CV | SOPHIE FERNANDES, AGE 29
Work: I’m an account manager for an independent communications agency. I look after a mixture of private sector corporate, trade association and public sector clients. Previously, I worked for the Institute of Directors in the Policy Unit.
Became common councilman because:I wanted to be directly involved in local democracy without the party politics. As we are all elected as independents, it enables us to vote independently too. Depending on our stance, we make coalitions with other members on a short-term, issue-basis. A very democratic way of doing things.
This has been beneficial to my career because: It has taught me that not everything can be learnt in work. Extra curricular activities are priceless in building character, expanding knowledge and especially in the City of London, which can be a somewhat humbling experience.
On the council I serve on: The Planning and Transportation, Hampstead Heath Management and Licensing Committees and also represent the City of London as a Trustee on Trust for London (an organisation that provides over £6m a year in grants to charitable organisations).
CV | JAMES TUMBRIDGE, AGE 32
Work: I lead Gowlings’ Intellectual Property Disputes team in London, practicing in the areas of litigation, alternative dispute resolution, intellectual property and commercial law.
Became a common councilman because: I chose to stand because I’ve always been interested in public service and the opportunity to serve the community I work in appealed.
This has been beneficial to my career because: There is no direct relation to being a litigation lawyer, though you do meet very interesting people.
On the council I serve on: I’m a member of the Community and Children’s Services Committee, the Markets Committee, the Licensing Committee, and the Policy & Resources Committee. These mean I have a role in overseeing the provision of health and education services in the City and beyond. I’m very pleased to have played a part in securing new public amenities, made voter registration easier and helped residents and workers resolve issues.
CV | ALEX DEANE, AGE 32
Work: Barrister, former director of the Big Brother Watch think tank, now head of public affairs at Weber Shandwick.
Became an common councilman because: A friend of mine was the incumbent and passed away. He and I had always talked of me joining him on the Council. Instead I ran for and won his seat. I miss him still.
This has been beneficial to my career because: I don't think that there's an explicit career benefit as such – although some of my colleagues kindly seem to be impressed with the responsibilities it carries.
On the council I serve on: The Open Spaces and Markets Committees (we look after lots of places like Hampstead Heath and the little parks in the Square Mile). Markets is fascinating: the City runs the busy New Spitalfields market, a huge fruit and veg market, New Billingsgate, the fish market in Canary Wharf, and Smithfield. As a barrister, although I no longer practice, I'm also really proud to represent the Temple in my Ward, home to many of the London Bar.
CV | MATTHEW RICHARDSON, AGE 30
Work: Barrister, Henderson Chambers
Became an common councilman because: I saw it as an opportunity for some civic service in a field where I felt I could make some level of impact. I am not going to clear the deficit but I can make sure that the streets are clean and the bins are empty.
This has been beneficial to my career because: It's not so much about benefit to my career as it is about benefit to the City as a whole. I know that if the City is a good place to do business I will do more business. Likewise it has definitely changed my outlook on public service which is a very important part of the ethos of the City. In some ways it gets in the way of my work but I must thank my clerks for managing to fit my diary around all of the commitments that I have.
On the council I serve on: Port Health and Environmental Services Committee, that keeps the City shipshape and clean. The Finance Committee which keeps the City's taxes the lowest in the country. The Barbican Centre Board that provides the City with world-class music and theatre and the Honourable the Irish Society that administers charitable trusts in Ulster.