Until 2006 there was tradition for British ambassadors to write a valedictory dispatch before leaving a posting for circulation among their Foreign Office colleagues. These parting shots, in which the gloves of diplomacy were removed, were meant to be candid – and were often extremely unflattering – accounts of the country where they had been stationed and the politicians and people therein.
With the advent of mass electronic communication between diplomats and a tendency for such documents to get leaked, the tradition ended eight years ago – which is a great shame because some of them were hilarious, if more than a little damaging to international relations.
I bring all this up because this is my final dispatch to you and I mean to be candid. Before you get too worried, however, and start looking up numbers for defamation lawyers, I can happily say I have largely positive things to say.
I am leaving Leasing Life after three years and 36 issues with a huge appreciation for this industry and sincere affection for the many practitioners I’ve had the good fortune to meet through work. I have made genuine friends and forged professional relationships which I hope and believe will outlast this posting.
Moreover, I have learnt a great deal about an incredibly important and, to me, previously unknown industry. I would like to express my gratitude to all those in the industry who took the time to speak with me when I was starting out – and when inexperience was no excuse – and took me through how their businesses and the industry worked, who helped me find the really important stories, identify the exciting angles, and who, every once in a while, let me in on a juicy secret.
Like my younger self, the majority of people not directly involved in the lending industry simply don’t know about leasing. I know that, collectively, the industry is aware that educating people about what they do and the impact it does and can have on the European market is paramount and is acting to change that.
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I feel I am able to say under my editorship Leasing Life has strived to do its bit in this regard and help publicise the efforts of various bodies in the industry and the good work lessors do to fund Europe’s businesses. I know my in my absence the Leasing Life team will strive to do the same, so please extend them he same courtesy you showed me and help them to get to know what you do.
The industry needs more than a great trade journal, however. If it really wants to get the message out, I believe the industry needs to talk, not just to one another, not to government, not even just to businesses, but to individual members of the public.
The business person who doesn’t know about leasing exists outside a sales call and beyond his or her bank relationship, and leasing should tell its story to the individual member of the public too.
I am reminded of that alleged quote by Bill Gates: "If I was down to my last dollar, I’d spend it on PR." Communication with the person on the street cannot be underestimated and the leasing industry has a great story to tell and great people to tell it – it just needs to start telling it to more of the general public.
I will be keeping my eye on the leasing industry, but I hope to hear about it without having to look too hard and to see it flourish.
And with that, I’ll say so long. It has been a great few years and I wish you all the very, very best.
Thank you and good luck.
Grant Collinson, editor
P.S. You can read some of the both fun and alarming ambassadorial dispatches in the book Parting Shots by Matthew Parris and Andrew Bryson. It’s worth a read – they are much better than mine although often a lot less friendly.