Sainsbury Management Fellows

The President’s Speech – David Falzani 2015

We have had an exciting year and I recommend looking at our new annual report, which details, amongst other things, our excellent Bitcoin debate, our sponsorship of a competition at Nottingham University Business School to encourage more engineering undergraduates to take a business elective – a concept we hope will prove to be scalable across many universities, and of course, our fundraising activities.


I’d like to give you a very brief update on our Hard Hat index. The index is designed to highlight how the engineering community is representing itself in terms of image and emotional value. The image of engineering has never been so critical. Generation Y and Z are far more image and brand conscious than any before. This image of engineering, and its emotional value, is therefore vital in its ability to attract, inspire, recruit and, crucially, retain bright young people.


We had hoped the Hard Hat Index would start a dialogue about the image of engineering. We were therefore pleased to see an increasing number of articles on the importance of changing the image of engineering, and we like to think that our Index has had some part to play.


While we do not yet have the full 12 months data for the 2015 report, the number of hard hats portrayed in advertising, by companies and institutions, has dropped by an impressive 38%. However, the level in editorial content has increased by 36%, so there remains much work to do.  The full results will be published in June.  I know that several of you have strong views on the importance of this issue and I’d welcome a conversation on this topic.

Last year I reported that as a newly registered charity, we had formed an Fundraising Committee and we were finally in a position to accept gifts.


Those of you who have read the annual report will know that, including gift aid and the most generous matching of funds from Lord Sainsbury,  we had raised just over £1million pounds. I hope you will agree with me that this spectacular success underlines the values of the scheme and the way it has affected people’s lives.  So, it is with even greater pleasure that I can announce tonight that we have our first Platinum donor, Fellow David Weston, who has graciously donated £200,000.  And with Lord Sainsbury’s generous matching, our total now stands at £1.340,000.   Our fundraising success is thanks to our generous SMF donors and also to the hard work of our fundraising committee.  I would like to commend them on their excellent work.


I would like to ask all our Fellows to consider how they can get involved in what we do. We require members for a Finance Committee to ensure effective management of our new and exciting  Endowment Fund.  Also, there are opportunities to get involved in outbound communications and devising events such as our successful Bitcoin round table. You can also participate in some of our outward reaching programmes, such as our mentoring scheme to young engineers, our support of the Royal Academy’s ELA scheme, or by writing a blog for our website.

The Fellowship is very much coming of age. I, and my committee colleagues have found these activities to be rewarding and interesting at many levels.  To become an active part of this exciting phase, please contact me or Cathy Breeze, Director of Communications on


I would like to say a word of thanks to all of the people who made this year’s achievements happen – our Treasurer James Raby, our Secretary Paul Dolan, and our other trustees Henning von Spreckelsen and Nigel Thomas.


I’d like to thank the fundraising team for its  amazing work: Imoni Akpofure, Paul Dolan, Mike Gansser-Potts, Laurence Knight, who has come all the way from Connecticut, Adam Locke, James Raby, Richard Smith, Mark Spence, Sonia Home and our fundraising Chairman, Simon Bonini.


I would also like to express our appreciation to Fellows who have supported ELA and other events: Mike Estelle, Adam Bazire, Chris Berridge, John Callaghan, Sam Cockerill, Andrew Jones, Nick Laird, Andy Layton, Ian Peerless, James Raby, Robert Rasbach, Mark Spence, Ed Snow and Henning von Spreckelsen.


Also, my sincere thanks to all the Fellows who have participated in other events, or interview panels, or who have written articles, or spoken to the media on our behalf, and of course to our Comms Director, Cathy Breeze, who makes everything happen, with seamless and assured precision.


My thanks also to the Gatsby Charitable Foundation and our friends from the Royal Academy of Engineering and other institutions, for their continued support and encouragement.


Finally, I would like to thank our Patron, Lord Sainsbury, without whose vision and ongoing support, none of this would have been possible.


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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