Informal Drinks in the City 21 May:  Meet with us at the Golden Fleece
CMCE Virtual Workshop (3rd of 5) 23 May:  Next Gen2.0: Risky Business
Education Supper at Bakers' Hall 19 June:  AI's Role in Higher Education
Click here for our rolling calendar or here for City events

NL February 2021


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.

WCoMC News







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Newsletter Editor:

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Issue 71:  Feb 2021


















































































































































Editor's apology: Sorry about the poor vertical alignment of images in this column.  It's a problem that is is endemic in HTML emails when rendered by Microsoft/AppleMail/ etc.  They all work quite differently.  So it's not my fault and it's not for want of trying! 

Our Master's Voice

January seems to have been a particularly busy month, with a virtual event held every week, a special request from the Lord Mayor for a nomination, (all of which you can read more about below), and some of us getting our Covid-19 Vaccines.
We are continuing to plan a varied programme of virtual events for the next few months, while beginning to consider the prospects of face-to-face events when the rules permit. With the Covid-19 numbers finally moving in the right direction (at the time of writing) we can hold out some hope of once again meeting with colleagues later in the year. 
The Lord Mayor’s request relates to those individuals who have responded to the Covid-19 crisis by providing support to those in need and this has highlighted something that we already knew - that many of our Members are involved with charities as trustees. I hope to be able to highlight in future issues of the Newsletter some examples of this involvement, which is over and above our Pro Bono activities, but nevertheless represents significant personal investment by those that volunteer as trustees.    

Lord Mayor's COVID-19 Livery Awards

Back in December, the Lord Mayor invited each Livery Company to recommend one person – a member or employee of the Company – to be recognised for the contribution they have made in 2020 in support of the City and communities impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.  Companies were encouraged to identify someone who merits recognition for what they have done during 2020 to address or mitigate the challenges provoked by the pandemic. 
In response, the Master initiated a search for information about our Members’ personal involvement in what has been done over the last year to address, or mitigate those challenges.   There were a lot of responses and as a result we have been able to build a picture of the very wide range of work that has been undertaken by Members of the Company. Members have been active in their local communities both in their immediate neighbourhoods and on a wider scale, and in their work for local, regional, national and international charities. Some of this has been through direct involvement and some through Pro Bono consulting and the provision of grants from our Charitable Fund. Overall, we should be immensely proud of what has been achieved. There is not enough room here to list everything or everyone, but this short report summarises the wide range of work.
The Court of Wardens then had the task of making an 'apples and pears comparison' of the many and varied submissions. After lengthy consideration and discussion we decided that we should nominate someone who had not only done a great deal personally, but who would also share the Award as a representative and torch bearer for the whole Company. We therefore nominated Denise Fellows - Immediate Past Master and our leader for most of 2020 - and the nomination has been accepted by the Lord Mayor’s Office.   You can read the citation from the Court of Wardens here

Calling All Freemen

Are you aware that as a Freeman of the Company, you are entitled to apply for your Freedom of the City of London and then become a Liveryman within the Company?  That’s the progression route to the Court of Assistants and beyond, so why not take this rare opportunity to celebrate your Freedom and be clothed in your Livery.  Freedom ceremonies are virtual at present but remain enjoyable and memorable occasions. 

For further information, contact Fourth Warden Nanette Young at

Recent events

CMCE Director Nick Bush on: The Land of the Black Swan

Looking at disasters and planet-threatening events might not seem like the most optimistic way to kick off 2021 events but our January CMCE Showcase event proved to be surprisingly cheerful.

It seemed appropriate to see if lessons could be drawn from the COVID-19 pandemic but the first speaker, Dr Simon Beard from the Cambridge University Centre for the Study of Existential Risk, put paid to the notion that the pandemic could be considered a black swan event (so called as all swans were originally thought to be white and therefore a black one should not exist) as it had regularly featured in scenario planning exercises for some years. 

Preparedness was thus the real issue and this theme was picked up by Simon’s colleague Dr Lara Mani who gave a compelling account of her time on the volcanic island of St Vincent, running an effective communication campaign to ensure that islanders were aware of and prepared for an eruption. She emphasised the importance of transparency, accessibility and trust – something that could have been improved in early pandemic communication.

Former Met Police Borough Commander Guy Ferguson brought the topic closer to home with his first-hand experience of the Ladbroke Grove rail crash in 1999. He was able to translate the learning from that experience into a handy checklist of lessons learnt that started with the admirable advice: “don’t panic”.

With searching questions and discussion following the main presentations and some very positive feedback afterwards this event has set the bar high for the rest of 2021. (Next event “How to be an Excellent Client” on 23rd March - book here).

My most interesting project whatever 

Your editor introduced Session 5 of this on-going series of virtual events and explained that the scope was being broadened to include not just projects, but clients, methodologies, lifechanging experiences … “whatever”.   So if you have subject that you think would make an interesting and engaging event, and can support a 30-minute talk with some good visuals, do please volunteer by contacting me or 2W Bob Harris.  

Sue Ells gave a thoroughly entertaining talk about her “Mission Impossible” at BT:  forging a change programme without a mandate, a team or any budget.  Her talk featured a musical introduction and included a powerful video clip.  Ron Cruickshank explained the background to, and application of, what he calls his 3P framework.  (Ed – it’s framework of frameworks, and I’m a sucker for frameworks).

Ron’s contribution to technology innovation was that he appeared as a floating head superimposed over his PowerPoints slides -  sorry no screen grab of that so just a now traditional Zoom group shot: 

The next MMI..W session will be on 17th Feb –  that's NEXT WEEK so book here now 

YBI Showcase – Bob Harris reports

This year we were unable to hold our traditional Charities Supper which had been booked for 20th January in Skinners Hall, so we decided to use the evening to present and celebrate our Pro Bono support to Youth Business International over the last decade.  This first Pro Bono Showcase was well attended and after an introduction by 2W Bob Harris - our principal link with YBI for the past six years - no fewer than five other Company Members described their experiences in undertaking management reviews (known as “accreditation” in YBI speak) in several of the more than 50 countries that we have visited over this period.
Jeff Herman and Chris Sutton talked about the great work being done by the YBI Affiliate Organisations in Bhutan, Armenia and Nigeria – and described some of the innovative businesses which had been set up by young entrepreneurs. Karol Szlichcinski and John Pulford then described how major financial fraud was discovered in an errant YBI Affiliate – now no longer with the YBI Network.  Our new YBI link John Corneille then looked to the future and the challenges of undertaking management reviews of organisations around the globe via Zoom. The presentation was followed by a wide range of questions and discussion, and Jo Mann was sufficiently interested to volunteer on the spot as another assessor to join the list of 30 Members who have so far provided pro bono support to YBI.  The presentation slides can be found here.

Faith Group – 3rd Feb – John Watson reports:

Some 25 participants joined this event, mainly from the Company but also including several guests.  Two speakers presented interesting, thoughtful, and insightful reflections on climate warming, as follows:

Jyoti Banerjee of North Star Transition (NST) emphasised the inter-connectedness of this issue on a global scale and suggested that only a comprehensive, inclusive, and systemic approach to tackling the hugely challenging goal of containing climate heating would achieve targeted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  He cited the NST’s work on its Wales Transition Lab as an example of how the many actors responsible for policy decisions in food, health and nature reacted in quite disconnected ways, often passing the problem on to the others. To achieve sustainable impacts, stakeholders must work together in an integrated way.
Caroline Pomeroy of Climate Stewards described faith community initiatives addressing climate change, focussing on Christian churches.  After Covid-19, the impact of the recession would need to be faced, then the bigger challenges of climate change and biodiversity collapse.  Recognising the impact that faith-based communities can have, the mission of the UN Environment Programme “Faith for Earth Initiative” is “to encourage, empower and engage with faith-based organisations as partners, at all levels, toward achieving the SDGs.”  The UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow (COP26: 1-12 November 2021) has a critical role to play.”
I have had very encouraging feedback about the event.  There could well be some follow up from the talks, both by the Company and in some smaller groups.

Virtual Wine Tasting – Margaret River - 5th Feb

The Wine Club hosted this virtual event – the sixth in their series of Lockdown Soirees which have become increasingly popular with Members and their families, striking a practical balance between intense aficionados’ appraisals and raucous misbehaviour! The key has been the focus on matching wines to both snacks and typical dinner food – with the aim of ensuring each evening is both informative and fun. Certainly the feedback has been very positive.

This most recent tasting was comparing wines from one of the oldest vineyards in Western Australia (c1973) – Moss Wood – to their traditional old-world counterparts from the Graves and Médoc regions in France (c1700s).  Although there were some supply problems (Waitrose stock levels being low) most people – and there were some 50 on the Zoom call – were able to get bottles of the recommended Moss Wood wines.  Everyone agreed they were stunning and good value for money, particularly in relation to their Old-World comparators.  In addition it was clear that New World wines are produced for drinking whereas Old World wines are produced for laying down.  Our thanks go to Patrick and Ann Chapman, together with Patrick McHugh and John Blackburn.   One wonders what they’ll dream up next!?

Future events - What’s in the Calendar?

My Most Interesting…whatever #6 – 17th February.
The next edition of this series, in which Members talk about an interesting and challenging project, client, methodology, lifechanging experience or ... "whatever". It is open to Company Members and their guests.
The first Western-style Business School in China 
Bob & Sally Garratt will take us back to 1982 when, as two youngish Brits with no institutional base, they were asked by the Communist Party of China to create that country's first MBA programme.  Along the way they will discuss how they convinced a Confucian-orientated society to base the MBA programme on Action Learning.  They will also reveal some unexpected challenges that they faced on the way.
Outsourcing CSR - volunteering with B1G1
Leonard Specterman will then describe his experiences with B1G1 (Buy one, Give one) which is the global giving movement helping businesses around the world to give back in meaningful ways. Imagine being able to say to your customers: "every time you do business with us, something great happens to impact lives".  It's all about integrating giving into business operations, and it really is global in reach and aspiration.

Join us for what promises to be an unusual and intriguing session.  As usual, there is no charge but please register here so that you receive the login details. 

Pro Bono Showcase – Teamwork on ProBono assignments 
The second in our series about our Pro Bono work will be on 23rd February, this time focusing on some of our larger assignments. Our Pro Bono support to the NonProfit Sector has developed steadily over the last few years. We now have a broader mix of assignments, all with demonstrable positive social impact covering a range of client needs and consulting skills.  The consequence has been the emergence of opportunities where we need to mobilise a team rather than an individual volunteer.

The evening's discussions will be started by Cosette Reczek and Ian White who have been working together, with the support of John Corneille, on a project for an environmental and educational charity, assessing their organisational strengths and weaknesses, and recommending actions for improvement.  Following that, Bob Harris and Patrick Chapman will reflect on their work with an international membership charity that needed help in facilitating their strategic review which involved representatives from around the globe.

The evening will then move on to an open discussion on experiences and thoughts on how best, as volunteers, we can conduct such assignments and build our knowledge and learning for the benefit of the Sector and fellow Members.   Please register here so that you receive the login details. 

Shoptalk - 3rd March 2021

This is the latest virtual Shoptalk where new Members introduce themselves and will feature Peter Johnson and Kevin Hughes.

Peter joined the Company last July at our first ever virtual admission ceremony and Kevin was admitted in November. They will start the evening by talking about their experience and current interests in management consulting:

Peter Johnson has been a freelance consultant for over 20 years following both line management and internal consultancy roles in a FTSE100 company. His current interests blend soft and hard skills in unleashing the potential of people, teams and businesses to leave lasting positive change. These interests include the use of behavioural psychology and developing focus in business by facilitating the creation of abstract art.  Peter has also been Chair and Trustee of several charities and has undertaken Pro Bono work for several other charities. He is a Chartered Manager and a Chartered Management Consultant.

Kevin Hughes spent 18 years working in retail and investment banking, in both operational and strategic roles.  From 2012, he was a Business Analyst and Project Manager in the investment banking sector.  More recently, he has been working as a consultant in the charity and not-for-profit sector with strategic and IT change assignments comprising most of his work.  He is currently based in Ireland.

Join our video conference and listen to what Peter and Kevin have to say, then join in a facilitated discussion of ideas and opportunities amongst participants. These are always fun evenings and provide a great opportunity to learn more about some of your Company colleagues.

CMCE Showcase: "How to be an Excellent Client” - 23rd March. 

More details nearer the time but you can already book here. 

Membership Survey

While the membership survey was completed in December 2020, analysis of the results has been somewhat delayed during January by illness, adverse weather and other distractions.  There will be a fuller report in the next edition of the newsletter but before that the findings of the survey need to be discussed with the Wardens, the Membership Committee, and the Events Committee prior to reaching any firm conclusions and recommendations. Having said that, we will keep going with virtual events until real world events are viable, and we have already acted in some areas – charging for events.  The main findings can be summarised as follows: 

Demystifying Social Finance

Four years ago Freeman Mark Salway was working as the Director of Social Finance at the (Cass) Centre for Charity Effectiveness when he asked the Company for practical help and the Charitable Fund for seed funding. He got both and now after 4 years of hard work his book has finally been launched. 
As Mark says: “I thought I would never get there! This wouldn’t have been possible without you and your seed funding, and so thank you for believing in me.  I really hope that this will make a difference to the sector.”
In October 2016 we ran a Pro Bono workshop on the subject with Mark hosting and we plan to organise a virtual event later this year to celebrate the publication of Mark’s book, as part of our “My Most Interesting” series.   

More information about Mark’s book here.

Review of the Charitable Fund

We have been reporting here on progress with the Review of the Charitable Fund, where work has now entered the implementation stage. There will be no further reports here because we have already launched a separate quarterly newsletter that is focused on philanthropy – (Get to Know Philanthropy) as we hope you will have seen. The next issue of that newsletter will include inter alia a case study about “The Common Room” – a recent beneficiary - and a short history of the Fund with a link to a more comprehensive history produced by PM Alan Broomhead.

Get to Know our Treasurer - Chris Sutton

Chris joined us in 2017 and is currently in this third year as Court Assistant and Treasurer.  Perhaps his biggest achievement as WCoMC Treasurer has been to sort our wine accounting but he has also saved YOU £60 per year on Quarterage - an achievement of which he is justifiably proud.  Chris is active on a number of fronts within the Company and CMCE and you can read more about him here

Trustees on the Frontline

Many Members act as Trustees to a wide variety of organisations. They have seen the needs of the organisations they support grow in response to the demands of the pandemic.  Some of the organisations that benefit from our members efforts include Girlguiding (we have a Member who is Trustee and another is a Deputy Region Chief Commissioner), the children's charity Coram, Creative Kernow – an arts hub, the Honorary Treasurers’ Forum   …. There are many others, and we hope to feature them in future editions of the Newsletter. Here we give a brief insight into where two Members are providing invaluable support.

Creative Kernow

In April 2020 Master John Pulford reported that lockdown had not lessened work for charity trustees. One of the challenges facing Creative Kernow, of which he is the Chairman, was the £2m development of a further 21 studios in their Krowji creative hub, which was already providing affordable rented space for over 200 people. Early December saw the opening of the new space by Sir Nicholas Serota, Chairman of the Arts Council, who is seen in this photograph with Master John and Dr Fiona Wotton, Chief Executive of Creative Kernow.

Fourteen of the new spaces have already been let. One of the new arrivals is a tapestry maker from London, who was attracted by the community of artists at Krowji. 

A more recent bit of excitement for Master John was having to deal with squatters in one of the properties owned by the Davenant Centre in London’s Whitechapel, of which he is the Chairman. After some weeks of gathering evidence from tenants in their other buildings and from families in local housing, the Police were persuaded to get a warrant. A late night raid saw the squatters arrested for running a cannabis cafe and the seizure of a considerable quantity of what the Police described as cannabis paraphernalia. Who said trusteeship can be boring?

Coram and The Hampstead Wells & Campden Trust
Geoff Berridge has been involved in a couple of charity activities related to the covid pandemic. The first is the children's charity, Coram, where Geoff is a Trustee and Treasurer. The pandemic caused a £1.8m hole in the Charity's finances. Corporate fundraising ceased, conference bookings dried up and initiatives in schools stopped for a large part of the year.  He worked with the Senior Management Team and Trustees to secure other income, make structural changes and cost savings. Coram now have a balanced budget for 2020/21 and 2021/22.  The second is a grant making charity, the Hampstead Wells & Campden Trust, where Geoff is Chair of the Board. Typically the charity makes grants of £400k per annum and its prime objective is the relief of poverty. In March of last year it put aside £100k to be given to organisations and individuals affected by the pandemic. It also changed its method of making grant payments so that beneficiaries received help within a day of a decision being made. The Charity works with partner organisations to prevent hardship as well as mitigating it. An example: funding a Citizens Advice programme to help people get out of debt.
Ed – Please contact me if you can provide further examples based on your own experiences as a Trustee. 

And Finally...

I’m sure we all hope that getting a Covid jab is not the most memorable event in 2021.

Thanks for reading this far….and thanks to all who contibuted to this issue.  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).