Sarah Wait, Master of the Company of Communicators 2019 to 2020
Firstly, hello, and please let me say how very proud I am to be leading the Company of Communicators as your Master. I am currently a little overawed by the responsibility, however I am also really excited by the opportunities ahead of us. We have a great group of Court Assistants and Wardens who will be working with me and you, the Freemen of the Company, to take us forward in 2020. I want to cover four main points in my first message to you as Master: Leadership, my main focus for the year, our charitable endeavour and events.
Let me first introduce you to our new Wardens:
Deborah Oliver, Senior Warden, as a founder member of the original Guild, she has been on the Court and a Committee member for many years. She is now in line to become Master as we celebrate our 20th Anniversary. Wouldn’t it be fantastic to also be taking the company through to full Livery status as part of that celebration? Let’s get there together.
Helen Moore, Middle Warden, Helen now takes on the mantle of supporting the Diversity and Inclusion Group, will look after the new Freeman and lead the membership team that supports those applying to join us.
James Gurling, Junior Warden, was elected to start the procession to Master this year after several years on the Court. He will be responsible for the Charitable Committee, leading them to drive forward our work to support charitable endeavor within the Communications industry and especially the City.
FOCUS FOR THE YEAR
Every year by tradition must have a theme and mine has not changed from when I first became Junior Warden and set upon the path to become Master. It centres around the celebration of inclusion, diversity and equity. The City of London and the Livery Movement is an amazing institution; we raise and donate millions of pounds directly and indirectly every year. However, it doesn’t reflect the reality of diversity within the City, which I personally find to be a shame. So, my aim is simple: lead by example and help the Livery to embrace the power of diversity and inclusion.
For me this is about more than just gender balance; it’s about everything that makes us diverse: from ethnicity, religion and disability (both obvious and hidden), to sexual orientation, age, diversity of thought and socio-economic experience. Integrating and celebrating the ‘whole self’ of our members allows us to truly become inclusive and more reflective of the communities we serve.
I am proud of our Company’s current level of diversity, but I know that we can go further to be representative of our profession. This said, I know that the level of diversity in other Companies falls quite a long way short of our own. I am the 6th female Master, but there are many Companies who have not had one female Master. I therefore believe we are uniquely positioned to take a leading position within our movement, even before we become a full Livery company, to take the best of nearly a thousand years of tradition and incorporate the changes required to be a truly modern Company, making us relevant to our industry and the City. We are not working in isolation here we have also created some great links with other forward thinking Companies and the City Livery Club who are as keen as us take this agenda forward.
We have an active Diversity & Inclusion Working Group, made up of long-serving and new Freemen, who are looking both inward and outward to determine an appropriate pathway for us in this regard. Watch out for our Spring event in this area and do let us know if you would like to become more involved in the Working Group (contact myself and the Wardens, who would be delighted to support you and for your support).
Our Charity Committee will be to look at doing further work with organisations such as the Taylor Bennett Foundation, creating opportunities for us to support the development of a more inclusive industry, alongside other worthy causes. It’s often not about money, but the mentoring and small amounts of pro bono work that can make a positive impact to charities.
We are also creating events to support our growth, raise money for our Charitable Trust and our transition to full Livery - but also to have a lot fun! Times maybe difficult at the moment with so much change happening across many areas - so I would like this year to one where, as a Freeman of the Company of Communicators, you have an opportunity to join me and do something different….. how about driving sheep across London Bridge, doing a Treasure Hunt through the streets of London, meet people from many diverse areas of Communications, share ideas and information, or take an opportunity to share your knowledge and experience with a charity or person that helps them take a step forward. If you have ideas or something where we could help, please let me know.
Next events that the Company are taking part in or running:
3rd November - Roman Tour of London – please note this has been moved by 24 hours so everyone can watch the Rugby World Cup final
9th November – The Lord Mayor’s Show – the first public outing of our new name on our banner
17th December – St Bartholomew The Great – Livery Service of Nine Lessons & Carols followed by Dinner in the beautifully refurbished Butcher Hall. You don’t have to do both, you can do one without the other, but we will need to know numbers for each event before the end of November.
And on a personal note do get tickets to the Guildhall Market in Aid of the Red Cross – best present shopping opportunity in London running on the 25th and 26th November and shopping all in an excellent cause of raising money for charity too.
In closing, I want to thank you for your commitment to the Company and to our profession. I hope you find this year our most inclusive yet and don’t forget to let us know if there is more we can be doing to allow you to bring your whole self to the work of the Company, and to the profession at large.