As Jems' enters its 10th year, I have spent some time reflecting on our journey. Anyone running a business will understand; it's intense, it can be really tough at times, but, ultimately, it's so rewarding. I consider myself extremely lucky to be part of other people's journeys and to be able to help better their lives on a daily basis .
My first blog was very personal, celebrating International Women's Day and how I have managed to build a business as a working mum, showing my children the importance of a strong work ethic as they grow up. My youngest turned 10 this weekend, double digits which is a huge milestone for her, already a force to be reckoned with, as well as a voice of reason. I formed Jems three weeks before she was born due to redundancy, at the very peak of the global financial crisis! I am immensely proud of what I have achieved both personally and professionally since then. And of course, there is huge pride at what all of my team, past and present, have achieved over the last decade - is it really that long already?!
When I think back to the first few months of trading in 2008, it was generally a pretty bleak economic and social outlook. The UK officially entered recession in 2009, however, as I often say, where there are losers, there are winners too. That year, Roger Federer won his 15th grand slam, making him the most successful tennis player in history. His undoubted talent, combined with his dedication and work ethic make him the player he is. My son is a massive tennis fan, he plays weekly and, at the age of 12, is now giving his dad a run for his money. I'm sure with commitment and a competitive spirit, he will soon be beating him! Working through those early years, the key was to keep doing what I do best, listening to my clients, understanding their needs so I could recruit great people for them to grow and prosper - it was as simple as that! With focus, dedication and, of course, the support of my family, Jems really got off the ground.
I moved into my own office space in 2012 with my first part-time employee, a huge milestone in the business' development. I had made the leap and this was the beginning of growth for Jems, which has continued ever since. It's not been an easy journey but definitely an exciting one, in 2013 the UK lost its AAA credit rating for the first time since I was born (yes, showing my age!) but it didn't deter me and, in fact, the company continued to grow. Then in 2014 we saw a shift, unemployment began to fall in the UK and Jems moved to a new, larger office to support further expansion. Market conditions meant it was becoming more difficult to find the very best candidates, however, using our experience we continued to over-deliver for our clients and candidates.
2016 was the year of unexpected political results across the globe: Brexit in the UK, Donald Trump in the US shocking us all with huge ramifications for the macro-economic environment. In the same year, there was an unpredicted office move for Jems to our current office where we are really happy and settled. Owning your own business often comes with the odd curve ball - it's the resilience and adaptability you demonstrate in these times that defines you.
And so, to this year, our 10th! We've had a refresh - rebranding and launching a new vibrant website. As we enter our second-decade, we have doubled our staff to ensure that we will continue to offer a brilliant service to our clients and candidates at all times.
When I reflect on what has kept me going through the tough times and what has spurred me on even further during the great times, my thoughts always come back to one core belief - we just love helping people. We are privileged to be let into the inner workings of our clients, to be part of their key decisions, to be able to advise on market trends and to ultimately help build successful teams for them to grow and deliver on their strategic goals. To be part of a candidate's progress, to find out about them on such a personal level - their aspirations and life goals - I am very grateful (and fortunate) to have been involved with all of these people's lives, to have been part of life-changing decisions and to have built relationships with so many people. There really is no greater thrill for me professionally than when a candidate tells me how getting a new role will fundamentally change their life for the better!
There has been so much change over the last 10 years, technological advances, for example, have been huge, live streaming, self-driving cars, a variety of smartphones, iPads, electric cars, drone shopping deliveries to name but a few, but the fundamental aspect of what I do remains fixed - people. As Jems continues on our adventures, I'm sure there will naturally be some challenging times and some wonderful times, changes in legislation and further advancements in technology, but the two things that will remain constant are our passion for brilliant people and the unfaltering support from those closest to me. In signing-off, I want to thank each and every one who has been a part of Jems' first decade. You all know who you are and the role you've played in the business being what it is today. Here's to the next 10 years!