Open doors to the profession, says Master
Written by David Worsfold on 03rd November 2023
The Installation Dinner for our second Lady Master, Claire Burrell, at Mercers’ Hall on 2 November gave 160 members and guests an opportunity to hear more about her twin themes for the year: Accessibility and Life-long Learning.
“At Common Hall last month I referred to a quote by William Blake and I think it’s worth repeating here for you:
‘There are knowns …. and there are unknowns and in between ….there are the doors.’
“I spoke about how we must continue to demystify our profession and make it accessible for all – by opening some of those doors.
“The roles in our profession are so varied, exciting and stretching BUT only if you know. so, our challenges are: How do we advocate for our profession better? How do we let individuals know we are here and that we have diverse roles, not just the classic underwriter, broker, claims?
“Part of my own focus and mission is to constantly ask “How do we make our profession more accessible”.
She challenged everyone to ask themselves how they got where there are today, remembering who helped them and what doors they had to open and had openned for them.
Her guest speaker was Her Honour Wendy Joseph KC, Master of the Worshipful Company of Pewterers and, until her retirement in March 2022, one of the 16 permanent judges at the Old Bailey.
She took up the Master’s themes, saying that it is important to focus on people’s skills in our fast-moving world and look at how opportunities can be created to help everybody fulfil their potential.
She also entertained the members and guests with some of the stories about how she overcame the prejudice against women barristers and judges during her career, reflecting that when she joined the criminal bench at the Old Bailey in 2012 she was the only woman among 16 judges. When she retired ten years later there were more women than men on the bench.
Junior Warden Sara Fardon welcomed all the guests on behalf of the Worshipful Company of Insurers.
• The Annual Service that precedes the Installation Dinner was held in the Mercers' Chapel with our new Honorary Chaplain, Father James Titley, presiding for the first time.
• Earlier in the day at the Court Meeting five new Liverymen and Liverywomen were clothed by Master Claire Burrell.