IoD Essex Branch Ambassador Introduction
Your name: Jo Warner
Your title/role and company name: Director – EQ Global Training Ltd
Your IoD branch: IoD Essex
Your IoD Branch Ambassador role: IoD99 Ambassador
Q: How long have you been involved with the IoD?
Less than 6 Months – As a new IoD99 member
Q: Can you tell us a little about your career to date?
I have worked in the Public and Private sectors and have also held leadership roles nationally and globally. This has provided me with a broad scope of understanding of the varying requirements, drivers and challenges in business.
I have spent the bulk of my career working for BT. I was fortunate to have been there during the 3rd industrial revolution when digital innovation and expansion allowed me to undertake many new and varied roles. Having primary responsibility for providing global virtual networks for the world’s top 50 clients; ranging from high profile international project management, delivery and customer service. I was also Training Manager as BT transitioned from a national to a global company and implemented the Global People Empowerment Programme.
I decided to take an extended career break of seven years to raise my son. During this time I had a wonderful part-time job working for the Museum of London and the Museum in Docklands in their Special Events Team. These could range from storytelling for children to high level Corporate and Trust dinners to Royal attendance events.
I resumed my career in the Public Sector at the London Borough of Hackney. As Training Manager I managed the sector Learning and Development function within the Business Improvement and Development Team. Here I created end to end programmes for the management of Parking – resulting in substantial savings; and Hackney Markets - Successful regeneration has resulted in London’s Deputy Mayor (previous Hackney Mayor) creating a Markets Board to standardise operation of markets across all 32 Boroughs.
I most enjoyed coaching existing leaders and mentoring those new in post. I also implemented a Leadership programme. The success of which was the impetus for starting my own training company.
I was also responsible for the recruitment and training of 80 Civil Enforcement Officers to City and Guilds standard for the London 2012 Olympic Games. This entailed meeting statutory, regulatory, industry and Olympic requirements.
Having been made redundant in 2016, I decided to start my own training company. It took 18 months of research, training and hard work before EQ Global Training came to fruition – now the real hard work begins ….. Making it successful.
I’m keen on learning and embracing the technological revolution. I keenly follow advances in emerging technologies such as Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and how these advancements will affect business owners and the impact it will have on leadership requirements.
Q: What do you hope to achieve as an IoD Branch Ambassador?
I intend to promote the IoD99 membership and advise new business owners of the facilities and support the Institute of Directors is able to provide.
Being a new business owner myself, I am able to relate to the challenges faced.
In the UK there are 5.7 million small businesses. Recent statistics indicate that around 93% of businesses in Essex are less than 10 employees in size. Whilst Essex is a brilliant and vibrant County, with a great sense of entrepreneurship, the failure rate of small businesses is very high. I seem to recall something like 4 out of 10 new business start-ups fail in the first 18 months of their existence.
I believe that business owners (of large and small companies) need the right level of expert support, delivered in the right way and appropriate to their needs to improve the survival rates of their companies. They also need to know that they are not alone in the challenge! Joining the IoD provides a great opportunity for them to meet and network with other owners and Directors and to build greater resilience.
So, I think there may be 2 important aspects to my initial work as an IOD Ambassador. (1) To assist build awareness of the importance for Directors and their employees to be equipped with the right skills to aid success and (2) Promote the IoD as one of the key institutions that every business owner should join to maximise their chances.
Q: If you could give your 21 year-old self some advice what would it be?
Think big and reach for the stars.
Don’t let the opinions of others stop you from reaching your full potential.
It’s ok to fail.
Do something you’re passionate about rather than a job which pays well.
Q: What keeps you busy outside of work?
Since my son left home my full attention has been directed towards starting my business.
Given the time, I enjoy gardening, it’s very therapeutic. I also attend the local life drawing class when I am able. My other hobbies include art, exhibitions and film. When I took a career break to raise my son, I had a casual job in Special Events for the Museums of London and Docklands.
I love my music and have diverse tastes, hover, my passion is Soul music – Marvin Gaye, Curtis Mayfield, Aretha Franklin to name a few.
I’m working towards getting fit again next year after recovering from some health issues – any advice is most welcome.
I am also a volunteer mentor for Business for London.
Q: Are there any business related or policy issues that keep you awake at night?
Every aspect of starting my business keeps me awake!
That said, I intend to persevere until it becomes successful.
The greatest issues are:
Lack of finance and readily available advice on options for raising capital.
No clear and concise guidance for starting a new business.
How to create cheap or free social media marketing.
Legal and financial guidance.
Needless to say, I don’t sleep well!
Q: Why do you think business leaders should join the IoD?
The level of resources offered to new business owners is second to none. The Iod99 membership allows access to all the literature a new business owner needs. The additional support and expert advice in all aspects of establishing and running a business is beyond measure.
This alone is reason enough for new business leaders to join IoD, howler with the IoD99 Club, there is now a community of peers who can also provide support and share experiences. Being and entrepreneur can be a very lonely experience, to know there are others who understand and are on the same journey can be both comforting and motivational.
I believe experienced business leaders should join IoD for many reasons. On a purely business level, they can expand their network. However, they should be encouraged to share their experience and give support with those who are scaling their businesses. By doing so, precedence is set for those they help to also give back. I believe the IoD has the gravitas to create great change by encouraging Corporate Social Responsibility, Inclusivity and Diversity. The IoD99 membership will change the IoD’s demographic and this should be used to benefit all business leaders.
The percentage increase in the growth of small businesses is growing year on year. This needs to continue for the economy, however, established business leaders can further facilitate growth by supporting new businesses – this can be done through the IoD.
In the UK only 11% of direct government contracts are given to SMEs compared to 25% in the United States. This is due to the complexity of the prequalification questionnaire – a shift is required. This is an example of how business leaders who join the IoD can effect change for future growth.
On a separate note, following hearing a talk by Bill Esterson, I have a suggestion for a potential project for the future.
There are many Incubator and Accelerator Programmes which are run independently and are Government funded. I am in collaboration with the Chelsea Football Club Entrepreneur Programme which is very well managed; however, this is not always the case. If Labour wins an election, they will propose a ‘Single Front Door’ policy where such programmes need recognition and approval by Government. This would be an excellent opportunity for IoD to establish an elite Entrepreneur Programme to support new businesses and SMEs. It would increase IoD99 membership and established business leaders would be able to partner with new companies at the forefront of technology for the growth of their won companies.