Baird’s CMC’s story is a unique one, and it began with a friendship and a shared vision between its co-founders Mark Chataway and Francois Baird. The idea behind the business-strategy consultancy was to bring together veterans in their own fields, whom Francois and Mark had worked with and known for atleast a decade, to provide high-level strategies and solutions to clients internationally. Indeed, many of Baird’s associates have their own ventures in their home countries, and these only serve to strengthen the company’s expertise, reach, and quality of work on a global level. For instance, both Mark and Francois are also the founders of their own companies in the UK and South Africa respectively – Hyderus in Wales and Baird’s Renaissance in South Africa.
Recently, in a letter to his friends and colleagues from both Baird’s Renaissance and Baird’s CMC, Francois celebrated and honored over two decades of doing meaningful work both in South Africa and the world. The letter was written on the 24th anniversary of Baird’s Renaissance and gives a wonderful glimpse into the character and vision of one of Baird’s CMC’s co-founders. Here is an excerpt:
On the day that our business turns 24 years old, I am writing to thank you for the role you played in our journey so far. Along the way, together, we have contributed to a better world, simply through the work we do. We are determined to continue making a meaningful difference, far into the future.
When we started on our journey on September 1, 1987, we lived in a different world. Since then we have played a meaningful role some of the most remarkable events in South Africa, Africa and the world. Throughout, our mantra remained that our clients choose us because the outcomes of what we do matter greatly. As a result, we have done meaningful work. We expanded our work in Africa through ground breaking work for the “Kick Polio out of Africa Campaign”, and many other health, agriculture, ICT, mining and industrial clients since then. Our work for the International Aids Vaccine Initiative (IAVI) remains a source of pride… as do our voter education campaigns in South Africa’s iconic ’94 election, and the successful campaigns in Mozambique and many other African countries. We have been instrumental in many ways since then to advance African democracy.
Since 2002, through the founding of our sister company Baird’s CMC, we have been able to spread our wings internationally, so that today, we work alongside 26 partners in 12 countries who employ over 400 professionals in major world cities: Washington DC, New York, London, Cwmfelinfach, Dublin, Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Moscow, Sao Paulo, Johannesburg, Gaborone, Harare, Mumbai and New Delhi. Our Africa practice, with a network in 16 countries, continues to expand and thrive.
Through our expertise in reputation management, strategy, public affairs, public relations and associated fields, we have served leading multinational corporations, national champions, governments, state owned enterprises, academic institutions and NGOs. Through our commitment to development we have done ground-breaking pro bono work like the “Support a guesthouse” project in South Africa’s townships to “Conversations behind Closed Doors” a landmark study about American investment attitudes to Africa.
Our future is brimful of exciting new clients, new work and new initiatives… If we have enjoyed a meaningful journey so far, it is only because you have travelled with us. Thank you for your support and friendship over the years. Hopefully our respective life and professional travels will always bring us back together in the end, because we should both be proud of the results of our mutual journey.
With warm birthday thanks,