Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Warmth, generosity and hard work

Under the beautiful hanging candelabrums lit with hundreds of real candles, Goldsmiths’ Hall looked magnificent.   With 230 Members and guests, we sat down for the Installation Banquet that followed the Ceremonial Court on Thursday 22nd January.   At the Court I had been installed as Master by IPM Michael Harrison and received The Master’s Blessing from the newly installed Chaplain, the Reverend Canon Dr Alyson Joyce, Rector of St Bride’s.   

Looking around me, I realised the full importance of the year ahead but with the support of Wardens, Livery and Freemen as well as the great efforts of the Learned Clerk John Hammond and his Assistant Clerk Doreen Blythe, I appreciated what a thriving Company we are.

Liveryman Dame Dianne Thompson gave an excellent speech; Diane built Camelot to a £7bn turnover business with her three rules for successful marketing – understand how your products fit into the consumer’s lives and what they expect from them, build integrity into everything you do, and never stop innovating!

I was also delighted to announce the Marketor’s Harvard Business Bursary worth over £50k to the winner. This valuable and generous gift by Professor Martyn Davies gives one of our Members a life changing opportunity.

We were shared the truly grand evening with a large number of VIPs including:

o   Two Great Twelve Masters (The Prime Warden of the Goldsmiths Company and the Master Merchant Taylor) plus the Master Patten Maker, Upholder and World Trader.
o   Directors General of the Advertising Association, The CIM, The Marketing Society and the President of the 30 Club
o   New Hon Colonel of 151, the Commander of HMS St Alban’s (Who had flown in specially from the ship)

The week before, I attended the Communications and PR Meeting.  It was all change there with Andrew Cross chairing and the onboarding of the new PR agency, Whiteoaks.  With all this in hand, it is a really good start to the year with improvements to the web site, improved electronic communications and a good deal of publicity in our trade press for the Company.

The following week (26th January) I was stuck in New York in blizzard conditions so couldn’t open the seminar on the proposed EU Data Protection Regulation at Cass Business School.   This was organized by the Marketing and Law Committee and chaired by Liveryman Ardi Kolah with the Financial Services Forum.  The Senior Warden kindly replaced me.  Over 100 people attended and there has been fantastic feedback. This is a sound example of how the Company can work with the City’s financial community.

The first week in February was a busy one.  On Monday 2nd, the City of London Guides Lecture was held at the 12th century Temple Church built by the Knights Templar, and given by the Reverend and Valiant Master of the Temple the Rev Robin Griffith-Jones.  A funny and hugely entertaining speaker who talked about the Temple’s role in the Magna Carta, holding King John’s treasure and the granting of the Charter of London. I enjoyed this veritable ‘tour de force’.

The next day, I headed to the Heritage Committee. CA David William’s has already produced an excellent brief history of the Company ready for our 40th Anniversary in April. The new team has a full and challenging agenda ahead with an exciting series of projects to progress.

That evening it was the Masters and Clerks Annual Dinner at Stationers’ Hall. The Master, Ian Locks is an old friend so it was a delight to sit on his table.   It was also interesting to sit with several Masters and compare notes.   Ian Locks and the Master Mercer gave very enjoyable speeches. I  have agreed to meet up with the Master Information Technologist to talk about how we can work together more closely.

On 4th February we had the Master and Wardens’ meeting.  Again a full agenda,  covering Finance and General Purposes Committee issues, the confirmation of the Company Diary, administrative matters, Aim Reports and a plethora of operational issues. This Committee lies at the heart of the running of our Company.

On the weekend of 14th I headed up to Lincoln with CA Edward Fulbrook make sure all arrangements are in hand for our Company’s visit on the first weekend in May.   As you all know it is the 800 anniversary of the Magna Carta and our carefully planning should mean a fun and informative weekend.  Already we have almost 50 people attending all or part of the weekend.

The 11th Shrove Tuesday Pancake Race took place on 17th; this is organised by the Poulters at Guildhall Yard and involves a great deal of dressing up and laughter.   Unfortunately, severe tendonitis kept me out of the running but the Middle Warden ably replaced me.  The team of Keith Rowland, Adele Thorpe and Simone Davies ably supported her.   This fun morning in glorious Spring sunshine was followed by a hearty buffet lunch in the Guildhall Crypt.

That evening, we held a briefing for all the Committee Chairmen at Plaisterers’ Hall.

 The next day (18th) CA Michael Bedingfield held his first meeting of the Events Committee at Guildhall.  And it looks a full and varied programme for the year.

On Friday 20th, the Immediate Past Master and I met to agree the ambitions and scope for the Aim 1 Committee.  The Learned Clerk and I also visited Stationer’s Hall to start preparations for the Spring Lunch on 23rd April. It will be rather special.

The next week was just as busy with dinner with the Wardens on 24th then a meeting of the Trustees of Marketors’ Trust on 25th followed by our Business Court.    This was a full agenda covering the approval of the 2014 accounts to go to audit, approval of new Court Assistants, promotions to Liveryman and joining Freemen.

The World Traders’ Tacitus Lecture held at Guildhall on 26th.  - this is one of the highlights of the City calendar and attended by some 800 guests.    

Baroness Scotland’s lecture entitled ‘Do we need the City’.   Fortunately it was agreed that we do indeed need the City as ‘it is the engine that powers the real economy’, but that traders need to rediscover the need to ‘understand the value and purpose of the product to the client’ and ‘to undertake understandable risks with honestly and in good faith’ if trust in the City is to be restored.

I wonder if the Baroness is a secret Marketor? I had the honor to attend a small private dinner with the Lecturer afterwards.

Throughout the month I have been impressed by the extraordinary work being undertaken by the Almoners. They undertake their work with great care, in confidence and with no thought for personal recognition. We are fortunate indeed to have such a group of dedicated people in our midst.

The appointment of Whiteoaks as our PR agency has been a great success. We have had more coverage in the past month than the total in any previous full year. Coverage was achieved in all the right titles and web sites for my installation as Master, the Harvard Bursary, the Data Regulation Seminar and the Top Ten Tips to help deal with the problems arising from them written by Liveryman Ardi Kolah, for the Senior Warden discussing mergers and acquisitions in the new economy, and for an article by me on the Top Three Things marketing directors should concentrate on in 2015. We need lots more interesting ideas please.

The month ended with the sad news that the beautiful and delightful Shirley Hooper, beloved wife of CA John Hooper, Chairman of the Marketors’ Trust departed this life peacefully on the 27th. I know we all wish to express our sincere condolences to John and their family.

Andrew Marsden


Friday, 11 April 2014

Week Four – Monday 10 February – Sunday 16 February

Business meetings took up much of my time this week although I did represent the WCM at the Royal British Legion Reception at Glaziers’ Hall. I offered them assistance in planning their future Marketing department and approach if they required it – right down to sitting in on their recruitment meeting (if they wished).

Also represented the WCM at the CIM Marketing Awards Dinner at Grosvenor House – a delightful and very full evening where many Awards were presented to very obviously delighted recipients. Used the opportunity to talk to a number of senior Marketers about potentially becoming Marketors!

Had a very pleasant lunch meeting with a Member who wanted to talk about his vision for the WCM and how he could be involved. Very happy to do this when my diary allows!

The week ended with my wife, Jeanne, celebrating an important birthday. Enough said.

Weeks 3 - Managing the Marketing - Monday 3 February – Sunday 9 February

Monday required me to go to our office in Plaisterers’ Hall for a meeting with the Clerk, then a session at Fishmongers’ Hall together with representatives of the Berkhamsted School Foundation regarding a charity dinner that I had suggested to both parties. Brief explanation – I had found that there are three Masters this year from Berkhamsted School (Master Musician, Sir Anthony Cleaver; Master Information Technologist, Michael Webster; and me) and therefore proposed that we should jointly organise a “livery style dinner”.

I then had a meeting to do with my own business, followed by a briefing for Masters attending the Ironbridge weekend (in June) at Insurers’ Hall.

Tuesday I had a session with Court Assistant Richard Christou on the events programme for the year (Richard had agreed to run the programme as Chairman of Events and is clearly extremely well organised, for which I am extremely grateful – I suspect that you will see those words again!).

Then to a black tie dinner at Stationers’ Hall (shown above), which was my first formal Dinner representing the WCM – a very pleasant occasion enjoyed by all.

Wednesday saw my first “Master and Wardens” meeting with me in the chair – these are held monthly and the intention is to spend ever more time on the future and strategic items and far less on the minutiae of the past. We will do our best! One special agenda item was a presentation by our current investment manager on how our investments are progressing, something that we will be reviewing more frequently.

Friday saw me at a black tie dinner – but this time at Berkhamsted School!

Week 2 - Up to Speed - Monday 27 January – Sunday 2 February

My first external appearance representing the WCM – although to be fair it was the AGM of the Chartered Institute of Marketing and therefore I was there in my own right. But I did ensure that people were made aware of the Livery and hopefully some will seek to join us.

Wednesday saw me interviewing potential new Freemen as part of a panel, followed by a session with the Learned Clerk and the Assistant Clerk.

Thursday I was at the Gresham Lecture given by the Lord Mayor at the Museum of London and later on I was with her again at Mansion House for the reception celebrating last year’s Lord Mayor’s Show and getting an early idea of the themes for this year (Andrew Marsden as Senior Warden came with me so that he could meet this year’s Lord Mayor and also the “most likely” candidate to become the next Lord Mayor!).

Friday I visited Skinners’ Hall with the Learned Clerk – to discuss holding the Spring Lunch there. I then went on my first “representative lunch” (together with the Clerk) at Cutlers’ Hall where my kind hosts were the Worshipful Company of Arbitrators.

I am beginning to realise just how many e-Mails are sent to the Master! Oh well.

Master Michael Harrison - 2014 Week One – Monday 20 January – Sunday 26 January

Preparations take far more time than you might think! Because a new gown had to be made (not just because I am very tall, the old one is looking rather tired) I had to collect it (this has been going on for some time). Then there are the rehearsals, the list of photographs to be approved, final seating plan agreed…..all very necessary.

The day before the Installation, I had a meeting on the website followed by an Armed Forces and Cadets Committee meeting – whilst the received advice was to relax on that day!

Thursday was a blur. One thing that struck me as funny was that at the Installation Court there was a slight pause – immediately after I had been “installed” and took my place at the lectern I read the words “the Master will now say…” and it took me just a moment to realise that this meant me!

Dinner was excellent – the food, wine and service all first class and our speaker, Terry Mansfield CBE (of Hearst Corporation fame) was equally so. In my response, I was able to emphasise my belief that the Master and Wardens must work as a team and that the entire Court is also a vitally important team. To emphasise that I was able to announce that (subject to the Court’s approval) the Master and Wardens had produced a four-year rolling plan to which we were all committed, rather than have four individual “stove-pipe” years.

And so the next year of the Worshipful Company begins – a good first day!

Thursday, 23 January 2014

The Last Post 23rd January 2014

Looking back on the many posts I've made in the past twelve months it has clearly been a busy year.

It is a great privilege to act as Master of a Livery Company with the opportunity to attend many interesting events and to meet many people, whilst representing the profession of marketing within the City of London.

I hope the blog serves to both inform and inspire any who are motivated to progress through a livery company to achieve the Mastership.

Tonight, at an Installation Court,  the Senior Warden progresses to the office of Master having been clothed in the gown and invested by me with the Chain and Badge, the insignia of the office as Master. I wish him every success.  

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Women in Manufacturing House of Commons Tuesday 21st January

“Smashing the Glass Ceiling”
Science,Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – the so called STEM disciplines – are key to the UK’s engineering and manufacturing capability and schools are under increasing pressure from government to facilitate and support their delivery within the curriculum, encouraging pupils into these important and challenging subjects.
Women in Manufacturing is an organisation that seeks particularly to attract and retain women to this key sector of the economy, encouraging diversity and increasing the UK talent pool by raising the number of women in industry at all levels.  It does this by urging both educators and employers to forge partnerships to mutual benefit.
As things stand fewer than 10% of STEM qualified managers are female.  Women complete only 1% of apprenticeships in construction, planning and the environment, 4% in manufacturing, 18% in ICT.    Indeed only 27.3% of manufacturing workers are female, the same level as in 1972.  Clearly there is a lot of work to do in redressing this imbalance.
With my long standing interest in promoting diversity Women in Manufacturing is therefore a topic close to my heart.  The organisation was formed by the Glass Academy working with the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers.  The aim is to attract a broader mix of skills, experience, views and ideas to the UK manufacturing sector to help address the impending UK manufacturing skills shortage and significant gender imbalance in the sector.
The Aim:
  • Inspiring more girls and young women to take up careers in manufacturing and engineering
  • Raising awareness of the numerous well paid, exciting and fulfilling career opportunities in the sector
  • Contributing to a cultural shift through education to eliminate gender stereotyping from the industry.
The well attended reception held in the Churchill Room within the House of Commons was to raise the profile of this new and worthy initiative and was full of faces known to me.  In many ways the need to engage with Industry, Government and Education was familiar ground for me from my years running the Industry and Parliament Trust – educating MPs and Peers about the continuing importance of maintaining a manufacturing industry back at a time when the City appeared far more seductive to most in achieving economic growth.
It was good to meet again with Alderman Andrew Parmley, now Master of the Glass Sellers, and as a Musician a driving force behind the City Livery concerts, now firmly re-established.  I was also delighted to also meet with a very dear friend and one-time neighbour Tony Thatcher, a member of the Glass Sellers and former Vice Chairman of Thyssen-Bornemisza.  Tony came to my Installation a year ago.
I do hope this initiative gathers momentum.  Manufacturing today is no longer the heavy work of yesteryear but more usually embraces innovation, precision,delicacy and design – all gifts possessed by the female half of the population.  My sense is that girl schools are still succeeding rather better at bringing girls into STEM subjects and this new organisation gives me ideas of where I might well decide to apply my business experience in coming months and years.