Dear Members and Friends,

Thank you to the many members, guests and friends that have dropped us a line after the BEI Awards and other events last week. I am delighted that you seem to have all enjoyed the new format we adopted at the awards this year and the engagement of the entire team. It’s always good to put a face to a name.

This week we hosted Jon Thompson, CEO and Permanent Secretary at HM Revenue & Customs who provided many fascinating insights into the ongoing changes in the department. Hugely informative, Jon described the digital transformation taking place, the changes in skills and recruitment and outlined his ambition that this will make public engagement easier and quicker, all the while wrestling with the big questions created by Brexit. Excellent session enjoyed by all.

Each year we host many of our returning Ambassadors and Heads of Mission from around the world during the FCO’s Leadership Week, this year starting w/c 8 May. We now have seven sessions open for booking via the BEI Events Calendar. Places are limited and sure to go quickly so do sign up early. A highlight is sure to be afternoon tea with the British High Commissioner, Menna Rawling, from key Commonwealth member, Australia. This will be Menna’s first visit to Strategy International and we hope that many of you will be able to join us.

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This is a short week with Easter providing a welcome long weekend. We hope that all of you find time to relax with family and friends. The office will be closed from 1600 today until 0800 on Tuesday 18 April when we will welcome a number of you to a Future Group session on Presentation Skills and host dinner with Chief of the Defence Staff, Sir Stuart Peach on “Creating a British Military fit for the modern global threat”.  

We also have a few spaces available next Thursday to hear Penny Mordaunt MP, Minister of State for the Disabled at DWP, discuss initiatives for “Improving employment opportunities for the UK’s disabled – working with the private sector”.  If you are not attending any of these sessions but would like to, please contact Sue Watkins.

Best wishes to all and a Happy Easter!

Tracey Smith - Deputy Chair, Strategy International