Wednesday, 26 January 2011

We are not alone.......

Here was I thinking that the Marketors were unique in publishing a Master's Blog and lo, by chance, I discover we are not alone. The Master Draper similarly runs a blog on their web site and happily gives Past Master Venetia the credit for being the first Master Blogger. See his blog on the link below and read not only the 'Welcome' opening paragraph but scroll down to see a super picture of Venetia.

Friday, 21 January 2011


Would I like to continue where Past Master Venetia left off, with the Master's Blog I was asked. Why not I thought until I realised how much skill and verve Venetia brought to the task. As a management report writer rather than a journalist it will be an interesting journey for me--and I hope you.

First up obviously was the Installation Dinner last night  and the Ceremonial Court beforehand. We admitted 2 new Liverymen and 4 new Freemen, as well as appointing John Flynn as Senior Warden, Sally Muggeridge as Middle Warden and Roddy Mullin as the Company's new Junior Warden. I congratulate all of them. There will be a full report in the next edition of Marketor but suffice it to say that the guest speaker Mark Price, M.D. of Waitrose, kept us all entertained and made us better informed about grocery retailing.

With my theme for the year being Innovation, I introduced an innovation in the form of a wine quiz, all proceeds going to our Charitable Trust and this raised £435. A good evening in all respects.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Last Post - 17th January 2011

On Thursday this week I shall have the privilege of installing Jim Surguy as the next Master Marketor. It has been a joy to be the warm-up act for someone whom I am sure will be one of the great Masters.

This year I have been blessed with a wonderful team - as Senior Warden, Jim has provided cheerful wise counsel and moral support. Middle Warden, John Flynn, and Junior Warden, Sally Muggeridge, have been a delight to work with and have also shared the joys of the 2010 highlights. Our Clerk, Adele Thorpe, has been a wonderful coach and guide to me in the ways of the City, as well as organising our Great Events and so much more.

My husband, Roger, has been a diamond.

The Court members, both Past Masters and Court Assistants, have been tremendously encouraging and I am indebted to the Chairmen of Committees and their members for all their hard work and creativity on behalf of the Marketors.

Here is some quantification of what I have taken part in during the year (who says marketers can't handle numbers?):

27 Marketors' events - Great Events, seminars and social

5 tasting lunches

39 internal meetings e.g. committees (and that's only a fraction of the number that took place, attended by others)

8 regular Master & Wardens' meetings + 2 specials

4 Business Court meetings and 4 Ceremonial Courts

81 livery events outside our own Marketors' events, sometimes 2 in one day, occasionally 3. Includes a small number for the Master's Consort, invited on his own to join another companies' Masters' Ladies' or Mistresses' events (and where he was always extremely popular!)

26 external business meetings such as the Financial Services Group and a project for the Lord Mayor.

129 posts on this blog

5 articles written for our quarterly magazine, MARKETOR

203 personal letters sent, 153 of them written by hand (with a fountain pen!)

450 Christmas cards sent

5 box files of memorabilia from our own and others events

3 evening dresses, shoes and handbags, 1 day suit, 2 hats bought.

1 Royal Charter received - definitely NOT 'all my own work'.

And those words sum it up. It has been a team effort: I have just been the person fortunate enough to enjoy the responsibilities and privileges of being the leader for a year. I look forward to the honourable estate of being a Past Master and to supporting our new Master, Jim Surguy, in his year. I shall be Vice-Chairman of the Marketors Think Tank and will continue to represent the company on the Financial Services Group.

On the personal business front, I have treated this year as a professional sabbatical, hard work but constantly learning. In the coming months I shall try to expand the small amount of consultancy work that I have been able to do in 2010, and to seek non-executive opportunities where I can apply my blue chip B2B marketing experience, particularly in the areas of corporate reputation risk management.

If you have been reading, thank you.

Small crisis in taxi - January 2011

Normally I use public transport to move around London. Even after a dinner in a full-length dress, you can happily hop on a bus back to Waterloo to catch the train home. (There is CCTV and I remove any jewellery and wear a long coat. There are a surprising number of City workers going home at 10.30 at night, not to mention other Masters, self-consciously covering up their black ties.)

Taxis are kept for the biggest occasions (pre-booked) or if it's raining. However, last week I was running late so caught a taxi from Waterloo to the livery hall venue. I planned to use the journey to change my shoes, put on the Master's badge, ensure I had the right things in my evening bag so that I could arrive in my right mind, drop coat, shoe bag and brolly at the cloakroom and float serenely into the event, even if the timing was tight.

I was just getting the badge out of its little soft travelling pouch when I found I was holding the neck ribbon in one hand and the badge and its clip in the other - the clip had worn through the stitching which attaches it to the ribbon. Drama! You cannot (without a lot of explanation) attend a livery event, representing your company without wearing your badge.

Plan B - a safety pin. Except that (scrabbling around every bag and pocket in the half-light) I didn't have one anywhere about my person - bad mistake.

Plan C - start thinking creatively. Happily I was wearing a gift from my mother earlier in the year, a necklace with a pendant. The pendant was detachable - yes, there was the answer! The Master's badge would just clip onto the necklace. And the picture shows the result. (Actually, lady Masters sometimes wear their badges on a personal chain so no-one commented, other than the Clerk, who liked the effect. But with a 5 oz weight on it, only an emergency solution.)

Today I have carefully stitched the clip back on to the ribbon and I hope it stays there firmly for many years.

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Ladies who lunch - Friday 14th January 2011

In my year as Master, there have been about 6 women Masters of their Livery Companies. I understand this is typical although, because the date of changing Masters varies so widely across the companies, the total is always a moving target.

On Friday 10 female members of the Masterhood (Masters, Past Masters, a Past Upper Bailiff [the Weavers' Company] and a Master-elect) met at the Lansdowne Club, courtesy of Helen Auty, Past Master Pattenmaker. Two I knew well, because our companies tend to be on the same 'circuit', but the others were all new, and an absolute joy to meet.

The restaurant at the Lansdowne Club did us proud too.

Teaching City Etiquette - Wednesday 12th January 2011

The Worshipful Company of Information Technologists have a New Freemen's Dinner each year, at which they teach their new members about the history and background to certain City traditions and etiquette, so that they know how to avoid embarrassing themselves at future events, or if they dine with other livery companies.

In the capable hands of Master Ken Olisa, this was an evening of great entertainment as well as utility. He covered dress code, not leaving the table early, the Rose Water Ceremony, the Sung Grace, the Loyal and City toasts, and the speeches. He imagined a Bateman-type cartoon of "The guest who picked up his glass too soon in the Loyal Toast" as a warning to us all.

All livery companies need to induct new members in some way - it's not reasonable to expect people to know what to do if they haven't been told - and this was a fun and original way of achieving it.

Thursday, 13 January 2011

"That's the way to do it" - 11th January 2011

No, this was not a Punch and Judy show, but my reaction to a beautifully organised dinner for many livery company Masters and Clerks given by the Plaisterer's Company in their wonderful hall at Number One, London Wall - what an address!

It was classic livery hospitality and set the standard that any company would be proud to follow. Look at the timing: a reception, 4 course dinner, 3 loyal toasts, 4 speeches and a musical interlude, all completed by 10.30pm. I don't want to suggest that we all sat there looking at our watches, but it undoubtedly demonstrates respect for your guests' time to give them a wonderful evening and still able to get a train home at a reasonable time.

And it was a fabulous evening, with speeches that combined serious content with entertainment and everyone singing the Grace and the National Anthem with gusto. Thank you, Plaisterers.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Thank you to the operations team - 10th January 2011

Without wishing to sound too much like a Labour politician, last night we had a reception to thank the hard-working committee members who have made so much possible during my year in office. Despite some unavoidable absences and a few last-minute cancellations for illness, forty five of us shared bubbly in the magnificent setting of the top floor of Unilever House at Victoria Embankment.

There is a Zulu word, Ubuntu, meaning, "I am who I am because of who we all are". Ubuntu is about the interconnectedness of being human and, when you have this quality, you are known for your generosity.

It is this generosity of spirit and willingness to connect with others which is characteristic of our members who volunteer for committees. And it is the activities of our committees that makes so much happen for all our members. (I am not forgetting the role of the Court members, but they had their celebration in December.)

For now, let me list the committee chairmen, to whom I owe so much:

Awards - Sue Garland Worthington, Court Assistant
Court Nominations - David Hanger, Past Master
Events - Diane Morris, Liveryman
Fellowship - Michael Bedingfield, Court Assistant
Finance - Jim Surguy, Senior Warden
Freedom - Roddy Mullin. Junior Warden-elect
Heritage - John Freeman, Liveryman
Livery - Mike Jones, Court Assistant
Outreach - Michael Harrison, Court Assistant
PR and Communications - Peter Rees, Court Assistant
Regimental and Cadets Liaison - Steven Rowe, Liveryman
Think Tank - David Hanger, Past Master
and, while not a committee of the Marketors, the Chairman of the Marketors' Trust - Trevor Brignall, Court Assistant.

Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers do it standing up - 10th January 2011

The new Master of the Gold & Silver Wyre Drawers is installed at a Common Hall meeting (i.e. all members of the company can be present) held in Vintners' Hall. Privy Council-like, all stand for the half hour ceremony.

The Master and the newest Warden each swear the most stringent oath that I have heard: not only do they undertake to uphold the rules of the Company, defend its members from all assaults of their enemies and keep safe its assets (gold, silver, wyres and 'stuff') but they make what would now be called an ethics commitment - not to favour any person for reasons of personal gain, favouritism, friendship etc.

17th century language it may have been, but its relevance today remains unquestionable.

I was fortunate to witness how another company conducts its ceremonial as a personal guest of the outgoing Master, John Edgcumbe. The company welcomed its many guests with great warmth and kindness.

When did you last hear an Italian madrigal? Friday 7th January 2011

Well I bet it wasn't in an East End church, sung beautifully by the chamber choir, EXAUDI. Last Friday they gave a concert in aid of the Spitalfields Winter Music Festival and the Lord Mayor's charities. I used to sing madrigals at university, but this performance was exquisite, with each voice weaving in and out of the others like a multi-coloured skein of cottons.

Christ Church, Spitalfields, is just outside the eastern boundary of the City and was built by a pupil of Sir Christopher Wren's, Nicholas Hawksmoor. Millions of pounds were spent on the church a few years ago to remove the Victorian alterations and return the church to its beautiful, simple, elegant architecture. Not only do they hold concerts there, but there is a big outreach programme, bringing music to 30,000 each year, including some of the least-likely-to-encounter-practical-music members of the community.

If you're going there, make sure you don't confuse Commercial Street with Commercial Road - I took the scenic route and only just arrived in time for the concert.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

TheCityUK - a new organisation promoting the City

After a couple of quiet weeks, this week marks the return to 'business as usual' for the City of London and for the Marketors.

Thanks to my colleague on the Financial Services Group, Karl Davies (Arbitrators), today he and I met the Chief Executive, Chris Cummings, and the Senior Manager International, Richard Normington, of TheCityUK.

TheCityUK, is the new organisation supporting the financial and related professional services industry - effectively doing PR for the City domestically and internationally.

We felt there was common ground between the Financial Services Group and TheCityUK so we wanted to meet, exchange notes and see what we could do for each other. Of course, the first step in such situations is to avoid treading on each others' toes; we were delighted to be greeted with great warmth, a spirit of co-operation, and absolutely no territorial nonsense.

We all have a shared goal - the sustainable commercial success of the City of London - and we shall continue to work together to that end.

Welcome to 2011

"A Happy New Year to all our readers."

I always wondered whether there were more than a handful of members interested. But thanks to the new statistics service provided by, I can now see that people have been reading the blog from Brazil, South Korea, Moldova, India, Germany, UAE, France, Slovenia and the USA, as well as from the UK - astonishing.

I am delighted to announce that my successor as Master Marketor, Jim Surguy, has decided to continue the blog after he takes over on 20th January - good news.