Yesterday afternoon I had a chat with Glyn Jenkins. Most of my conversations with Glyn over the years have been in the bar of Unison’s Marylebone’s offices. Glyn is old school and that means he prioritises people.
This chat was different, we were talking with a small group of highly sophisticated pension professionals about how to talk about pensions. We were meeting on Zoom and it was part of a virtual conference that would otherwise have happened in a posh hotel in Surrey,
It didn’t make any difference to Glyn, we saw him smiling benignly out at us from what he told us was the least cluttered part of his living room. Rather than daunting us with the extent of his library, the background Glyn showed us looked like the back room of Charles Dickens’ Old Curiosity Shop!
I suspect that Glyn’s capacity to adopt new technology but to remain true to himself marks him out at a time when we are all marvelling at our new found tech-saviness. For Glyn, none of the technology mattered at all.
So what did Glyn talk about?
Glyn talked about how people come to an understanding of the pension they get and how they can make best use of it. He talked about the life insurance that NHS staff were getting and the good it can do them right now. He talked about things that he thought his members should know about.
He explained things in a simple way, as he used to explain to me about the public sector pension transfer club in the rooftop bar of the Old Unison building. To get an idea of how straightforward Glyn’s approach is , here is his Linked in profile
Glyn did not talk about himself!
A gentler way to talk about pensions
I suppose I found myself gently reproved by Glyn- and I’m sure he didn’t mean to reprove me! It’s just that this man’s kind gentle manner and his huge emotional intelligence worked on those on the call in a way that I couldn’t.
Though many of those in the room are at the forefront of delivering “engaging” communications, we all had to step back and re-connect with the simple values of gentle decency that Glyn presents.
And I find myself learning from the experience, chastened by my hubris and remembering that the people who Glyn speaks to and for , are the public servants on whom all our lives currently depend.