On 25 June 2018, I made the following speech to approximatey 1500 Liverymen gathered in Common Hall at Guildhall in the heart of the City of London. Unfortunately I wasn’t successful in winning the Election but I certainly pledge to continue my work in championing diversity and inclusion within and beyond the City.
In 3 years’ time, the Chamberlain’s Court will grant the first Freedoms of the City to those born this century and it will be these young people, together with the Millennials, who are the future of the Livery and the City.
Their perception of the kind of world they want is different from ours. We’re so “last century”.
They are more ethnically and culturally diverse than previous generations.
They don’t just tolerate difference, they seek it out. They have different values – and will expect and demand greater transparency and equality.
They communicate differently and they’ll be working differently –more flexibly and for longer.
And they’re likely to be less economically successful than their parents.
Unlike us Baby Boomers, they have never had it so bad.
More than ever young people need opportunities to meet like-minded individuals, to develop mentoring relationships and to find ways to make their contribution to wider society.
Livery Companies with their roots in ensuring quality, setting standards, giving skills to the next generation and, through charitable giving, caring for those who had fallen on difficult times – whilst bringing people together in fellowship – can provide just these opportunities.
As Liverymen let us make sure that our Companies continue to be relevant – let our heritage inspire their future.
As for the business City, the uncertainties of Brexit continue to be a major concern, but one of the biggest, on-going challenges is attracting and retaining talent.
Diversity and Inclusion aren’t just buzz words. It’s not political correctness gone mad, it’s about future proofing.
Successful businesses reflect the society in which we live.
But if those from a range of social and cultural backgrounds and abilities are to reach their full potential, businesses need to eradicate unconscious bias and other barriers to both entry and progression
In these respects, I’m delighted that the Corporation recently agreed to set up a Diversity Working Group to progress action.
Like a Mars Bar – the City’s for work, rest and play – and this century we’ve seen the City become a 24-7 location.
The development of the Culture Mile is just one example of how the Corporation is ensuring the City flourishes as a vibrant cultural centre.
So why vote for me?
I’m Different – and I can help make a difference.
Like Henry Ford who gave us cars rather than faster horses, I’m a Disruptor – I question the status quo. But as the Royal Wedding showed, you can uphold tradition, mingle old with new and bring something fresh and relevant to all.
I believe in Diversity and Inclusion – I’ve spent the last 30 years actively championing equality of opportunity and since founding Women in the City in 2003 have put my energy into promoting, recognising and rewarding female talent.
Yes, I, too, might be “last century” but I’m also a Sheriff for the 21st Century.
If you want someone who understands the Livery as well as the demands of today’s business and society and can talk knowledgeably about them to a wide audience then give me your vote.
And, finally, as a Welsh woman, a Cymraes, I‘ll bring some hwyl to the City.
Hwyl is about bringing your heart, your soul and your spirit to your endeavours.
And I pledge to bring my whole self – my energy, my passion, my values and my connections to the service of the Lord Mayor, to you, your Livery Companies and to the people who live and work in this great City, a place that I’m proud to call home.
Fellow Liverymen, the future is bright, the future is orange please vote #GwenForSheriff.