Civic Class of 2017

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As 2017 draws to a close it is undoubtedly a time for reflection. That means media outlets across the globe will be summing up 2017 in a weird and wonderful selection of countdowns and roundups.


As Mayor of the Month has now run for a full calendar year I can finally indulge you with a look back at the civic class of 2017.


Let’s meet the civic leaders that have made it as Mayor of the Month. Or Lord Mayor of the Month. Or even Chairman of the Month.


Helen Pighills


Helen proves you don’t have to be a promotion hungry, ego maniac to be mayor. Her understated style shows that there are different ways to be a civic leader. But she’s keen to remind you:


“You look a bit silly trying to hide while wearing a big gold chain”.


What should we learn?


True you can’t hide under a rock but you really don’t need to be Donald Trump.


Full article here.


John Archer


John Archer was a pioneer. He was the first black mayor in London and for some time people believed he was the first black mayor in the UK. That honour goes to Allen Glaser Minns of Thetford but John believed it. In his inauguration address he said:


“It is a victory such as has never been gained before. I am a man of colour. I am proud to be. I would not change my colour if I could”.


John was clearly proud to be a pioneer but what’s more important, he was proud to be himself.


What should we learn?


Be yourself.


Full article here.


Darryn Causby


Darryn was the first Lord Mayor of Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon. The newly formed council needed someone to go out into the community and tell people about it.


When I asked Darryn where his drive for communicating the vision of the new council came from he said “it was a conscious effort on my part”. It was not a part of a strategy that came from the council’s leader or CEO. It was something that Darryn saw needed doing and he did it.


What should we learn?


You should be the voice of the council.


Full article here.


Mimi Harker


By getting out and meeting people Mimi acted as the connection between her community and her council. This is one of the most important things a civic leader can do. Or as Mimi puts it:


“I have done my very best to attend every event I have been invited to because as a council, we value everything the community does and enjoy celebrating their successes with them.” @MimiHarker #CivicLeader


What should we learn?


You can show people that the council is at the heart of the community.


Full article here.


Elizabeth Garret Anderson


Elizabeth Garret Anderson was the first female mayor in the UK.


And just for good measure she was the first woman to qualify as physician and a surgeon in Britain. She co-founded the first hospital staffed by women. She was the first woman to be admitted to the BMA. She was the first female dean of a medical school. I could go on.


What should we learn?


Work hard, be persistent and never take no for an answer.


Full article here.


Sebastian Field


It’s refreshing to hear a civic leader talking about turning down the posh events to visit small community groups. That’s the way it should be done but sadly, it often isn’t. Sebastian explains it like this:


“It’s not about the swanky dinners – the attraction of those wears thin very quickly.”


The gala events are not where you can have the impact. It’s often the smaller, less glamorous events where you can really make a difference.


What should we learn?


Don’t do it for the catering. Do it for the impact you can have on your community.


Full article here.


Takeshi Araki


After Takeshi Araki survived a nuclear bomb he got involved in politics to make sure it never happened again. The Mayors for Peace programme is his legacy.


“There can be no survival for any without peaceful coexistence for all.”


There is nothing without peaceful coexistence. Maybe you don’t think there is much you can do about that. Start by joining Mayors for Peace, more details here. Then take it from there. You never know where you may end up.


What should we learn?


Peace is something we can all work towards.


Full article here.


David Atwell


David had a brain tumour while he was Mayor of Newport. Most people would wave a little white flag and hand back the chain. Not David.


Six days after he left hospital he attended an engagement. In my book that makes him a remarkable human being and an example to us all.


What should we learn?


However bad it seems, never give up.


Full article here.


Alex Maskey


The good mayors can bring their communities closer together. Alex Maskey helped to bring the most divided community in the UK together.


“I think it was criminal that, as a council, we had nobody working to bring the two communities together.”


By understanding what the mayor should do, by using it to its full potential he had a huge and lasting impact on his community.


What should we learn?


By following Alex example, you can achieve something truly important.


Full article here.


Mary Donaldson


Mary Donaldson was the first woman to navigate the treacherous path to becoming Lord Mayor of the City of London. Yet she was disdainful of anyone who saw her as a trail blazing pioneer of women’s rights.


In spite of that, if Mary proves anything, it’s that equality of opportunity is a battle we need to keep fighting. She never lived to see another female Lord Mayor, let alone one who was black, Asian, gay, trans or disabled.


What should we learn?


Every area needs firsts, but pioneers should only be the start of it. We must keep fighting and we must win.


Full article here. 


Carl Austin-Behan


Carl is the best Lord Mayor Manchester has seen in a generation.


There are so many things he did. You need to catch the whole interview with him by registering here. Lets just take one way he made the role so much more relevant:


“There is nothing wrong with the Lord Mayor turning up in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt”


Being a part of your community means dressing like them.


What should we learn?


You can be a modern and relevant mayor, together we can start a tradition for today.


Full article here.


What a year!

Duncan Bhaskaran BrownCivic Class of 2017

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