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

News Update - December 2010

Hello Q&B

Liz here, reporting on the Management Committee meeting held on Thursday 2nd December at Friends House.
The first thing I will say is that as a group we are so lucky to have members such as the hardy six who actually managed to get to the meeting through the appalling weather and disruption.
I would like to thank on your behalf Tim, Paul, Jo, Nick, Winston and John, for not only getting to the meeting but then holding a meeting that produced valuable results, as shown in Jo’s comprehensive minutes. A number of us did attempt to join the meeting via Skype, but after half a dozen false starts gave up and left the work to the dedicated few.

So what are my impressions of the meeting; what are the messages I’ve received? I think the main one revolves around taking stock of ourselves as a growing group, and using that analysis to help us determine our future.   As with any organisation, taking time to take a breather and see where we are pays dividends and ensures our health, efficiency and effectiveness. It makes sure we are focused on what we have agreed to be focused on, and asks on reflection whether we need to refocus. One simple improvement in our processes is the introduction of a standard and yet flexible management committee agenda, which will allow an easier route for reporting on the work and actions of the individual committees and working groups.

Early on in the meeting Alistair Heslop reported on the results of his Strategic Review, where he has concluded that the work we carry out under the direction of our committees and working groups does indeed cover our current priorities. Alistair felt that even with this good news, we need as a group to revisit and refine our vision. As with all things the situation around us changes and it was agreed that a review of our vision and ambitions was required, both in the short and long terms.

One area that was highlighted at an earlier meeting was that the group is working on a number of projects that don’t sit under the guidance or reporting structure of any working group, and are as a result usually reported on directly into the management committee. It was decided that to provide a valuable home for monitoring these projects, a new ‘Q&B Development Working Group’ would be created (our fifth working group) convened by Tim Phillips.

Jo Poole as convenor of the Media WG described a number of good ideas that will help spread our group’s vision not just to members but to the wider world, Quaker or otherwise. One of these was a proposal to write a ‘Twelve Quakers and Business’ booklet, along the lines of the existing series that includes ‘Twelve Quakers and Equality’ etc. Another suggestion is to draw up some Outreach (dare I say marketing) posters, in the same vein as the existing ‘I’m a midwife, a marathon runner, and a Quaker’ series, that are more oriented to business and the private sector. And also for the group to continue to use and evaluate social networking sites such as Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook, where appropriate.

Talking about Outreach, we need volunteers to represent our group at BYM in Canterbury next summer. This is a great opportunity to sell ourselves. We can’t grumble that the Quaker world sometimes looks down on us as business people if we are not going out there and explaining what good we do and how valuable well run and successful businesses are to society.

While we’re on the subject of BYM, it was reported that some members are alarmed by reports in The Friend that BYM is selling its BP shares, fearing that this might incur a monetary loss.  It was decided to research the situation carefully to establish the full facts, and then consider a measured response, publicly or privately, as the situation requires.

Lastly, as members of the Quakers and Business Group, we are all encouraged to get out there and promote the good work we carry out, and hopefully attract new members. We currently have 135 members, a healthy number: Our aim is for 200 by 2013.

(Please note that my report is based on Jo’s minutes and notes very gratefully received from Tim.)

In Friendship, Elizabeth Redfern.