Ahead of our first Ask Anything Q&A, looking at setting up in business, we caught up with panellist Ben Hawley to find out about his experience.
Tell us about your expertise
Over the last four years, I’ve helped over 300 businesses set up in the South Yorkshire region. These have ranged from lifestyle businesses right the way through to tech start-up working in Industry 4.0, and I’ve even had a client win investment on Dragons Den from not just one, but two dragons. I’ve worked with the University of Sheffield to help train their students who are looking at setting up on their own when they leave University. Over the last five months, I’ve been focused on helping businesses pivot and change their business model rapidly so they can survive through the Covid crisis. Prior to doing all this, I was self-employed for 10 years, firstly with a beer delivery company and then as a strategy and marketing consultant.
How long have you been a JCI member?
I joined JCI in 2012 when I had just started the marketing business and I was out networking. I met a member of JCI Barnsley and they invited me along to one of the training session and I was hooked! During my time as a member, I’ve held a variety of roles including Local President, National Convention DIrector and in 2018 I had the honor of being JCI UK National President.
What’s the best thing about being a JCI member?
The opportunities it brings you, both on a personal and a professional basis. There are things I’ve experienced that I would never have done if I wasn’t a member. I certainly know I wouldn’t;t be doing the role I have today without the skills I’ve learned through JCI. I know it’s a cliche to say it, but cliches are that because they are true, the people are amazing. I’ve met members from every corner of the world and have made some amazing friends for life.
Tell us about a JCI highlight
It’s hard to pick just one. I think the highlight for me was the 2018 National Convention at the gala dinner. It was amazing standing on stage, knowing who had won the awards so I could carefully keep an eye on the appropriate tables of each winner and I loved seeing the reactions when they won. It showed how much effort each one had put in over the year to make a difference in their local communities. It really was wonderful.
How has JCI helped you in your career?
It’s taught me how to communicate better with people. I’ve learned through JCI how to quickly assess someone’s personality type, what information they will likely what to know, and the best way to communicate that to them. This has been so useful, especially seeing clients as you can quickly tailor your response to their questions. It has also taught me how to be confident speaking in front of a room of people. When I joined, I hated public speaking, but now I’m often the one asked to give the presentation, or facilitate a meeting as I now am much more comfortable in that environment. Being able to do this without any preparation as well is really useful. I certainly wouldn’t;t be where I am today without JCI.
You can sign up to this event here.
This post was written by Zoe Toseland