Quakers and Business Group
Promoting Quaker values in Business and the Workplace

News Update - September 2009

This was my first time at a Q&B committee meeting and I came away surprised by all that is going on. First surprise – I was expecting at most four people – you know, the usual suspects – but here was a gathering of sixteen people and four of us were new people who had not attended a Q&B management meeting before.  A short period of worship started proceedings and then into the “work”.

Please see our newly agreed a “Statement of Principles” this is a shortened version of the Little Green Book Good Business: Ethics at Work.  If you don’t know what the LGB is you really should get a copy – it’s worth its weight in gold. Of course it s going to be republished soon so this might be a last chance to get the original – buy now whilst the remaining 900 copies last.  Thank you Ben Rowntree for this service. (Ben and the other Q&B Founder members created the LGB for us all.)


We then touched on an interesting dilemma in our organisation – are we there to extend the awareness of Quaker ways of doing business or are we there to bring people to an awareness of the Light in the workplace, in business… in etc. More on this later I expect. (By the way, do consider the new book Heaven on Earth: Quakers & the Second Coming  re this – Dandelion, Gwyn & Peat’s latest mind shaker, faith maker, action provoker…)

We looked at a revised version of the Strategy Away Day Report that reviews what we are trying to achieve and gives us targets by which we can measure our performance. Do read it.  And, do engage – how can you help push its delivery forward?  Contact Tim with your ideas – and come to the next meeting to present them.

The Q&B lot at Yearly Meeting reported back on our presence there. It seems we were well received and this is a real change from our earlier experiences, but how much of this is due to a real change in culture within Friends, how much we owe to “Wrestling with Angels” and how much we have learned about presenting ourselves, remains to be seen. Anyway, we decided to invest in a new display stand for future conferences etc.  There’s confidence!

The plans for this year’s Quaker Business Conference on 25 November are well advanced. We will be at Friends House and final details are on the website.  It centres on Business Success – how do we define it – how do we achieve it? What is it, beyond the bottom line? – is it OK for Quakers to talk about success in business?  Come on and meet up!  A few places remain … (And hey! Charity & public sector Friends: come and help us all learn success for real…)

The night before we will be gathering for a meal in the restaurant – we will have exclusive use of the restaurant so it could be a really nice gathering and a chance for you to make new friends and catch up with old ones.  A real buzz is virtually guaranteed. Next year we have an ambitious programme of 4 (yes, 4) face to face events.  (It could be more, if you would like to mount one, just get in touch with Eoin, our Events Co-ordinator, via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

First up:  Getting to New Light  In January (Mon 18th - Tues 19th) Eoin and Alistair will be offering a new workshop at Charney Manor. This will be offering some intensive experiences in order that you can deepen your understanding of spirituality in your working life.

After this we will be at Bristol on Saturday 24th April 2010 for the Spring Gathering & AGM – Nick and Richard will be taking this idea forward and in the December newsletter we will be bringing you more details.  Do diarise and come along.  It’s the one where we go for the big ideas and themes in the world of business, economics, spirituality, theology - and seek to ground our own work experience and aspired for futures in them.

And there is more !

Then comes Mon 24th – Tues 25th May at Woodbrooke: - the next annual Quaker Non-executive Directors event.  Luke Wilde and Nick Pyatt are organising this one which is in its third year and has become a must for those in or aspiring to be in NxD roles in companies or Trustee roles in charities.  Do book via Luke Wilde

And, finally, the 2010 Quaker Business Conference – our major face to facer focused on being a Quaker and being in the world of work.  Spirituality, money, ethics, relationships in the workplace – quite the heady and hearty mixture of all time.  If you would like to do some shaping of this Nov. ’10  flagship event, contact Tim Phillips.   The thinking at the moment is “How do we speak truth to power in our work and business lives?” – we have to find ways that help them hear – after all if two million people on the streets pre the Iraq war didn’t change things, we really do need to be more effective.

Next came the Who’s New? Who’s doing what? Time, and … We welcomed Peter Regelous, Nick Pyatt, Dan Lewer and Alec Cassells. And this means we have some 101 paid up members.  And still rising.

James Bromley is traveling to meetings spreading the word about us – so far he has been to three meetings and has been well received. If you are interested in talking to meetings do let us know.  If your meeting wants Quaker Week related materials for business minded Quakers, do let us know, via Tim Phillips or Jo Poole .

Roger Hill is working out a tie in with the Federation of Small Business (FSB). They offer a benefits package for their members that might be available to ours. If you have information about this could you contact him?

Now the problems of success! As we have grown, our way of doing business has begun to creak – so we are thinking of changing it. We plan to have four small sub-committees covering: membership (John Lovatt & Tim Phillips), events (Eoin McCarthy), Nominations (Hilary Pinder), communications (Jo Poole). Finance will continue with Paul Whitehouse.  This should mean that the work of the Management Committee will be focused on delivering the strategy, - and also that more people could be involved. Now of course that means that you might consider taking on a little of the work – let us know what is your special interest and we will fit you in.  Contact Jo or Eoin

At this point l left … but the dance went on!  Reports Tim:

Money:  We’re still in the black with about £5k to our name.  So, we can fund member proposals for promoting Quakers principles in business and the workplace (that’s Q&B’s charitable Objective).  Your proposals please, to Tim or any Committee member, asap, when you are ready.

More on Money

By the way – if you would like to donate say £100k, we could really get imaginative, hire a bright, skilled, smart worker and push for a more strategic set of member services and business world impacting events.  Ideas please to Tim in the first instance - Thanks.

Now, New stuff and going projects

We want start designing a Q&B library of case studies, stories, testimonies, teaching & learning materials.  This work needs the right kind of developmental Co-ordinator.  Interested in helping?  Contact Hilary via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As a start, Peter Relegous is now our existing training materials co-ordinator.  Yes, as a modest start, we’re pulling some together.  Thank you Peter, it will be very valuable work.   All help appreciated.

We seek a strapline for Q&B!!  Ideas to Hilary, please…  Come on you imaginative ones…  give us a pitch!

We meet next on Tues 1st December in Friends House, from 13.30 (after a shared lunch in the FH resto) to 16.00. o come and join in.  All members welcome.  We have interesting work to do and stimulating debates and discernments take place.  Tell Jo you will be with us.

That’s it.

Oh, save to say that after the meeting proper, we had a very good first exchange of views with Gillian Ashmore.  Gillian, as ‘ighbrow Friends reading Q Mthly will know, had opined recently that Friends are not that active collectively in the world of work space.   So, we laid out our stall, and listened to Gillian’s concerns.  There may be ways of working more closely with FH teams, within the new BYM strategic Framework, with which BYM recognized interest groups have not yet been engaged.  Ideas from you would be a help, too.  How can we help deliver the framework, do you think?

Hoping to hear from you, to run a great Q to Q and Q to world of work network, boosting Q principles in the workplace and in business again.

Yrs walking cheerfully
Alan Kirkham and Tim Phillips
17 Oct ‘09