Ms Tamara Finkelstein CB was guest of honour and spoke at the Annual Family Dinner of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers on Wednesday 27th April, 2022.
Tamara became Permanent Secretary at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in 2019, having previously led the department’s work on EU Exit Delivery. Prior to her recent appointment, she led the Building Safety Programme following the Grenfell Tower fire at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Tamara is the daughter of Professor Ludwik Finkelstein OBE FREng who was himself a Liveryman of the Company and a sister of Lord (Daniel) Finkelstein OBE, an Honorary Liveryman of the Company. However, Tamara reminded her audience that she herself had been supported as a Scholar of the Company during her study of Engineering Science at Balliol College, Oxford and prior to studying at the London School of Economics (LSE). From University, she joined HM Treasury in 1992 as an economic adviser.
In her speech, she reflected on becoming a speechwriter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1997 and a senior adviser in 2000 in the Treasury, before holding a number of director roles. She spoke in a moving speech of the influence of her mother, a holocaust survivor and her father who had been deported from his native Poland to the Soviet Union at the start of the war and how they met in London after the war. She encouraged the audience, which included a large number of newly appointed apprentices and freemen, to pursue their career dreams and aspirations.