Power 50 now pulling in from a wider field
Jul 30 2009 By Matt Tayor
Being a judge of Power 50 is a strange experience. As Future chairman, you make the panel by right. As with my predecessors, it was therefore my first – and last time. It’s also the last job a Future chairman does in office, so you don’t have too much worry about being radical. You also have almost a full year looking out from the chair to draw on and to make the judgments required on the day.
With three years now under our belt, we can take a little step back to assess whether Power 50 is doing the job Birmingham Future and Birmingham Post set out to achieve.
The 2009 list is more inclusive than those which appeared before and is capturing a broader spectrum of people.
However, it is not as diverse or as deep as I would like. It is still not reflective enough of the so called “minorities” including people from BME communities as well as women. Perhaps more to the point for Future, it still features a disappointing number of younger people.
There are some good examples of young entrepreneurs making a name for themselves in their respective fields. I would like to see more emerging leaders in the list next year.
This year’s list has benefited from the use of ‘new’ media, such as forums on the Post’s website, Twitter and Linked In as well as good old fashioned email. I think we can build 2009’s foundations and utilise these platforms and networks to uncover more ‘invisible’ leaders.
As I have said before on these pages, creating the Power 50 list is more of an art than a science. Our purpose is not to place those with the most power and budgets into a league table, but to make a statement about who does and who could influence the future of Birmingham.
At the same time, we try to ensure what emerges is based on sound judgment. It is difficult for young leaders to make it onto or high up the list when one criterion is ‘achievement and legacy.’
Meanwhile, those in the top jobs do not always make it as marks are also awarded for ‘potential.’
In the end, Power 50 was created, in part, to create conversations around the many forms of leadership needed to ensure Birmingham prospers. I would almost be disappointed if anybody agreed with every person and the place they hold in the list being published now!
Dermot Finch was an inspired choice as chair, bringing a real clarity of thought and an independent perspective to the role, backed by a forensic knowledge of what makes for strong city leaders.
Our other judges also made rich and colourful contributions to the proceedings. My thanks go to them all, as well as our partner in the Birmingham Post – especially editor Marc Reeves – and our host Gary Taylor from Argent for providing the backdrop to the announcement in the wonderful Eleven Brindleyplace and its Meetingspace [sic] facility.
* Matt Taylor, is Immediate Past Chairman, of Birmingham Future