Thomas’s Corner – September 2019

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What did you miss?

The first session of our new year was held in September at the Lansdowne Club. Following some networking, the guests introduced themselves and were welcomed to the meeting. We then started the AGM part of the session.

It’s been a good year, with 13 new members ( and 3 in progress) and a small surplus. Peter Giles talked us through the numbers and summarised next year’s budget – which projects a small loss, although we are working to mitigate this by adding more new members and sponsored venues. I introduced the new committee which has one outstanding vacancy – that of an IT expert. Peter is standing down after 10 years as Treasurer, where he has done a great job of steering the financials and keeping us out of trouble… As a token of our thanks, Peter was given Life Membership of XTEND and we look forward to him continuing to be active in our meetings going forward.

I then talked briefly about the plans for next year and Thomas introduced the speakers and panels. We are still finalising the details, but intend to have 3 panels on key topics and already have an interesting range of speakers lined up. We are also actively moving forward with our partnering – LHH Penna will be hosting us in February and we are planning a joint session with the Scottish Govt at Scotland House, in addition to our long-standing partnership with Fox Williams.

The speaker for the evening was Craig Hutchison. Craig has created an alcohol-free gin product and launched it in 9 countries in the space of 2 years. He took us through his story and the underlying values and purpose that drives him. He also gave us a preview of some new products in the pipeline – a dark spirit ( which looked suspiciously like whisky) and a rum product – both of which are also alcohol free, tapping into the rapidly increasing market for innovative, high end drinks products. We always provide our speakers with a bottle of wine to thank them – which seemed odd following a presentation on non-alcoholic drinks, but we set it as a challenge for Craig to come up with a replacement. If he can do it with spirits – why not with wine ?

The rest of the evening was taken up with informal discussions between the members and guests, well supplied with food and wine by the Lansdowne club. It was a great start to the year, and set the scene well for the remainder of our 2019-2020 programme.

Our next meeting is on the 7th October at the National Liberal Club, where Andrew McLeod will be introducing us to GeoPolitics.

I look forward to seeing many of you then.

Calum Byers
Chair, XTEND