On Thursday lunchtime our Diversity Committee was delighted to welcome to school Mr Ben Merrick, CMG, Disability Champion for the UK Government’s National Security Community. Although visually impaired since his pre-university gap year, Mr Merrick has had a fantastic career in public service and until July 2021 was the Director of Overseas Territories at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, most recently working to protect the British territories from the collapse of their healthcare systems and tourist trade as a result of the pandemic.
Mr Merrick’s current role involves working closely with organisations such as MI5, MI6, GCHQ, the Foreign Office, the Ministry of Defence, and the Treasury and he emphasised the importance of the values central to the civil service: impartiality, honesty, objectivity and integrity.
Mr Merrick did not let his blindness limit his self-belief and he explained how in fact his disability has made him be: more strategic and a big picture thinker – he finds it difficult to consume lots of detailed papers; to be more organised; to be empathetic; to be resilient; and to be a better public speaker as he can’t read his speeches. He encouraged our students not to be afraid to take calculated risks as it is through failure that we work out what does and doesn’t work. Problem solving to help other people has been key to many of his roles in public service, something which resonated keenly with Godolphin students who followed up the fascinating talk with a round of thoughtful questions. We very much look forward to welcoming Mr Merrick back to Godolphin and thank the Diversity Committee for inviting such a brilliant speaker.