How did you become successful?
Nobody starts out thinking they are going to be a success. You start out by thinking you better make something work and make some money. My mantra in life is JFDI – “just f*cking do it” and whether it be the charities I’ve set up or Halpern it really is all about graft. That’s what makes success.
What is your greatest achievement in business?
The people that work with me. It’s so inspirational to find that people I have had through the years have gone on to be friends with each other and create real relationships.
We create a network for people at Halpern, whether that means business or friendships. We are the agency version of Bumble – just not dating! But very much like Bumble, we are about the creation of a network and that has been a wonderful success for me.
What is the one essential business lesson every entrepreneur should know?
Always fight for it. Because nothing comes easy.
People set out in this world thinking “I’ve got a great idea”. Well you will have a great idea but it won’t just work immediately.
To be able to make something come to fruition you have to be able to never give up. And that’s why I say always fight for it because you will hit hurdles and you’ll have to get over them.
The longevity of Halpern, which is over 25 years old, has really shown me that it’s not about the moment but the journey.
How is your work/life balance?
It’s crazy (laughs)! Most people ask me how I do it and sometimes I have no idea. It’s one of those things – you ask a busy person to do something and they get it done.
I have long lists of everything; I record everything that I am doing.
And I’m relentless, I love the adrenalin factor of getting stuff done and being productive – that’s an exciting part of my life.
I have an unbelievable partner in my husband. We have three children – again, I had to work for those, all through surrogacy, which is another example of ‘just fight for it’. Recently we have added a puppy to the mayhem.
I also really love socialising with my friends and making sure that I get the balance right between being at work, coming home, seeing my children. I think it’s really important to play hard too – work hard, play hard.
Why did you want to get involved with Expert Impact?
I always enjoy being able to, in any way, give back to people who might need some advice or guidance. I find it completely inspirational from both points of view. I love the way Expert Impact kind of grows you, as well as the mentee.
You have to really be on your game and think: how are you going to help this person sitting in front of you for one hour?
Because Expert Impact tailor the mentors to the mentees, it’s really got the formula right; you find that you have fun within this mentor session as well.
Which social causes are you particularly passionate about and why?
There have been many causes close to my heart. Great Ormond Street Hospital, which I was involved with for eight years; Women’s Aid, who stand against domestic abuse against women and children. And I’m an absolute sucker for animal charities like the Dog’s Trust.
But I decided to create two charities. The first is the The Lady Garden because I have personally had gynaecological issues. I do feel that to be passionate about something you have to have a personal interest. That was mine and another of the four co-founders mothers have died of ovarian cancer.
My mission is to make it successful by raising as much money as possible for the Royal Marsden and other organisations that need our help with gynaecological cancers.
The other one is Access Aspiration which I set up seven years ago. That was to counter the problem that we have in our industry but also many others, which is the lack of diversity of individuals that come through the door.
We were having a lot of middle class, white candidates always applying for jobs and work placements. A lot of people come into agency life on a work placement, become so good and get taken on.
I decided as a governor of the London Academy of Edgware to be able to offer 40 placements to kids in state schools. 20 kids turned up. How could there be a failure rate of 50%?
We found that a lot of the kids had such a fear factor of even arriving at that work station in the first place. So we did a lot of interview training and speed networking to help the kids determine what they were interested in and why. The take up rate for the placements went up to 85%.
We merged into the Mayor’s Fund two years, and it is a charity that offers incredible aspirational placements in businesses like the Bank of England, EE, Arup Engineering, Matches Fashion. If you want to get into a certain business, we will get you into that business and we’ve had some fantastic success stories.
I just felt it was dreadfully unfair that if you were a connection of somebody you could get somewhere. So therefore if you didn’t have any connections at all we could literally open the door for you to come in and be at a place you had only dreamed of.
If you’d like to apply to meet Jenny for mentoring, click here.