This is the next blog in the continuing series of interviews with top-echelon and renowned professionals. In this blog, I interview Charles Hughes: International Strategist & Thought Leader, Chairman, Board Director, Master Information Technologists' Company, Founder eManagement Ltd., Founding Chair IP3, Past President British Computer Society, Recipient - Bill Gates Influencers Roundtable Award & IFIP Outstanding Service Award, Council Member UK Parliamentary IT Committee, Past Council Member of the Institute for the Management of Information Systems.
At the WCC where I participated with Charles, I gained added insights about how Charles is continuing to shape history through his remarkable contributions including the ITC receiving Royal Charter, leading the creation of the IT Profession through IP3, thought leadership at the IFIP World Computing Congress (WCC) IP3 Day, and as founding council director of the Global Industry Council (IP3-GIC). You will hear much more in this interview so take the time to listen!
Here’s some background on the ITC…
Bill Gates, and Tim Berners-Lee are counted amongst the honorary members of the the Information Technologists’ Company (ITC), led by Master Charles Hughes, the 100th Livery Company of the City of London. ITC received this special honour and recognition by Royal Charter with less than 1000 Royal Charters awarded in the last 800 years. Charles Hughes as Master of the Information Technologists’ Company was the focal point for the 2010 “great honour” and noted the “tremendous prestige” in receiving the Royal Charter. As Charles noted during his speech, “…information and communication technology is ubiquitous and underpins everything we do,” and he affirmed that receiving the Royal Charter provided clear demonstration that the efforts of the ITC matter.
Charles Hughes, The Master of ITC, with the Earl of Wessex at the Mansion House Banquet
Enjoy the interview!
Charles founded eManagement Ltd. in 1999 providing strategic and project services to government and the IT industry. His 43 year career in IT, following a mathematics degree at the University of Manchester, began with ICL where he held various director level appointments. As Project Director with Her Majesty's Government in the 1990's he developed and launched the Information Society Initiative.
Charles is Past President (2005-2006) of the British Computer Society. Following a period as Vice President he was elected Deputy President in 2004. He led the team which developed the Professionalism in IT Program, which he championed and sponsored, and he has been deeply involved with the Society's governance and membership developments.
On the international scene he promoted professionalism in IT and was the founder and first Chairman of the International Professional Partnership, IP3. He was presented with an Influencers Roundtable award by Bill Gates in 2008 and in 2009 received an Outstanding Service Award from the International Federation for Information Processing.
Charles has been a board director and chairman of IT companies in Australia, Germany, UK and US. His communication skills are widely used on behalf of clients and voluntary organizations and he has successfully guided cultural and organizational change across government and the private sector.
Charles is Master of the Information Technologists' Company, the 100th livery company of the City of London, Council Member of the Parliamentary IT Committee, past Council Member of the Institute for the Management of Information Systems and past Chairman of the Real Time Club. He is married to Beverley and enjoys sport, food, travel and philately.
A book has been produced about the presentation of the Royal Charter, the online preview is at: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1479323
To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link
Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic
Can you talk about your experiences in receiving the international Influencers Award from Bill Gates and your IFIP Outstanding Service Award?
"....Both of them came completely out of the blue. I have been working in professionalism programs in IT for about five years now, starting when I was to become the president of the British Computer Society....I'd been pursuing that and got involved with the International Federation promoting professionalism programs (that turned into IP3 - International Professional Practice Program). As a result of that work I was surprised and delighted to be invited to join Bill Gates for lunch in Florida during which he presented me with the International Influencers Award...."
Can you describe your many public service roles and their impact?
"....I've always taken the view that professionalism demands that people help others, particularly in an industry like ours which has been changing so quickly and will continue to do so....Getting involved with professional institutions and other organizations is one of the things that I've been pleased to do for about the past twenty years...."
As the founding chair of IP3, can you further define IP3? Can you also provide an update of their current activities?
"....Sometimes there is a misunderstanding about professionalism and of course it is professional knowledge, know-how, expertise and experience in applying that skill and knowledge and expertise....But it is significantly more than that, it is about people recognizing that if they are a professional then decisions and judgments they make are their personal responsibility....It's also directly related to ethics, having a very strong code of conduct and abiding by that and undertaking and committing to continuous professional development and so on....IP3 is not a membership organization. It is there solely to assist and support societies, institutions and institutes all the way around the world to develop their own memberships, their own professional programs. It offers an accreditation service, support and guidance, and has been developing quite nicely over the past few years...."
Can you comment further on the need for IT professionalism, (among employers, government, academia, etc.) [see: www.ipthree.org]?
"....It has to do with the original design of systems and their implementation....We need to be able to implement, explain and understand more about what it is that we can achieve and cannot achieve, especially with developments in cloud computing, social networking, etc. The rate of change has been phenomenal just to see Facebook with 500 million members - a huge influence on what the world is doing...."
What are some of the objectives of your company, eManagement Ltd.?
"....I formed eManagement over ten years ago to be an advisory organization...I've done a lot of work over the years working for both the supply side and central government on programs and projects to get common understanding and common views....I've also been involved in professionalism programs and one of my roles is advisor and mentor to organizations and companies...."
Are there some key lessons that you can share from all your roles?
"....I believe that a proper and full understanding of professionalism in our industry is an absolute necessity....Give something back...."
Now, let's talk about the Information Technologist's Company Receiving Royal Charter.
Charles describes the ceremony and process of this significant historical event and explains the roots and ethos of livery companies.
What is your role as Master of the Company?
"....The Master is equivalent in many organizations to the role of the president. It's an entirely honorary role and one is elected....It ranges across everything from ceremonial representation of the company at various events to communicating and presenting. There is the role of the chairman....and also an operational role....As well as all the operational and administrative activities, there are also some wonderful events that you attend and fantastic people that you meet...."
Associated with all of this are there some honorary members?
"....We are very fortunate....Bill Gates....Vinton Cerf....Sir Tim Berners-Lee...."
Please provide your views on balancing the old and the new, present and past?
"...Four principles of the livery movement to which we absolutely accept and adhere: Support for our trade and industry....Charitable work....Education.... Fellowship.... They have served us very well...."
What does "giving something back" mean to you and what would you recommend to others? How does this all relate to education?
"....Let me give you examples of the work that the company has done because it paints a picture...."
What do you do for enjoyment?
"....My family is pretty much at the top of the list...."