became a financial services specialist. A few years of commercial and investment banking later my French landed me in a project team in Paris, where I realised that being bossy and organising, with an eye for detail and a love of talking to people made me an ideal fit for the world of project management. In the 20+ years since, I have continued to build my business transformation and change management delivery skills, and still love what I do. I’ve been an independent consultant for several years now, working across a range of financial services organisations including banks, exchanges, software vendors, and investment managers, most recently setting up a Centre of Excellence for robotic automation.

I joined the Company in 2012 to gain a structured way of engaging in pro-bono activity and, just as project management gave me my role in life, so I felt that WCoMC gave me my tribe in life: people who make my brain fizz, because we’re all different and yet very similar. I took Livery, and later joined both Court and the Membership Committee, in 2015. I took over as Chair of the latter in 2018. In my eight years in the Company I have enjoyed many events, undertaken an incredibly rewarding mentoring assignment, and facilitated strategy planning and governance in some great organisations. I was thrilled when ‘my’ team won the Sheriff's Challenge a couple of years ago and it’s this opportunity to use my skills to help others and actually see the results that makes membership of the Company so worthwhile and rewarding. As Chair of the Membership Committee, I’m lucky to work with several fabulous people, using our skills for the Company’s benefit, planning effective member engagement, and attracting new members and smoothing the joining process. We are also keen to increase our diversity and expand our potential membership base, bringing the many benefits of being a member of our great Company to a wider audience, as well as ensuring the Company itself can continue to grow and deliver the immense value we bring to our pro-bono partners.
Outside Company activity, and my day job in transformation, I am – thanks to a Company mentoring assignment - a Trustee for a charity which works to help young children from disadvantaged backgrounds learn to read and has given many of them the opportunity to make a success of their lives. Education is dear to my heart and I am closely involved in City University where I am both a part-time Visiting Lecturer at the Business School and a student undertaking a Master’s degree in Academic Practice. In my spare time I love acting, and have been a member of a local theatre company in Balham since the early 1990s.

Branded Merch!

During August, (a month usually notoriously short of serious news content) and with not much going on a conversation went on amongst the Wardens about WCoMC branded face masks, ties, scarves, and suchlike. Treasurer Chris Sutton supported the notion of branded face masks, as you can see, but there was not much wider support for this idea. (I can’t think why!)  In fact the face screen was on display and much admired by members who were at our Annual Church Service!

Chris is also keen on the idea of ordering some new branded company ties and has received a quote a new supply. For the ladies, scarves seemed to be somewhat passé, while brooches seem to be reserved for more ceremonial purposes.   

There is a serious point to all this and that is to test demand. So, gentlemen readers, would you be interested in buying a WCoMC tie retailing at about £30?  (They would be the old-style ones with multiple crests, rather than the newer one with the big single crest).  And ladies what would you be interested in in terms of branded merchandise – if anything? Perhaps a handbag-sized brolly with the Company crest?
Answers to me please and we’ll report back in due course.  Me?  I’m sticking to my ZZTOP face mask.

The next issue of the Newsletter will be in mid November. 

And Finally .... More on Wisdom....

Thanks to all those who contributed and thank you for reading this far. Stay safe.

Steve Cant


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).