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

Q&B - News Update February 2019 - Management Committee Meeting, Wednesday 6th February 2019

In these days of widely used internet conferencing technology, such as Skype and Zoom, it's easy to fall into the trap of forgetting that to sit across from someone in any situation and have a conversation face to face achieves more than simple verbal communication. It reaches a deeper level of understanding.

On Wednesday 6th February 2019, nine members of the Quakers and Business Group (Q&B) met at the Peace Hub on Bull Street, Birmingham, for a Management Committee meeting: some new faces, some regular attenders. As the meeting progressed I realised just how important it was to have a face to face meeting like the one we were having.

Q&B is a registered charity and all its 180 members - not just the trustees - have some level of responsibility to make sure that the charity is run correctly. That its charitable and everyday objectives are met, and that its money is appropriately managed. All of the items covered at the meeting dealt with us questioning and making sure that this is exactly what we are doing.

We spoke at some length about the progress and funding of our two PhD projects, both of which are getting towards completion. We are in regular contact with the two students and have a reasonable view of what funds we need for the projects to be completed, these funds covering both academic fees and living expenses. It is a source of pride that we have been able to support what will be two high quality research projects, and the people who have carried out all the work. Funds are still being raised to finish the projects and then promote the results.

Our future events were also discussed. The Strategy Day/AGM planned for the 22nd June 2019 at Milton Keynes Quaker Meeting House, and our annual conference at the end of November - date and venue are still to be decided. These events are open to anybody - Q&B members and anyone else - and are superb opportunities for people to meet face to face; to share thoughts, knowledge and ideas, and of course make new Friends and friends.

We discussed the new Third Edition of our book, Good Business Ethics at Work. This international edition will replace the 2014 Second Edition, and be translated into a wide range of languages, and will be available in paperback and various electronic formats. This book is one of the group's main ways of communicating our Quaker business values with the wider world.

And we talked about people. We will shortly be welcoming a new and third Co-Clerk to the management committee, and we considered how to make the management committee meetings more inclusive and accessible to our group members and visitors. For many years the group has held three or four meetings a year on a weekday afternoon, often at Friends House in London, which clearly many people can't get to. We trialled last year holding a meeting over the internet using Zoom, and it worked well. So for 2019 our first meeting was in Birmingham on a weekday afternoon, face to face; our second meeting in June will be using Zoom during an evening; and our third meeting will be in London on a weekend afternoon. We hope more people will find that this enables them to come along and find out more about the work of Q&B.

One of the most well-known Quaker sayings is 'that of God in everyone'. For me the key word is 'everyone'. We are all in this life together. We work together. And to take part in Wednesday's 'face to face' meeting together with others was highly rewarding.

Elizabeth Redfern
Quakers and Business Group – Member
and Northampton Quaker Meeting