A message from our Chairman

Date Posted: 03 May 2024 A message from our Chairman

Dear Members, Colleagues, Sponsors and Friends,

It has now been barely two months since I was honoured to be asked to take the Cardiff Business Club Chair and work with your Committee to support and encourage the Club in the months and years ahead. Of course, the Club has a rich, impressive history, and the foundations of success are very much in place due to the hard work of many, including my predecessors, to whom we are extremely grateful.

It is right and proper that we pay tribute to those who have gone before, and I am keen to repeat my thanks to Scott Waddington, Benno Wasserstein, Paula Morris-Moor and Ross Griffin, who have all completed long terms of service with the Club and have now stepped down from the Board. We wish them well and can continue to rely on their support for the Club.

The pandemic is well and truly over, but its legacy will be with us for some time. The Club has not been immune from its effects, and we are all very conscious that it is time to look to the future, refresh and renew efforts to ensure that the best is yet to come.
For those crucial reasons, I wanted to update you on some of the initiatives we have underway. These will take us to the next level and make all our events, dinners, and activities among the most attractive and dynamic in the City, making them the 'place' at which members of our broader business community will want to identify.

However, before I signpost a few things that will indicate what the future might hold, I wanted to remind us all, particularly myself, of the enduring values and guiding principles that underlay all we are and seek to do. These are my observations, but I trust that we all agree that we want Cardiff Business Club to be and seen to be:

  1. Inclusive: a friendly club that welcomes and without prejudice reaches all areas of our business community.
  2. Accessible: a club that is open and attractive to all.
  3. Influential: a club with a recognised, sought out, heard and respected voice.
  4. Prominent: a club that leads the business debate.
  5. Engaged: a club connected to its community.

I could and perhaps should add 'Enjoyable' as we desire that for everything we do and every event we host.

With all these in mind, as we seek to grow in numbers, strength, influence, and impact, may I take this opportunity to flag a few issues and initiatives that may be of interest:

Those students of the website will have noticed that the Patronage of the Club is somewhat anomalous in that it refers to the Royal Patron being HRH, the former Prince of Wales, whereas, of course, the Patron is now HM King Charles III. We can only change this nomenclature once and when the Royal Offices grant official permission. Whilst we await further guidance, it is worth reminding us that the Club has for many decades and still enjoys patronage at the highest level and has always been reflected in the high calibre of speakers and visitors to the Club, a fact of which we are rightly proud.

Similarly, members will know that last year, we lost our former President, the late Lord Rowe-Beddoe, a stalwart and prominent member of the Club and fondly remembered by so many of you. Lord Rowe-Beddoe is not easily replaced, but I am pleased to report that we have identified and, hopefully, will be able to announce a new President of Cardiff Business Club once official channels have been cleared and the required consents obtained. Forgive the mystery, but I know that this appointment will excite and galvanise our loyal membership and the wider business community in the private and public sectors of society. Watch this space, ladies, and gentlemen.

Under this theme, we, of course, need to replace our long-standing board members and refresh the Club's governance. Whilst I have spoken already with several potential candidates, I am also asking you as members to consider whether you know of any people that might add value, open doors and bringing something unique to the Board of the Club; people that share our values and can make a difference as well help achieve our goals and bring success. Please contact me or Club Secretary Paul Thorburn if you have any suggestions via the Club's email. Thank you.

As part of our efforts to grow the Club, we can agree that we need to refresh and diversify our membership. I am always conscious of the need to attract and empower the next generation—and, for many of us, the one after that! I am determined to reach out to the younger elements of our business community, many of whom may never have engaged with us or attended our events. If they are not already today's leaders, they will soon be the leaders of tomorrow.

For that and other reasons, I am looking to simplify our membership structure into three obvious categories, namely Corporate, Individual, and finally, Young Members aged 35 or under. We are working on the fine details of the offering to each of these categories. We will soon be reaching out extensively, well ahead of the next season of dinners and events, making clear the benefits of being a Cardiff Business Club member. We can all help by sharing the opportunity with our respective businesses and networks. I hope that collectively, we can significantly increase the number of active members, attendees, and participants in Cardiff Business Club and its events.

Similarly, we are very grateful to our season sponsors, dinner sponsors and those who have provided services to the Club over the years and still do. We could not survive without them. Nevertheless, this is also an area where we need to refresh our efforts. I want us to engage dynamically at this level, with far more businesses in our community than we are accustomed to.

I look forward to welcoming new supporters in the weeks and months ahead. Again, your support is vital and appreciated, and anything you can do to introduce us to new participants who could sponsor the Club is welcome. As with memberships, we plan to simplify and clarify the opportunities and benefits that will flow to Sponsors.

I am setting the bar very high. Every one of us has limited time available in our busy lives. I am conscious of those who have yet to enjoy splendid evenings or lunchtimes, sharing the company of other members and guests and listening to our speakers at Club gatherings. We cannot presume on anyone's goodwill and time, so we must make our programme compelling and attractive to the broadest possible audience. We want to win the hearts of many more enthusiastic attendees and to do that, the roster and quality of speakers are critical so that people are not just enticed to come along by the name or reputation of the speakers, but when they do attend, they then leave wanting to come again. Being a welcoming host and ensuring we secure the best possible speakers is essential.

Huge efforts are going in now and even in the past few days, we have secured several excellent guests to the Club who will feature from September onwards and during 2025. I want to share names and dates as soon as possible and hope to do so at the earliest opportunity once the programme is finalised. The programme will be diverse and not all be will 'cut from the same cloth' for sure!

Beyond our staple diet of dinners from September to June, we are hoping to 'pepper' the programme with several collaborative events involving other prominent and distinguished networks as well as a series of 'roundtables' at which we can take subjects of high importance to the business world and undertake a deeper dive, whether under 'Chatham House Rules' or not, into those areas of interest.

Finally may I thank everyone who has, in recent weeks, passed on their good wishes and offered constructive support both to me personally and, more importantly, to the Club as a whole. Your positive engagement is of fundamental importance and is greatly appreciated. Thank you, and more precise updates, such as 'putting the flesh on the bones' of the matters outlined in this note, will follow before the summer is fully with us.

With Kind Regards,