Friday, 30 April 2010
I encountered for the first time the concept of Lord Mayor Locum Tenens - this happens when the Lord Mayor is absent (in Romania, less than 24 hours after running in the London Marathon) and asks one of his predecessors (in this instance Alderman Sir John Stuttard) to stand in for him.
The Master, Adrian Waddingham, had just been elected Pensions Personality of the Year. As he said (from memory),
"I am slightly embarrassed that this has come to light in the presence of our professional institute who are guests this evening. They uphold the highest standards of integrity in the profession partly by eliminating all personality from actuarial calculations. So I am at risk of bringing the profession into disrepute!"
Interestingly, the Actuaries have just produced a list of values for their profession. (Reminder: Marketors' values are printed on the inside cover of our Members' Directory.)
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Why do Livery Companies support education through prizes and scholarships and the like?
"We water the seeds already planted knowing that they hold future promise....We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities."
You only have to look at the league tables of international financial centres to see that one of the top drivers of success is having a diverse population of skilled and experienced professionals from a wide range of service industries in one place. Such a population needs to be constantly supplied with new talent, qualified from the best professional institutions and universities. City University is one of those, focussing on business, law, engineering and mathematical sciences, journalism, informatics, music and social, community and health sciences. It has strong links with industry, an enviable record of placing graduates in good careers and an international culture.
In our small way, we are enablers of one of the critical success factors of the City of London.
Wednesday, 21 April 2010
Stars of the night for me were the Chinese violinist, Analiza Ching, whose virtuoso playing was enhanced by her wonderful engagement with the audience - all sparkling eyes, provocative dancing and commentary, as she played!
And Soprano, Melissa Alder, who has a glorious voice and again seemed to connect with us all.
The musical selection was mainly light opera and famous musical theatre hits, loved by all. At the end they even achieved some audience participation - never heard before in the hallowed portals of the Mercers' Hall!
Their accompanist, Toby Cruse, was also outstanding.
For more details or performing opportunities contact Musical Rendezvous through David Owen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Analiza has her own website www.analizaching.com
Monday, 12 April 2010
It was a hot sunny afternoon and our party shared the garden at a hotel with a wedding. This created a great photo opportunity when the returning soldiers, all in their desert camouflage uniforms, seized the bride (gently!) and carried her for the cameras.
With their own CO, Lt Col Adrian Lee, currently serving in Afghanistan, the honours were done by Brigadier Sheen. He congratulated and thanked the soldiers and especially their families for their willingness to put the interests of the country and the international community ahead of their own. He also thanked the Marketors, both for sponsoring the tea, but more importantly for their encouragement to the Regiment. At a time when the support of the general public for the armed services cannot be taken for granted, it is important to them to know that we are thinking about them and supporting their work.
Frankly, anything that we provide is as nothing compared with what these people do. I am full of admiration for their professionalism, team spirit and cheerful willingness to serve.
Friday, 9 April 2010
Their current Master, Brian Porritt, seems to strike a good balance between tradition and evolution:
Last night they celebrated the career of a Liveryman of 65 years (standing ovation) and installed a lady, who has been the wife and mother of a dynasty of Past Masters, as a Companion of the Company in her own right.
The Master then spoke of the need for the Company to evolve, drawing comparisons with the Fan Makers (who now support industries such as ventilation) and the Horners (who support the plastics industry). For the Makers of Playing Cards, they want to find an appropriate way to engage with the modern online gaming business. Part of their charitable work is to use playing cards to carry messages about the risks of drug and alcohol addiction to young people who are hard to reach through conventional communications media. Imaginative stuff.