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

News Update – April 2011

Liz Redfern here, reporting on the Management Committee meeting held on Friday 1st April 2011 and the Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 2nd April 2011. Both were at Edinburgh Central Friends Meeting House. The AGM preceded a superb Spring Gathering, with a clear Scottish flavour. I am covering the gathering in a Special News Update.

You can find minutes for these events on our group website: http://www.quakersandbusiness.org.uk/

Our thanks go to Jo Poole for her hard work in producing these minutes. She certainly had a lot of information to summarise.

The Management Committee and AGM were milestone events, and perhaps historically significant, in the life of the Quakers and Business Group. We said thank you to Tim Phillips for his dedication and hard work as our Clerk for the last six years. Our gratitude has been reflected in Tim becoming an honorary life member of the group. Alan Kirkham takes over the Clerk’s role, and Tim becomes an Elder. Tim is also taking this opportunity to leave the management committee.

We also thanked Jo Poole for her dedication to the work of Assistant Clerk for the last three years. Jo is being replaced by me. We welcomed Alan Kirkham, Alistair Heslop (co-opted), Jeff Dean (co-opted) and myself as new members to the management committee, and said goodbye with thanks to Alistair Russell.

 

Support

A major part of our discussions at the Management Committee meeting involved the refinement of the strategy of our group and its impact on our work. This followed on from a very successful Strategy Day at the Priory Rooms in Birmingham on the 9th March 2011. Following the Strategy Day Alistair Heslop developed a discussion document which was circulated before the committee meeting. A theme has developed which could be summarised as the word ‘support’; where we as a group provide support to people and organisations in a number ways and at a number of levels depending on their needs and concerns, all based on our understanding of Quaker principles. This support could involve our existing Spiritual Accompaniment work with individuals, and presentations to and involvement in organisations both Quaker and non-Quaker.

Alistair has been asked to work on a second version of the discussion document and again this will be circulated for feedback.

While we are talking about people and roles within the group, as Alan Kirkham takes over the role of Clerk he has decided to relinquish his position as Convenor of the recently formed Finance Working Group. The group would also like to nominate an Assistant Convenor. Can you take on one of these roles? If you can please talk to Paula Kingston, Convenor of the Nominations Committee.

The Management Committee has approved funding to support the Finance Working Group in carrying out market research to ascertain the availability of investment funds in Quaker bodies such as local and area meetings which may be invested in a Quaker finance entity, and the expectations of Treasurers and Trustees regarding their investments.

The need for our Spiritual Accompaniment work was highlighted during a conversation regarding our Quakers & Business LinkedIn group. The group now includes 158 people, a number of whom are in the United States and elsewhere internationally, and who are effectively members of our group at arm’s length. We are receiving a number of requests for support that can be addressed using Spiritual Accompaniment, even if carried out over the internet.

 

Our theme of support also comes through with our member Adrian Melia’s sterling work with the Tim Field Foundation, a project supported by our group (http://timfieldfoundation.org). The foundation which has 121 members (some of whom are also in Q&B) was established to continue the late Tim Field's vision and is ‘committed to working for a world free of bullying, through activities, research and projects that validate, empower and inspire targets, perpetrators, apologists and witnesses of bullying to make enlightened choices’. Click on this link for a full introduction to this valuable work:

http://timfieldfoundation.org/component/content/article/9-overview/1-introduction

Can you help Adrian with his work? He is seeking contributions from people who can help take the foundation to a new level of success. In particular he is looking for those with experience of public relations, problem solving, and psychology, or those with experience of working within large organizations.

Our recent strategy work has highlighted that we need to promote ourselves more effectively within Quaker organisations such as Britain Yearly Meeting, Friends House and The Friend. We will be starting some analysis work of how these organisations operate, including a ‘who’s who’, and develop some plans to speak to them of our valuable work. We are already in contact with the new Recording Clerk Paul Parker, and the new editor of The Friend Ian Kirk-Smith. If you are in contact with this type of Quaker organisation would you please contribute to our knowledge. Also do you have knowledge and expertise that we can match to other speaking opportunities to non-Quaker organisations?

And lastly in relation to the future of our group, I presented an initial view of the responses to our Members Survey. The purpose of the survey is to ensure that we meet your needs, and that your views inform our strategy. We have received 36 responses, representing just over 25% of our membership. I am delighted with the effort our group members have put into answering some of the more subjective questions, and we have certainly received a good spread of answers highlighting our good points and areas where we could improve. I hope to publish the full report on the results by the end of April.

 

Events

Let’s move onto a major part of our group’s work – running events. Our Spring Gathering at Edinburgh was attended by 37 people, Q&B members and Friends from Scotland and the North of England. Our events are well attended and our feedback shows that our members appreciate the contribution made to their knowledge by the speakers and workshops. We have two further events this year for you to attend.

Firstly you are invited to the Q&B Annual Gathering of NxDs at Woodbrooke. This event is for 24 hours from 5pm on Monday 6th June 2011. The title is Organisational Structures for the Big Society. For detailed information please click on the link below. You are encouraged to book early as Woodbrooke have recently introduced more formal booking procedures.

http://www.qandb.org/component/content/article/54-conferences/221-nxd-conference-woodbrooke-6-7-june-2011.html

Then our Annual Business Conference is on Tuesday 15th November 2011 at Friends Meeting House. The title is Building Responsible Businesses and at this stage I can tell you that Deborah Cadbury will be one of our two speakers in the morning. In the afternoon there will be a choice from four interactive workshops on different aspects of running businesses along Quaker principles.

While we are talking about events Eoin McCarthy as Convenor of the Events Working Group is looking for two new members for that group. This group supervises and helps find organisers for our events during the year.  Currently the calendar includes three major events a year, namely the Spring Gathering; NXD Conference; and Annual Conference. The group also supports and guides members who organize other events such as Strategy Days, Residential YM activities, trial regional Q&B groups, etc. If this opportunity of service speaks to your condition please contact Eoin.

 

Other News

On Saturday in Edinburgh we were joined at the AGM by Bob Williamson a Friend from Glasgow Meeting. Bob would like to draw our attention to ‘a new British Standard setting out for the first time good practice and principals of ethical behaviour for organisations providing services to inventors’. For more information on this new standard from the Intellectual Property Office please click on this link:

http://www.ipo.gov.uk/press-release-20110304

That completes my report on the Management Committee and AGM in Edinburgh. To finish this news update I have been asked to make two further requests for support.

 

Q&B presence at YM

This summer we are delighted that Q&B has been asked to supply one of three 10 minute speakers setting the context at the YM Session on Economics and Social Justice on Tuesday 2nd August from 9.30pm -12noon at Britain Yearly Meeting in Canterbury.  A speaker is sought.  Could this be you?  If so please contact Eoin McCarthy.

Are you able to contribute some time to Q&B while you are attending? We need more people to support a number of opportunities to wave the Q&B flag, including manning our stall and attending the Wednesday evening fair. Again if you can help please contact Eoin.

 

PhD research on Quaker faith in the workplace

Finally, I have a request for help from our Q&B member Mark Read. Mark is studying for a PhD in Quaker Studies at the University of Birmingham. His research is on Quaker faith in the workplace. He is seeking volunteer research participants who are currently engaged in paid or unpaid employment. Participation would probably involve meeting on two separate occasions. The intention of the meeting would be to find out about the life of individual Quakers (member or attender) within their workplaces. If you can help Mark please contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

That’s it for this news update; please look out for the Special News Update on the Spring Gathering.

 

In Friendship, Elizabeth Redfern, Assistant Clerk - Quakers and Business Group