The Chair

“The point is,” opined Neville “It is essential we consider the needs of all our stakeholders”

Helen switched off.

The meeting had been going on for hours. Or, at least, it seemed that way to Helen.  Not wishing to draw attention to what she was doing, she sneakily checked the time on her phone. They had started at 10.30 and it was now almost lunchtime.  Her stomach was beginning to warn her that it needed sustenance.  Neville was still droning on.

“On a point of order, Chair”

Oh, God, thought Helen, if Gordon got started on issues arising from the Companies Act they would be here all day.  Apart from her grumbling tum she remembered that she had promised Sue that she would pick up little Marmaduke from the nursery on her way past.

A loud voice from the end of the board room table cut through Gordon’s point of order.

“My learned colleague’s point is all very well,” interjected Simon, “but it is equally incumbent upon us to consider the issue of sustainability.”

Oh, do shut up, Simon! Why don’t they just all get back to the main point, Helen groaned inwardly. We could wrap this whole thing up in a few minutes if they all stopped grandstanding and stuck to the point.

“Sustainability is rightly high on our list of responsibilities,” chipped in Samantha, “but unarguably equality and diversity must simply be higher up the social agenda.”

Samantha was a duplicitous old cow. Oh, yes, she thought, Samantha had publicly supported Helen’s application for the position.  But she knew full well from several loyal friends that in private she had spread the word that she was totally unsuitable.

Her stomach growled.  It was one of her fasting days and a breakfast smoothie of lemon juice and grated ginger could only go so far. Please, move on.

“Order, order” broke through Neville’s voice once more attempting to get the meeting back on the straight and narrow. “These are, of course, all valid points, which we shall take one by one in a structured manner in the fullness of time.”

Helen became more and more frustrated.  She had applied for the role in the hope of making a difference but all their meetings just seemed to get bogged down in time wasting posturing.

“Absolutely correct” quickly broke in Bill “but we mustn’t overlook the subject of our carbon footprint…of course, I’m sure that you have this on your own list, Chair.”

Helen had some sympathy for Bill; he was always trying to fit in and support Neville.  Sadly, he was often treated with what seemed like condescension by the others.  However, time was of the essence – why couldn’t they see that?

“I’m sure that for the benefit of the whole board,” came back Simon in his most supercilious tone, “it would be appropriate, through the Chair, of course, if I perhaps remind everyone of the risks if we fail to meet our carbon footprint obligations under the Paris Agreement..”

Helen’s stomach growled again. Surely someone could hear.  If she had known that it would come to all this time wasting she would never have applied for the role in the first place.  Just get on with it!

“This is no time for arrogance.” Shot back Samantha “Anyway, you should check your privilege.  Going forward, we must do all we can to reach out to under privileged minorities to ensure that they are given equal access to our plans.”

“Samantha, my dear,” drawled Simon in the same infuriating tone, “I fear you’re somewhat missing the point…”

“For heaven’s sake!” burst out Helen, now bored and frustrated beyond all possibility of tolerance and restraint, “we are the trustees of the Studley cum Hardly Village Preservation Society.  The point is we are gathered here to agree the plans for the summer fete not a bloody takeover of Tesco!”

Author: Tony


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