We speak to the chair of IoD West Midlands, East End Foods director, Jason Wouhra about...
Why are you proud to represent the IoD?
The IoD helped me enormously in my early career I became the IoD’s youngest ever Chartered Director. This training gave me an excellent working method and framework and that has helped me build my business, East End Foods, into the very successful firm it is today. I became very involved in the IoD at a local level as soon as I joined and I was instrumental in founding the first ever Young Directors Forum.
What does the IoD do for business leaders in your region?
We support company directors at all levels with their professional development and career aspirations. This can range from organising a simple breakfast with a business speaker to our Mastermind Groups (which bring leaders together to share ideas and concerns) and to the Certificate and Diploma courses we now run locally at the new Library of Birmingham.
Who do you represent?
I am proud to represent some 18,00 directors, representing a good mixture of service and manufacturing companies. We’re predominantly SME based but we are proud to have members from not only from Birmingham’s leading professional services but also the region’s flagship companies such as Jaguar Land Rover.
Which sectors would you like to attract?
Young entrepreneurs and high technology companies are important and I’d also like us to be seen as a champion for manufacturing so it would be great to attract more members from the local automotive supply chain. As the birth place of the Industrial Revolution, we are very proud of our manufacturing heritage.
What does your region offer business leaders?
Our peer to peer learning is very valuable – we offer a full range of professional development courses and as well as our local Mastermind groups.
We also have a progressive model for our Director of the Year Awards we run ours as a Champagne Breakfast held at Edgbaston Cricket Ground. Celebrating the achievement of our nominees is a great way to start the day.
What has your region done in the past year that you are particularly proud of?
We’ve recently started a Women as Leaders group which has been very successful – we are very keen on promoting diversity. We also run a student mentoring scheme at the University of Wolverhampton where IoD members support undergraduates studying business degrees. The emphasis is on employability and the job market. We give practice interviews and help the young people creating realistic CVs that display their qualities to full advantage. We hope to extent this to other universities thus increasing our student memberships and in turn the IoD99 offering
What are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months?
I want to increase the profile of the IoD in our region and to attract more members. I feel we have so much to offer and we need to tell our story to a wider audience. Additionally I want us to play an important part in our local business community flying the flag for devolution and ‘The Midlands Engine’
Finally what's your personal business ethos?
My personal ethos relates very much to my personal integrity and my belief that one should always be ambitious and aim for the highest possible targets.