A year-end reflection by GRLI Board Chair Claire Maxwell
Around the world, all of us stand on the brink of a New Year, a time that experience tells us is so often filled with all manner of hopes, intentions, concerns and questions. For me, the space between one year and the next is a magical period as one thing ends and another waits to emerge; it is a time for reflection, recognition and resolution. Beginnings and endings.
In terms of the GRLI, I will be reflecting upon and recognising the immense amount of work undertaken by those close to the core: Anders Aspling as Founding Secretary General, Arnold Smit as Chair of the Guardians, and Claire Sommer, who has recently joined the team on a part time basis to support our communications. Lastly and by no means least is John North our Executive Director. He has worked unstintingly over this last year to ensure that the GRLI, building on the strengths of its clear purpose and committed partnerships, continues to push the boundaries of what it means to be Globally Responsible in the ways in which we live, lead and learn.
Supported by our strategic partners, EFMD, AACSB and the UNGC, we are pushing boundaries in relation to developing innovative ways of relating and connecting in the spheres of management education, business and the wellbeing economy. As an expression of this collective inquiry, we are exploring and prototyping different ways of collaborating, community creating and sustaining that are fit for a 21st century context. This is reflected in the thoughtful approach towards building a closer alliance with The Academy for Business in Society (see our previous newsletter). Another example is the Deans and Directors Cohort that will next meet in Vermont in March 2019. Together, we will take another step towards co-creating agile and relationally robust communities focused on taking action which reaps tangible benefits in the spheres of ‘I’, ‘WE and ‘ALL OF US’.
Our Governance structures continue to support and also constructively challenge our direction of travel, ensuring we stay true to our core values and principles but do not stray away from the difficulties and critical questions that the urgency of our times require. Huge thanks must go to the Guardians of the GRLI: Jean-Christophe Carteron, Kedge Business School; Vanessa Duckenfield, Bettys & Taylors Group; Carlo Giardinetti, Franklin University Switzerland; Anne Keränen, Martti Ahtisaari Institute — Oulu Business School; Chris Laszlo, Weatherhead School of Management (CWRU); Michaela Rankin, Monash Business School, Monash University; and Arnold Smit, Chair of the GRLI Guardians, University of Stellenbosch Business School. As the beating heart of the Partnership, our Guardians ensure the voices and views of the Partners are heard and acted upon at both an operational and strategic level.
In terms of our Board, change is on the way as we invite nominations for new Board Members by 24 January to take office in June 2019. Whilst the role of the Board must, by its very nature, ensure the GRLI is governed with integrity and rigour, we again push the boundaries by inquiring into and exploring different approaches to governing and being governed for the future. I very much look forward to hearing from those of you who want to join in co-creating and guiding the GRLI in a challenging, exciting and meaningful strategic direction.
There is no GRLI without its community and the most vital recognition is with you. As Partners and Associates, you are committed to Global Responsibility in how you live, lead and learn; to collaborating so that we may go further together than we can alone; and are our fierce peers in raising and working with the difficult questions for which there are no easy answers. I know the core team, the Guardians, and the Board remain resolute in their intention to ensure the GRLI continues to develop as an experimentally active, agile, partnering platform.
As many of you may know, I’m a firm advocate of action leading to hope as well as the other way around. In thinking about this message, I re-read some of Vaclav Havel’s writing on hope. To end, I would like to share one verse which for me summarises my feelings and hopes for the GRLI and for 2019:
‘It is hope, above all, that gives us strength to live
and to continually try new things, even in conditions that seem as hopeless as ours do, here and now. In the face of this absurdity, life is too precious a thing to permit its devaluation by living pointlessly, emptily,
without meaning, without love and, finally, without hope.’
Thank you for being part of the journey so far, where-ever you may be as the New Year breaks. On behalf of the GRLI, I send you the warmest of wishes as we look forward to taking critical and hopeful next steps together into 2019.
Chair: GRLI Foundation
Claire Maxwell has worked as an independent consultant nationally and internationally for nearly 20 years. In 2005 she became Oasis School of Human Relations’ first Associate Director, before joining the Directors’ Group in 2011. She returned to the role of Associate Director in 2017. She serves as the Chair of the GRLI Board.