Member Spotlight - Jane Fisher
Get to know IoD members in the North East
Name: Jane Fisher
Position/company: Founder and Managing Director of Jane Fisher Associates Ltd
How would you describe your business to a total stranger?
JFA is a Leadership & Management Consultancy – but with a difference!
We help leaders navigate uncertainty and build successful durable businesses, inside and out.
Designed for C-suite executives, directors and business owners, we provide support from group strategy to one to one challenge busting, through programmes that put the ‘Spirit of Adventure’ back into running a business. We relight the ‘fire’ needed for exceptional leadership through our unique and pioneering ‘Outside Thinking’ Adventurous Leadership Model©. Using the stunning backdrop of UK and Icelandic landscapes we stimulate creative problem solving, turbo-charge strategic thinking and boost energy and positivity, empowering leaders to tackle challenges with clarity and vision.
Your previous roles:
Prior to founding JFA in 2013, I led transformational change within the education sector, implementing national policy at local authority level. It was leading multiple cross-sector organisations across large geographical areas that ignited my passion for strategy and change leadership. I earned my stripes in senior strategic roles: 14-19 Lead Officer for East Riding of Yorkshire Council, and Strategic Lead for Curriculum and Quality for Barnsley MBC.
Importantly, my first career as a teacher and educational leader, embedded my personal value of transferring knowledge and skills to others, to facilitate sustainable changes.
Other information (e.g. other positions held, charity roles):
Alongside working with my clients, I enjoy supporting other organisations, including:
- being a board advisor for XSEM Limited, a creative agency
- helping the board of Allendale Forge Studios, a Community Interest Company
- supporting the Federation of Small Businesses, being a member of the FSB North East Advisory Group.
I’ve always loved volunteering to support young people too and have been a:
- Careers Enterprise Advisor (North Yorkshire County Council)
- Young Enterprise Business Advisor (York)
- Vice chair of governors and a governor at a number of schools
What do you do outside work? (hobbies/interests):
I love to immerse myself in activities outside. Living in an AONB in the North Pennines, I have the privilege of the wonderful countryside on my doorstep, venturing out to walk our dogs and to capture the beautiful landscapes through photography. Feeling the elements on my face makes me feel alive whilst nature’s magnificence simply inspires me. Outside, I think freely, the daily grind and issues floating away, allowing those ‘aha’ moments to enter.
I also enjoy spending time with my family, especially now that I have two wonderful grandsons to dote on! And, merging my interests in geography and photography, visiting inspiring locations like Iceland, simply adds the icing on the cake!
How long have you been an IoD member?
I have been a member of the IoD for 2 years.
Why did you join the IoD?
I wanted the opportunity to meet like-minded and ambitious directors, business leaders and owners who wished to be successful to not only benefit themselves and their families, but their people and clients alike. I wanted to be part of a thriving and inspiring community, that offered a supportive network through its events, to help develop peer connections. The IoD also offered invaluable insights, advice and guidance to help me grow and develop my business.
Which parts of IoD membership do you value most?
Networking and events are probably at the top of my list, especially the net-walking that takes place in North Yorkshire. It’s fantastic to share experiences, learn from your peers and discover alternative solutions to the challenges that we all as business leaders face.
But there is also a hidden gem, which I only discovered this year – the IoD’s research service. The business potential of this was mind-blowing, and hopefully my firm will reap the rewards of this in the forthcoming months.
How would you describe your branch area to a total stranger?
The North East is a brilliant place to both work and live, offering vibrant city centres, bustling market towns and quintessential village communities, alongside awe-inspiring coastal and rural landscapes that simply blow you away. Whether a rural micro-business or city-based corporation, the North East offers the perfect mix to help you work, rest and play, complemented by an IoD branch network to match. With the enthusiastic and supportive IoD team, a perfect blend of networking and personal development opportunities, plus such inspiring business leaders and members – the North East is definitely one of the best places to be!
What is the most important issue for the government to tackle?
The cost-of-living crisis remains a huge challenge, even with the current signs of positivity, with inflation dropping and a recession likely to be avoided. However, it continues to affect everyone, including many businesses that support the livelihoods of families within their local communities. So, the crisis still needs to be steered ahead robustly and fairly, to ensure people are not driven into poverty – a challenging balancing act for the public finances!
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you started out in business?
Have true Purpose for what you’re doing – be this personal and/or professional, as this will drive you forwards. Maintain your self belief and grit determination – even when the going gets tough. Setting up and running any sized business is not an easy ride, so building up your resilience is vital, especially learning from the mistakes you make along the way! Have an adventurous mindset – be curious, open minded, embrace the challenges you face and be prepared to take calculated risks to maximise the opportunities that arise. And, accept that you don’t know or can do everything, so surround yourself with trusted professionals who can help you, and ‘cheerleaders’ who inspire and believe in you. That’s my recipe for success!
What do you hope to be doing in 10 years’ time?
Being on a mission to put the ‘Spirit of Adventure’ back into leadership, I hope ‘Outside Thinking’ becomes embedded into every leader’s DNA. I want our ‘Adventurous Leadership’ Programme© to be the go-to programme for successful leaders and successful businesses, to become renowned for preventing professional and organisational stagnation; maintaining vitality and vivacity for leading people; and a critical initiative for overcoming challenging times, change and uncertainty. This would be a fantastic legacy for me.
Date of writing – 20.03.2023
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