Alumni blog: What are you looking forward to in 2022?

In this guest post, Katie Randall, Associate Director for City Economics at Arup and Future of London Alumni Rep, reflects on 2021 and looks ahead to what’s in store for the rest of 2022.

The month of January is named after the roman god, Janus; a two-faced god able to look back into the past and forward into the future at the same time. He was the god of gates and doors; the liminal space between what has passed and what is to come. And so it is probably no surprise that we use the month of January as a time to take stock of the past year and think about what the future should hold. As the month of January draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on two key questions that have come to mind for me:

  1. What were you grateful for in 2021?
  2. What are you looking forward to in 2022?

What were you grateful for in 2021?
As an antipodean expat living in London, my family and I have kept a list of life events to celebrate when we are back together again. Like many people, that list is now over a dozen items long: real, important experiences – decade birthdays, a school captain, an inter-country move, even a wedding – that we haven’t felt we are able to celebrate properly because we weren’t all together.

Much like my family, FoL has been through some significant milestones since the pandemic began as well: a 10 year anniversary, the milestone of reaching of 500 (now over 620!) Alumni Network members, the establishment of a GM Leaders programme, the completion of a three year council-led housing programme of best practice, and plenty more besides.

I am particularly proud of the burgeoning CityBites podcast series, and the excellent virtual roundtables and events that we’ve held over the past few years, the swift adaptation to virtual leadership courses (speaking as a guinea pig from LP7, the transition felt almost seamless!), and the focus on supporting the recovery.

What are you looking forward to in 2022?
I have a couple of hopes for the rest of 2022. Firstly, renewed, reliable connections: Steven Johnson’s Where Good Ideas Come From talks about the importance of large networks to enable innovation and the evolution of ideas, and the need for creative collisions in order to facilitate discoveries. The concept is that many innovations – cultural, scientific, technological – have occurred when the chance to collide with another person or idea could prompt a follow on lightbulb moment. The easiest way to enable this is through physical adjacency. The #Alumni500 event in October 2021 was a brilliant example of this, and I’m looking forward to more of that in 2022.

Secondly, more impact. The challenge with working in a home office environment is that the impact your work has can be harder to understand. Because you do what you do each day, whose life is made better? I’m looking forward to once again being able to tangibly see the difference our work projects are making, and the benefits that the FoL Alumni events bring.

And finally, better inclusion. 2022 has to be more inclusive, more diverse, and more representative than the past – and I’m looking forward to initiatives like the Emerging Talent Programme to embed greater diversity within our industry and to continue to mentor the next generation of London leaders.

What were you grateful for in 2021?
What are you looking forward to in 2022?

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