Welcome to episode 8 of "How did I get here? Discover Economics" with Dame Sharon White.
Dame Sharon Michele White DBE is a British businesswoman. She is currently Chair of the John Lewis Partnership, having previously held a variety of roles in the Civil Service. She was the Chief Executive of the British media regulator Ofcom from March 2015 to November 2019, and was Second Permanent Secretary at HM Treasury from 2013 to 2015. She was the first black person, and the second woman, to become a Permanent Secretary at the Treasury.
Thank you so much for joining us on discover economics. How did I get here? So just who or what is an economist? There's an economic lens for every topic that you can possibly think of. The economists in our podcast are motivated by a desire to change the world, and their belief that better data and better understanding are key to achieving this change. I'm very excited and enthusiastic about learning more about what economics can offer us as a society. And what are the options when it comes to careers for young people. It's been an absolute delight to do this series. And to learn more to indulge my noisiness and to get to ask so many questions. The questions I'm hoping you as listeners will also have wanted to ask to thank you so much for listening. In today's episode, we have Dame Sharon white Dame Shaun White dB. He is chair of the john lewis partnership, becoming the partnership sixth Chairman in February 2020. Sharon moved from Ofcom, the UK is communications regulator where she served as chief executive. Before joining Ofcom Sharon was second Permanent Secretary at the Treasury responsible for overseeing the public finances. She also held board level positions at the Ministry of Justice and the Department for International Development, working as an advisor at the Prime Minister's policy unit and in Washington, DC as a senior economist at the World Bank. Welcome, Sharon. It's lovely to meet you. Thank you, thank you for having me. What we'd love to learn is what were you like at school, or first? Well, it's great to be part of this. I'm really excited because I'm so passionate about economics as a school girl, I was I was quite nerdy and quite serious. So my my background is that my parents came from Jamaica as part of the Windrush generation. And so the late 50s, early 1960s, neither of them had really completed school, my mom was at school until she was about 11, my dad until he was about 15, or 16. And so actually just the very fact that I was able to go school and complete school, as soon as 18 was was sort of transformational in my family, I wouldn't say I was sort of academical as such, but I was just very curious, I'd love to read enough books quite quite introverted quite soon. So, you know, had some very close friends or quite a small number of friends. And I was just in, remember, even when I was a teenager is ridiculous, I was eight or nine and my dad and I used to watch the sort of Oxford in Cambridge Boat Race every year. And I grew up in East London, so we sort of naturally were closer to Cambridge. And I used to say that, you know, my ambition, I want to get to Cambridge and you know, want to cut those wants to study but, but the idea of, of going to university and and, you know, studying sort of serious places, learning was always something I was super attracted to. So I think if you school with me, you'd think you'd know who I'm supposed to think I was, I was quite popular kid. But I wasn't a very sort of extrovert, outgoing, I was somebody who was just got on with everybody, as I say, quite bookish. And, and also a little bit sporty. So I used to, I used to run a lot and ran for club, J, my teenage years. So I didn't it wasn't say isn't particularly sort of remarkable. I'm sure that's not true. But maybe I think it's really difficult for any of us to look back and kind of see, it's funny, because I did, obviously we do these interviews a lot. And and I'm naturally quite a nosy person. So I'm always asking people about their lives and stuff. And it's really interesting to me, how we see ourselves and like you speak to people at school, about how they see you. I recently at the ripe old age of 40, to do an ADHD assessment. And that means finding people who I went to school with, to talk about whether I had things like that's so interesting. I know. It's fascinating, isn't it, but I love that that you and your dad watch the race together. I'm close to my dad as well. And it my dad probably left school about a similar age to your dad and to do an apprenticeship. As a mechanic. I'm always fascinated by young people, especially who have that focus of like you said, you there's Cambridge. That's where I'm going when you're very young. And I suppose as you grew up and got a bit older, and you were choosing your subjects, you started to build a shape of what you would do. When you got there. I would say yes, and those so I have a son, you know, there are some kids at school who know what they want to do to professionalise some really yummy age, which is sort of equally scary, but also quite sort of inspiring. I was Sunday, so I was pretty good at my subjects. I liked art, and I liked Latin and I liked maths and so I was never I sort of did my What was that? What were then GS g C's, I guess? Because GCSEs I done quite well, because the spread, I just was really thoughtful about what i what i do next. And I hadn't studied economics at 16. And we had this incredible economics teacher who only I think I remember this very corner but I can't remember now whether he taught just a level. But I had a conversation with him. He also grew up in East London. He's also gone to Cambridge. And he said have you ever thought about economics and I want to do maths. I want to see him And it was just ended up being ends up in a really, really good fit for me because it's it's a, it's a really kind of logical, structured way of answering some really real world questions that bugged you, ya know, why some bison? What is why some countries richer than others? Why? No, why is it easier for some people to go on to higher education than others? You know, how should we fund the National Health Service? You know, how should we fund I guess, today's issue, social care. And I just I ended up loving the subjects. I mean, he was a great teacher, very, very quirky, and incredibly divergent and boss thinking, in the end, stopped teaching and went off into sort of running his own business. And also because he was on a path where he'd also come he grew up in Layton, he grew up in Boston, staying very close by, you know, had gone to Cambridge and thought, well, he's still quite normal, and quite cool. And today, and so he was quite, he was quite an inspiring figure as as actually a number of my other teachers were, but it was the subject that I just test, something clicked with me. Yeah, it sounds like he's a good advertisement for Cambridge, and that whole widening access thing, because I feel like there's a certain, you know, there's students that are on the pipeline for Cambridge and Oxford, and they feel very comfortable, but being on that pipeline and their students that maybe don't, and I think having a teacher who's like, yeah, I went, it's fine. You can talk to me, and, you know, it's a good advertisement. So I think that's true. But I think he was also a very realistic model, because all universities, Russell Group offices in Cambridge have obviously made great strides with access. Absolutely. But they're not accessed. They're still not widely accessible. And certainly, I mean, he had he'd gone, he done be done well, but he had not had a straightforwardly positive experience. And actually, that was also incredibly helpful. Because when I went in the six years ago, in the mid 1980s, you know, some of the colleges that are only just admitted women, and say, when I, you know, I didn't know, there were 320 330 students of economics, and they were nice. 2030 were women. Yeah, balanced about 10%. And that was favourable comparisons and other subjects. Yeah. So so it was not, you know, it was not a straightforward experience going, they're living, they're studying, they're being part of life. They're parts that I loved. And parts of it were incredibly jolting, I imagine did to come, haven't talked to him beforehand. Because this is something that comes up a lot. When we talk about diversity and inclusion, it's not enough to get people through the door, you've got to make them feel like they're part of the room once they get in. And I wonder if speaking to him, and like you said, having a realistic viewpoint of his experience, so that helps you feel as mentally prepared as you can be, at that age, for that type of experience, I guess Yes, or no, I mean, I'm an I'm a, I'm quite a sort of shake Matic person by just by personality, and quite colourful and optimistic. So I would say to some degree, but nothing, nothing is, is quite the same as living. And you know, it was amazing, amazing opportunities, amazing opportunities and threats. And the upside for me the freedom of living as an adult with your own money and choices. And all that was fantastic. But it was very, it was a very different culture from the one I had had grown up in. And that's not to say they weren't fantastic people on some very, very close friends, I made them, you know, my hospital was was there. But it was a, it was very, very untypical to have had my background and a friend I went up with, he's now head of Jesus college, and another friend who was a doctor, he started at Churchill, you know, we've, you know, we were three of us, we went together from school, or from ethnic minority backgrounds, all sort of navigated ourselves in slightly slightly different ways through through those three years. I mean, I imagine that there's also I mean, not not just at Cambridge, necessarily, but something we talked about on the podcast a lot is the advantage, one to the field of economics, but the advantage of not coming from the standardised background of economists. And the the kind of obviously, the different perspective. And that sounds like a flippant way of talking about it, really, because everyone has different experiences. And I know you've talked a lot about widening access in terms of the class system in the UK, like different class backgrounds having better access to different jobs and different parts of the economy. Do you think of different gas rounds affects the advantage as an economy? So I would say so I was saying yes and no, I love this, that you have two sides of every question. So interesting, so new and logically. So the way the way I think as an economist, I don't think it's actually I think it's partly been quite sort of interfering quite reflective, I don't think it's particularly out of the mainstream. So I spent a long, long time in my career in the Treasury, in some ways, culturally is very different, again, from many other Treasury officials, but and you're logically the way you think about problems actually incredibly similar. I think what's different is that the probably the sorts of questions that you are, perhaps interested in solving and getting to the resolve may be different. So for most of my career, I've been very lucky. But I've worked in areas of the labour market. So jobs, you know, why is it hard for some people to get jobs and to get on and to improve their wages? For people who have got it's harder to get work, women from some background? Some ethnic minorities, etc, ex offenders? You know, what, how do you address these barriers? Now, maybe if I had a different background, I would be less sort of drawn to that world for a long time, also working in international development. And, again, some issues, why are some countries How do you accelerate growth? In some countries? How do you get countries which start with some disadvantages to grow faster? So I think for me, it was it's more the the problems that I'm interested in solving, I suspect, a very reflective of my background, but actually how I approach her an issue. And as I say, We're like almost cool, the sort of the, you know, the way in which my mind works on neurologically? Actually, I don't think it's particularly I think it's actually pretty, pretty mainstream. Yeah. But it's interesting you say that, though, because I suppose it matters. Which questions get asked doesn't it matters? Which, yeah, a great choice, a choice. The question is incredibly important. Yeah. And, and like you said, making sure that there's, there's a wide range of people in the field to make sure those questions are asked, I've got a question that I think most people find challenging. I'm going to, I'm going to put it to later. But I want to plant the seed, because I want to ask you what you're most proud of, I think this is going to be particularly difficult for you, because there is a wide range of things. I imagine come under the umbrella, you've worked for some really fascinating institutions, like, you know, the World Bank, like you said, the Department for International Development, Downing Street, of course, john lewis, which has its own unique structure and say place in the British consciousness, if you'd known when you were at school, that you were going to have these particular experiences and these particular rules, how do you think that would have felt if someone had been able to come and tell you, when you're big, I think for everybody is a bit scary, it would have been a scary prospect. So I, I today, when I was 16 1718, I was probably on my mission to save the world and kill off. And it was the time when again, this is years ago, before many of the people listening to this podcast were probably born, but there's a speak famine when I was a teenager in in when I was younger, in Ethiopia, there's a big sort of charity push, done by lots of celebrities and pop stars with Live Aid. Yes. And so a lot of when I was growing up a lot of the you know, just a lot of not a lot of what was happening in the news was about famine situations and refugee movements, and people have been displaced from their homes. So you know, when I was 17, I would probably wish that I was going to spend the next, you know, 2030 years as a refugee worker. And, you know, I didn't count on humanitarian sort of effort, but actually, I'm, I'm much better. I think it's a case of having an impact on people through what I would call policy, say, through decisions where you where you have broader influence. And then I have to say, if you've probably even said to me three years ago that I was going to go to the john lewis partnership, I would have been, you know, terrified. And I think that's, that's the amazing thing about life is that it's full of serendipity and coincidences and happy accidents and opportunities. And I guess the thing I have learned about myself as an adult as somebody in the workplace is that I'm definitely probably open to trying really new things that maybe I would have thought when I was younger and at school. So if somebody says all you know, do you fancy, fancy, maybe working for the World Bank, more of me thinks fool, that'll be exciting. And you know, what the people like and what their value is like, and then thinking, Oh, my goodness, that's, you know, too hard or too big or too big a gap to, to jump over. So yeah, I'm, I'm, uh, I like to take chances. Maybe Maybe that's the maybe that's less than, I mean, it's not a bad lesson to learn. I have to say I love getting older because you just give less of a about people like you said, you will take more chances. It's one of the joys I speak I speak to you and mentor young women in the workplace quite a lot. And it's something that I can say Look, don't worry about getting older. It's amazing. Like if you keep healthy, getting older is the best because it's such a privilege, it kind of leads me on actually to a question I had for a little later. But I listened to a lot of interviews that you've done, especially since taking over at john lewis. And he talked about the importance of john lewis as a business adapting to change. And it's something that we talk about. And, you know, on a personal level in our careers, you know, adapting is key, you know, we've touched upon that. So I think for parents, sometimes that can be terrifying. When you're looking at your child, and you think about the future and be a doctor, they'll always need them, you know, that kind of thing. And so for students, now, they're making their plans and their choices for careers that might, you know, people say their careers now that won't exist in five or 10 years. Well, I think some of them will exist, but they'll be very different. What advice or reassurance Do you think you can give them I like their parents about the process of career change, and that, that kind of adaptability, I tend to agree with its advice, but I tend to have quite a different perspectives. And, you know, like, my kids are teenagers, and I can hear from their some of their friends, they, you know, already thinking about CV writing, I think, oh, my goodness, you mean these 16 if we're lucky, it's a really long life. And you know, particularly if you're, you know, if your school today, you might be working to your, you know, 60 7080. And that is such an opportunity to try lots of different and new things. I'm personally much less, I would be much less hung up about what I need to study at school or university, I'd really focus on what are the things that you love, you know, what are the things that you love to do that are going to get you really excited, and some of those things may be nothing to do with the sort of academic subject matter in front of you. Maybe, you know, maybe a school to a hobby or you know, you tubing OR gate with there may be there may be something in your life that you think that's just a lover, is there a career that I can make of this or, you know, you may know yourself really well as an individual. So, you know, some of the teenagers, I now know, I think my goodness, you're never going to be able to work in a big institution, because actually, you want what you love is autonomy, and freedom. And you know, you're not going to want to take instructions from, you know, work your way through a hierarchy. So my encouragement is not advice. But my encouragement would be to take the time to really think about what are the things that you love interested in really trying to understand the sort of person you are and, and those things that you bring to work. So if I think about myself, in as I say, I was a very sort of serious, quiet, quiet child growing up, actually, for me, though, that my personalities are not so you know, not a great sort of, you know, director in a visionary, but actually the ability to sort of be in a room and listen, and really hear what people are saying, and play that back, and then take things forward has turned out to be something I love to do, but incredibly important in my career, and I'm keen to get things done. And that sort of energy and focus to be quite practical, has turned out to be really important. You may not be the cleverest or the most expert person in the room, but there are other dimensions that have turned out to be really, you know, pretty effective in a in a workplace. And I think, yeah, the whole conversation around careers, it needs to be broader, more like values and skills driven, like said like, what do you value? What are you passionate about? And what what skills do you bring to the table? And do you want to develop and where might not tears? I mean, it's partly skills, but it's also your personal attributes. What is it about you that you know, your game to the, you know, you're a puzzle solver? In a Do you love puzzles? Do you know you're great with people in it? Are you best solving a puzzle with teams of people bring in different bits of the party? Or actually, are you at your best in a quiet room? And I think we don't talk enough about I mean, maybe the pandemic's helps all workings of slightly different in bonkers ways. But yeah, how we're going to be our best at work can be hugely different from how we're classifying success at school, and how we are judging our children's success at school. I think that's a really good point. And I know you've probably spoken to parents as well throughout the pandemic, like with homeschooling and the terror of what damage is doing. And and I I've said to my sisters, with two young children, often I think they're going to be okay, because they're going to learn things that we never learned in a different way. And I, my area that I work in is digital skills, and I work with people of all ages and all different types of businesses and, and it's that thing of when I'm trying to teach someone something that they're terrified off. Usually, it's about, it's exactly what you said, Well, what is the thing that they already do in real life if you like back there, and then just connect that to what it is. They're trying to get to And that's where you find that people go, alright, give them to the good when they didn't realise strangely and and try some things. So, you know, I talked to parents who saying, you know, I'm desperate for my, you know, my son to be a doctor. And I think well, the great thing is particularly as we're working more flexibly is that the choice that you make it 18 2025 doesn't define you for the next 3040 years choice, choice, choice and stuff. That curiosity, I think that's something that I always say I got from my dad as well, like, I want to know how things work. They explained to me how this works. I was listening to your final interview with RTS Cambridge is the head of wolf calm. And there was a long list in your introduction of your accomplishments. And, you know, becoming the first external regulator BBC take on the interim regulation of online harm, which I love to learn to you more about. And I know like for students, and that's a big conversation that I have with young people in schools a lot, you know, the review of public service broadcasting, and, and you know, that the tackling of diversity across, you know, the TV work force. And again, I'm thinking of students listening, and if they listened to that interview, which I'll link to, I'll link to the interviews I've watched in the, in the description so that they can have a listen as well, who knew that study in economics would lead you to all of those things? And the other thing? What do you think has been the most surprising to you? The the projects that say that you found yourself at the head off? Yeah, I mean, firstly, maybe just the link back to economics, I would say. So anybody who's sort of listening and interested in the subject, is that the great thing that economics brings you is, it gives you a really, really clear way of thinking and a really clear way of addressing problems. And so, you know, for most of my career, I haven't worked. You know, I spent a lot of time at the beginning of my career working as a what I call a proper economist. And then essentially, I've done jobs which have been boarded that where the thinking and the learning of the skills of how you tackle a problem have been been super helpful. I mean, laser things have been great. So I just thought probably the, you know, if somebody has, as I say, if somebody said that I was going to be at the partnership that my current job at on this, I probably before I really knew what the partnership was like now, and our history, which is very much a commercial enterprise that's trying to do social good. So it's all it's always like being at the centre of our survey does the public service, you know, finding myself chairing a businesses that's running department store, then, you know, the extraordinary supermarket and Waitrose, I think that's probably it's probably the biggest surprise, but for me, it goes back to, you know, what are the things that you'll get out, or you can help to encourage and the partnership a bit like the civil service a bit like Ofcom, these are large, quite complicated businesses, full of amazing people who want to do a great job and want to give back to society in some way, all of them will have a particular challenge or because the world's moving so quickly is a new task, or in the case of the partnership, retail is just, you know, being it's moving a million miles now. So the issue is always how do you move forward? How do you adapt and motivate and bring teams forward? He wants to do the right thing, but the world is changing. So how do you how can we all move forward? together which battles to choose which questions to to address which comes back against this sort of, you know, the thinking is the economist, you can't do 10 things, but what are the two or three things you can do really well? And? And how do you bring people on? side? How do you how do you how do you get everybody to vote to feel that? It's their idea? And yeah, their vision and buy into it? And and all of those things become a fine become the things which are really important. It's not your job to answer the question. It's your job to bring great people together so they can bring all their great minds and thinking and experiences to take, you know, problem solving, taking us forward. I love I love listening to you say that because it reflects what I've heard a lot of the guests on the podcast see about the importance of economic thinking in different environments, if you like, like we talked about Paige, she was worried economist, Spotify and you know about how really it was that thing you talked about love music, economics, is what I'm gonna do, but that that thing of you said you did more traditional economics rules and then have moved into the roles you're in now. And what's lovely about that is like you said, having that background in economics brings that really valuable way of thinking and approaching a problem to different places that you might not expect to find an economist necessarily. And that to me is a really a close reflection of when we talk about The job you think exists now is going to be different in five or 10 years. But actually having an economics background means that you can jump into those different places in five or 10 years, because what you bring is something that is unique and valuable, no matter the circumstance, I suppose that's exactly it. So you bring your way of thinking, you know, think about, you know, the business, the job I'm in now. So we're a partnership, which means if we make profit, and we're doing a bit better if we make the money goes back to our partner, so that not brilliantly well paid employees, and if we make even more money, we should give more money back to their communities, and we can do amazing things. And then as an economist, your thinking is, well, gosh, you know, so we have a partnership between the market, we're in a part of the economy, where profits are just declining everywhere, because it's more competitive. Amazon's disrupted, everybody. Amazon doesn't make money from retail, it basically chocolate, its job is to it has scale, but it makes its next profit through its cloud business. So what's the really big issue, the really big issue is that as a partnership, you've got to grow profit, outside retail, that still allows you to sustain jobs. That is a much higher margin activity. Now, that sounds like a really simple thing to say. They're really self evident thing to say. But actually having that conversation getting buying with your customers with partners who have grown up in this amazing retail business, but where in 10 years time, you know, we will be less secure if we haven't grown things like financial services or housing. And I think what economics brings brilliantly is a really lucid, clear way of synthesising focusing, seeing the really big questions that matter, and then helps you to face into them. I'm seeing parallels there as well, like, we've we've come to a point, I think the pandemic has really accelerated this, where everyone talks about self care, and how important it is to look inwards. And what you're describing to each though, is like, a commercial version of if you don't take care of yourself, you can't take care of your family. And I grew up in a household where it was the opposite, like you gave you worked really hard. And you know, you give give, give, give, give. And what I love about the conversations that are happening now about the changes in the workplace that you've touched upon, and the changes in business structures, is that john lewis, particularly like you said, At the heart of it, yes, you need to make profit that is at the heart of what you do as a business. But the reason that you make profit is because you're a partnership. And it's a really interesting way of running a business that I suppose it. You've already mentioned that it's probably I imagine, I would definitely be slightly terrified jumping into that, because there aren't there aren't businesses that size in the UK that run that way. Yeah, but the biggest by far in the UK, one of the biggest in the world. Yeah, but it's actually it's a we have a constitution. Which is, I mean, I don't if you've read it, so well, it has different elements. When I say constitution, we have a sort of like a rulebook. Yeah. Which is like the 1920s, or some the first, the early versions, but the most results about 20 years old. And it's a bit like if you can imagine your school it's a bit like a school rulebook. And the first rule, which we call principles. The purpose of the partnership is the happiness of our partners through worthwhile and satisfying work in a commercially sustainable business. And according to our will broker Constitution, the partnerships job is to make enough money, not the most money, we can make enough money that allows us to do good to pay people, hopefully decent wage, and to give back to communities and to sort of fulfil our kind of social purpose and social obligations. And it is this unique, extraordinary mix nexus of a business, it's about making money in order to do great things. Yeah. And it's, it creates the most sort of enormously powerful, kind, respectful culture. It's, it's extraordinary. It is extraordinary. I mean, I, we're, we're a john lewis family in my household. And, you know, my, my pet, my mom used to work for the coop when when she was alive, and that kind of on a much smaller scale at the time. And that was starting to be talked about when my mom was working there. And it's interesting as well, talking about the workforce during the pandemic, and the changes that need to feel like you're part of something, and part of something bigger than yourself, and the value you get in work is something I think even if you're not a partner, and it's almost partnership, I think it's important to everyone, and I think so, and increasingly so. Yeah, I agree. I mean, we sometimes think of ourselves as this sort of the first you know, purpose like this is obviously as you say, with the CO poets that there was a big sort of Mutual's movement but it's fascinating, but also very energising Very inspiring that so many businesses are talking about, you know, people before profits or planning before profit people want to show with businesses that I've got more than a purpose than simply filling bank accounts. You know, people want to work for companies, where, again, of course, he wants a decent wage because everybody wants a decent life. But you want you want something that's more than that. Yeah. And you touched upon it talking about your Do you see your sons, and then their friends, I as well speaking to teenagers thought is front and centre for a lot of young people who are about to go into the workplace and young people are already in the workplace. And one of the things I've really enjoyed about interviewing economists on this particular subject labour market, is that that's a big question for all economists is how do we make this a little bit more possible for everyone in the economy, not just if you work for certain organisations. And again, I'm thinking about students listening right now. Because like I said, discover economics all about widening access, and, and feeling like you're, you're part of like said the idea, and the thing that gets moved forward was something I love about waitress, especially. And I think john has done this as well, is, you know, had idea idea and innovation management programmes where all members of staff get to feed in to the big ideas and the big solutions. And I love that because it makes everyone at every level feel like their their input is valuable. And I think about students listening right now, and maybe thinking this all sounds amazing, but I don't have anything, actually. But is that valuable to see? And they might not right now, I don't want to put too much expectations on a 16 year olds, but equally, you might have the most valuable input to an idea. What would you say to them? I mean, everybody obviously has something important to say, I think it's been in an environment, whether that school or work, where you're encouraged to speak up, and then you can see what impact that has. So I think in my business, we employ lots of 16 year olds. So in weight change, there are lots of impacts, if you're interested in coming to wait, let me know. Either you might isn't as a Saturday job. So you at school during the week, maybe you do three or four hours on a Saturday or three or four hours on a Sunday, you know, you'll have a great idea about all the we stock, the rights, you know, sort of food, because you may have a number of customers who come in and say, you know, wish you had, you know, this brand of bread or jam. And actually, that could end up being a huge idea. Because actually, we were missing being able to really serve our customers in a particular way. Or you might think the way in which we set up some of our systems that could be inefficient, because you'll have lots of don't have lots of great ideas or you know, you might be very, you know, much more digitally savvy than some of the people you're working with. And again, have some great ideas about, you know, how we might communicate and really get messages the news to our customers and to other partners. So it won't be that you will be short of great things to say things which really matter. I think the question is, how is the business and how does companies, we can really encourage that, and how we can take all that amazing, amazing things you've got to say, and then demonstrate how it is then helping to shape some of our business decisions. or indeed, and saying, Well, actually, that was a great idea. But you know, we've done something similar or we're going in a different direction. So you're still feeling heard? Yeah, even if a particular idea, it's not the right time, or maybe it cost too much. There are some other reasons why it can understanding what those reasons are hard. Yeah, yeah. So we, you know, we, I mean, it's gonna sound sort of maybe scientists and listeners, but the partnership has its own sort of equivalent, the House of Commons that it has its own parliament. So they're all councillors. So there are people who are elected, and they form a group that 6065 has them. And they debate issues in the partnership, what's going well, what's not going well, how clumps are feeling. And then twice a year, I sort of have a session in front of council, and they quizzed me for two to three hours. It's called hold into accounts, why on held to account for the performance of the partnership, commercially, how much money we're making, how kind we've been to partners, and then they vote as to whether, you know, they have confidence in my continuing as chairman over the next six months. So that might be a very particular example. But it's a, it's a great example, where an individual's voice and the things they feel are important and what they've got to say, kind of gets carried forward, then there's an elected representative, as a counsellor, who then will take their views forward, and then collectively, the partnership. So all of all the people who work in the partnership are then able to say, Well, actually, Sharon, this is what we think you need to change and this is what we think you need to fix and that's going okay, so Carry on, carry on doing more of that. So it's, you know, as I say, we have a very, very strong history as a democracy. But I think more and more businesses are trying to find ways and excited to find ways and to hear to hear from their workers. Yeah, it's so important. And I think as well, it just goes back to that, knowing that a quest not on the right questions to ask, but having enough different people in the room who will ask random questions. I love what you said about, you know, having young people in a supermarket who will feed in an idea, and it might not go ahead, like you said, For various reasons. But it's like everyone, I bet parents and teachers listening have been in a brainstorming room where you're terrified to put your idea across, because you know that it'll get shut down. Like you have to be in an environment where thought is encouraged. And it's okay to have a lot of terrible ideas, until the good ones kind of come out. And I certainly I hope that students listening, understand that, please have the confidence to just see those things and get them out there, and teachers and parents behind and listen, and kind of encouraging and shape because like you I took a note of Mr. Mr. O'Connell, from them for your school and an eye as well had some amazing teachers. And, again, it sounds like a cliche, but the influence and impact that that has on a young person and their future is immeasurable. And I hope that people, teachers and parents listening can take some of the things and some of the advice that you've given and experiences you've given and hopefully use that to lift teenagers who are I always say, I would like to think that when teachers and parents are listening, think of the naughty kids in your class, think of the nightmare children, but you really tear your hair up because I used to teach Effie and I know they exist. And actually, economics is not out of the realms of possibility for them. And if they are, like I said, unique thinkers and challenge things, we want them in economics as well. And like maths, yes. Yes, unlike maths, we'll just add that in as an agenda. I know we've run out of time. And I'm so sorry. We've run out of time, because I could ask you so many more questions. And I really, really, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us today. It's been incredibly useful and valuable. Thank you, Liz. Great. Thank you so much. 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