Service and Reception 17 Sep:  Celebration and Thanksgiving
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As Twefth Night approaches, not only is it appropriate to wish everyone a Happy New Year but also to breathe a collective sigh of relief that the world did not end on 21 December as threatened/promised by the Mayans! The cartoon that showed the Mayan stonemasons knocking off for a cup of tea when they reached 21.12.12 seemed very apposite and the whole episode did, after all, do wonders for the tourist industry in that little place in France where, alone, salvation lay!

Another “phew!” for the retreat from the brink of the “fiscal cliff” in the States, of course which seems to have given a bit of bounce to the markets – keep tuned to this channel however, for more gripping instalments!

Final "phew" is prompted by the analysis in "Greekonomics", the recently published analysis of the Euro-crisis by our Past Master Vicky Pryce. My Christmas stocking contained a copy of this rattling good read with some fascinating historical and cultural  insights and, in summary, the Germans will have to grin and bear it while the Greeks take on the mother of all change programmes! Challenging but not catastrophic!

Coming back to Company matters, as members know, I’m delighted that many senior members of the Company have agreed to take up the challenge of my “Call to Arms” agenda and I’m pleased that progress being made on each front, which I hope will really start to kick-in during the first three months of 2012. I’m particularly keen to learn from Doug Prior and his colleagues about the results of the membership survey and the improvement opportunities that I’m sure their work will flush out.

We have also kicked off a project to explore new ways of collaborating with Cass Business School which celebrated its Tenth Year as a School last year and, with a newly appointed Dean, Professor Steve Haberman, is looking to increase its contribution to, and visibility in, the City. I’m convinced that there are great win-wins to be had here and will be working with “our” Visiting Professors, Father of the Livery, Calvert Markham and Past Master Bob Garratt, as well as First Warden Edward Sankey and Liveryman John Pulford who chairs the CCCE Trust, to see how we can define a new modus operandi with Cass.

A key theme of the Cass collaboration will be the work of the Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness, of course, and that brings me to the last point for today, which is a reminder about the Charity Supper date on 17 January at Skinners’ Hall when three of our charity partners will be addressing us to describe and celebrate the win-win collaborations that Company members have achieved with them. I look forward to seeing members there – but hurry while tickets remain available!

With every good wish for a Happy and Prosperous New Year!