Sainsbury Management Fellows

President’s Speech – David Falzani 2011

Our vision as an organisation is to promote and demonstrate the value of a combined business and engineering education to improve the performance of the UK economy. I believe that SMF has taken another important step forward in the last twelve months in trying to make a real difference in this goal.
We have been outward looking, distributing our publication ‘Re-engineering the board to manage risk’ to a variety of HR directors in blue chip companies, challenging perceptions of how skill profiles that include an understanding of how things are designed, made, and successfully delivered add value to board room interactions.
We recently held an HR Directors roundtable to discuss best practice on recruiting directors for the management of risk and find ways to shape opinion in this key area.
The UK is still the 6th largest manufacturer in the world and the sector contributes enormous value to the UK economy. Our Secretary James Raby and I attended the Future of UK Manufacturing Summit held at 1 Birdcage Walk in March What struck me was just how many of the critical success factors of manufacturing today lie in the arena of good commercial management rather than classical engineering areas. In other words, the importance of brand development, understanding the customer decision process, strategic development, good financial management, and sales and marketing. This topic is in the heartland of the SMF and I hope we will develop this theme over the next year.
Internally, I’m pleased to report that 70% of all SMFs participated in a variety of events this year.
The SMF Executive Director Mentoring Programme has progressed, all 6 executive mentors from FTSE350 companies remain committed to the programme, and we are grateful for their support. We are currently in the process of matching another group of SMFs with mentors, this time engaged in entrepreneurial and finance career paths with the much valued help of Peter Lever of Heidrick and Struggles.

We have also launched a new website and social networking platform to further promote our aims and help the exchange of ideas and information.

I would like all our SMFs as individuals to consider how they can contribute to furthering the improvement of the UK economy by participating in some of our outward reaching programmes such as our mentoring scheme to young engineers and our start-up business review panels.

And , I would just like to say a brief word of thanks to all of the people who made this year’s achievements happen – Our Treasurer Alpesh Amin who has led the work into incorporation and becoming a self sustaining group, our Secretary James Raby – who has led the skills and HR pack initiative, Julian Fagandini – who continues to lead the Executive Board Mentoring Programme, John Moore – who took the initiative to organise a networking event in the Southwest region, and our other Committee members who have worked over the last 12 months with amazing energy, resourcefulness and creativity – Jo Hallas, Julian Morley, Ernie Poku and Paul Dolan. Also, my sincere thanks to all the Sainsbury Management Fellows who have participated in events, interview panels and who have written articles or spoken to the media on our behalf, and to our Comms Director, Cathy Breeze, who works tirelessly, often in the background and skilfully enables everything else, corralling us from our day jobs.

My thanks also to the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and our friends from the Royal Academy of Engineering, EngineeringUK, and other institutions for their continued support and encouragement. Finally, I would like to thank our Patron, Lord Sainsbury, without whom none of this would be possible.

I am delighted to introduce Lord Sainsbury, who has graciously agreed to say a few words.


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The Sainsbury Management Fellows is registered as a charity: Engineers in Business Fellowship, charity number 1147203 and is a company limited by guarantee : 07807250