• May 22, 2024

At Your Service

 At Your Service
Photo: Phil McCarthy

Tobacco Reporter’s Publisher, Elise Rasmussen, is Installed as Master of the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers & Tobacco Blenders.

By David Roach

“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”

As the industry gathered last month in the grand setting of Vintners’ Hall in the city of London, home to the Worshipful Company of Vintners since the 1440s, I was reminded of this wise maxim from Mahatma Gandhi.

Elise Rasmussen has built her career in the industry, whether through this publication, Tobacco Reporter, the GTNF or Women in Tobacco. Not only can she boast an impressive CV as a woman who has made it in a man’s world, but over the past 10 years, she has devoted herself to the service of others as well. Through both fellowship and philanthropy, she has played an active part in the Worshipful Company of Tobacco Pipe Makers & Tobacco Blenders, one of London’s renowned Livery Companies. 

Elise’s installation, as only the second female master in the Livery’s 400-year history, affirmed that devotion when she swore an oath while being gowned at a meeting of the Court, the governing body of the Livery Company. 

In addition to playing an integral role in the governance of the city of London, the Livery Company supports people in need through its charitable works, a centuries-old tradition of the Livery movement. Its members donate to the company’s Benevolent Fund, which supports a broad range of U.K.-registered charities, with a particular focus on the advancement of education, the arts, culture and heritage, the relief of those who are disadvantaged and His Majesty’s Armed Forces.

Elise has taken on the awesome responsibility of leading this four-centuries-old institution, and it is to be admired. As Elise, and her predecessor, reminded the 150 Liverymen, Freemen and invited guests during the speeches that followed her installation lunch in the main Livery Hall, the next year will be a real test of stamina. 

Over 100 engagements await her, promoting the work of the Livery, supporting the two affiliations it has, chairing Court meetings and performing numerous ceremonial duties. 

Muhammad Ali once said that “service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.” In Elise’s case, she will have earned a very large one by the time she hangs up her chain next June.