Synopsis of Minutes of Steering Committee Meeting 4 December 2007

The Rank Fellowship


Minutes of the Steering Committee Meeting


Held on Tuesday 4th December 2007 at Westminster School



Present:                     Jason Chaffer - Chairman


Simon Barker, Lindsey Clay, Max Kirby, Kate Kynvin,

David McCausland, Benet Northcote, Fred Packard,

Alastair Rolfe, Emma Watson-Mack, Tim Young, Gill Zammett, Noomane Fehri ( London Maghreb Network Society)


Apologies:                 Clive Baker, Andrew Cowen, Duncan Gibson, Stuart Smith, Daniela Barone Soares (Fundacao Estudar)



1.       The Chairman opened the meeting by expressing his appreciation to the Headmaster of Westminster School for allowing the Steering Committee to use the Drawing Room. The Chairman will send a letter of thanks to the Headmaster.


The Chairman informed members that Stuart Smith has resigned from the committee - he is now working out of London.  Warm thanks were expressed for Stuart's many contributions and he will receive a memento of his Steering Committee service.  Pressure of work had prevented Clive Baker from attending.  Kate Kynvin was warmly welcomed back to the committee - Kate was a member when the committee was first formed before she took leave to study for her Masters degree. 


2.       The Minutes of the meeting held on the 4th September 2007 had been circulated to all members.   The Chairman signed them, pointing out that the decision in the end was not to have a Steering Committee stand at the Charities Evening.


The Chairman said that Tom Motchman had agreed to act as a mentor to the 2007 Leadership Award bursary pupils; Tom spoke at the Leadership Day in September.


3.         Charities Team


The Chairman reported on an excellent evening at the RSA.  Around seventy Fellows and guests attended along with thirty representatives from fourteen Rank supported Charities.  Many thanks were expressed to Lindsey Clay and her team for their hard work in organising the Evening.   Thanks were also extended to Alastair Rolfe for producing the excellent programme which was distributed to everyone attending the evening. It was decided to send a copy to Fellows who had declined the invitation. 


Feedback from the participating Charities had been very positive and comments had been e-mailed to members of the Steering Committee for their interest. 


Alastair Rolfe commented that a number of Charities had asked for assistance with PR and marketing.   He suggested that a PR workshop could be run one evening by those Fellows with expertise in that field.   This was felt to be an excellent idea and Tim Young undertook to find out which of the Charities at the RSA would be interested in attending such a workshop.


Discussion took place as to whether to hold another Charities event at the RSA in 2008. It was felt that as Manchester is to be the next location for a Northern Charities Evening, it would be unwise to hold two similar events as attendance at either may suffer.  James Williams is the co-ordinator for the Manchester event, scheduled for 20 November.


There was an interesting discussion as to whether the Fellowship's central aims could be succinctly expressed to provide a stronger focus and clearer understanding for all Fellows.   An alternative view was expressed that the purpose and attraction of the Fellowship represented a subtle shade of different meanings to each Fellow.   This was felt to be a valuable debate and one which would be revisited.   Other organisations are interested in the same values and the same objectives as the Fellowship: the Chairman drew attention to the leadership initiatives by Goldman Sachs and it was agreed that these should be investigated further.


4.       Communications Team


David McCausland is producing an e-bulletin which will highlight the success of the Charities Evening; this will be sent out electronically very shortly.


Tim Young explained that the website home page was in the process of being updated by Moore Wilson and is intended to have a livelier and cleaner appearance.   Benet Northcote felt that the design prototype achieved these aims.   He also suggested that the links to other Rank sites should be part of a drop-down menu, rather than permanently displayed at the bottom of the Fellowship home page.


There will be a link to the Rank Fellowship group on Facebook, rather than an attempt to run an interactive part of the site.  The Fellowship group on Facebook has almost 50 members.   It was agreed that Max Kirby should propose a Fellowship Day of Action among this group to encourage younger Fellows to participate. This could take the form of helping the Good Shepherd charity with their spring clean.  A date for this has yet to be arranged: a Saturday was thought to be a good idea, with possibly the Fellows having supper afterwards. 


5.       Mentoring Team


Discussion took place as to whether to hold another Mentoring Evening in March 2008, and it was decided the next mentoring event should be in 2009.   Having one Mentoring event during each School Fellow's sixth form career would create an imperative for attendance among all School Fellows.


The Chairman encouraged views and support for an excellent proposal by Tim Young to have a March event with the purpose of expanding the core group of Fellowship activists.   Members of the Steering Committee would each bring up to four Fellows as guests. There could be a Speaker and dinner afterwards.  The target audience would be the 18-25 age group, as well as Fellows who had shown an interest in greater involvement.    An appropriate venue needs to be organised.   There was some discussion about a time-frame for this: March 2008 is close at hand, but it is hard to attract School Fellows once the summer term (and exam season) start.  The Chairman, Tim Young and Emma Watson-Mack would explore this further.   Ideas for a speaker would be welcomed.


6.       Regional activity


The Manchester Charities Evening is being planned by a small group under the leadership of James Williams.   There will be a gathering next summer of Fellows based in the West Country.    


7.       Overseas Links


Noomane Fehri spoke about the work of the London Maghreb Network Society which started with around 50 like-minded people.  The aims of the Society are to enhance the image of North Africa in the UK and other European countries.   The Maghreb is primarily identified with Tunisian, Algerian and Moroccan nationalities: the LMS membership consists of people from those backgrounds whose work has brought them to London.  


Noomane finds many similarities between the values of the LMS and those of the Fellowship, particularly in the enjoyment of social gatherings, the mutually beneficial network of "good people" and the wish to become involved in charitable support.  It was agreed that the Fellowship's closer links with similar groups from other countries are helping to make its profile more attractive and affirming the objectives of the Fellowship.


8.       Any other business


Fred Packard spoke briefly about the 21st anniversary celebration of the Youth or Adult? Scheme which will take place in June 2008.  A network of those who have been through the Rank training and education schemes in that time will be launched at the celebration.   This network will act as a parallel group to the Fellowship.


He also welcomed the recent decision by the Rank Board to approve the inclusion of several state schools in the Leadership Award Scheme.  The bursary will fund university tuition fees for three years (as opposed to sixth form school fees).  This move was warmly supported by the Steering Committee.


9.       The next meeting is on the 4th March 2008; Fred Packard suggested it should be held at 12 Warwick Square, London (Head Office of the Rank Foundation).

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