Discussing the future and the implications of being materially successful and personally fulfilled saw inspirational OS Jonathan Jenkins (MJH,HH,81-88) share his career and life journey with the Lower Sixth during their recent activities week.
Jonathan reflected on the pride and gratitude he felt for having received a College education and the surreal feelings he was experiencing when addressing the L6th in what for his time at the College, was the indoor swimming pool. He was eternally grateful for the key role that Teachers played in his personal and professional success, in particular he felt indebted to his Hayward House Housemaster David Hopper who wrote the reference that secured him his first job in the City.
He spoke candidly about his early career decisions, swiftly choosing to study Banking and Finance at Cass Business School (University of London) not because he gave indepth thought to the difference between that course and the alternatives at Ulster or Bangor Universities but choosing to study in London because he was a Spurs fan and didn't want to go to live in Ulster or Bangor! His career path was determined by the desire to be financially successful in the City, to follow in the Trader footsteps of his Father and Grandfather, who commenced their trading careers at 14. At the time he gave little thought to the personal satisfaction that a fulfiling career could bring. Everyone that Jonathan came into contact with was involved in finance, banking, in making money, so he feels that his path to becoming an FX Trader was determined from an early age.
Jonathan described how his City career was hugely successful but on the flip side the City regime was also brutal, in his words 'he was 'spat out of the City' and was forced to regroup and look for an alternative career. It was then that he took the initial steps that would ultimately lead him to his role as CEO of London Air Ambulance in 2017, a role that he sees as the pinnacle of his career, a role within which he is the most fulfilled he has ever been. Social Enterprise was his '2nd career' and Jonathan worked to provide funding to small businesses to fulfill their individual aims and objectives, objectives that Jonathan saw to have hugely positive impact on the community surrounding them. This spurred him to seek to commence his '3rd career' and become personally involved in the delivery of charitable goals, to not just help provide funding for an organisation but to be involved at the heart of a charity, where his work could make a direct difference to those using the charities vital services.
Jonathan joined London Air Ambulance as Chief Executive at the time of the Westminster Bridge terrorist attack, six weeks before the London Bridge terrorist attacks and three months before the Grenfell Tragedy. His desire to make a diffference was cemented immediately and he has worked tirelessly to progress the delivery of advanced trauma teams to London’s most seriously injured patients, serving the 10 million people that live, work and travel within the M25, treating an average of five patients every day and by providing intervention as quickly as possible after injury, they aim to give patients the best chance of survival, and best quality of life, after trauma.
Not one to shy away from a physical challenge, a talented fundraiser throughout his professional career spanning different arenas: from the public, from institutions, for private companies and for charities, Jonathan has also undertaken numerous personal challenges such as the gruelling Marathon Des Sable in aid of London Air Ambulance.
The themes that Jonathan returned throughout his engaging address was that of the conscious realisation that modern careers evolve and change to take different and sometimes unexpected paths, he reflected that very few of his fellow Class of 1988 still remained within their original careers. He quoted one of his favourite quotes by Hartley '"The past is a foreign country: they do things differently there" explaining that careers and long held attitudes that were avidly pursued and protected in the past, now no longer exist. That individuals should take time to really identify what interests them and what makes them happy. The persuit of financial and material success is fine but if a career can be found that can mirror personal interests and passions then purpose, happiness and fulfillment will follow and an individual is likely to excel where that balance is found.
A vibrant question and answer session followed with students keen to garner Jonathan's advice on interview strategies, his view on City careers and how to enhance personal reputation. It was impossible to leave the Ferguson Lecture Theatre without being inspired by Jonathan's engaging portrayal of his personal and professional journey since his time at the College.
After students went into groups for further discussions we had the privilege of accompanying Jonathan, former Head of Hayward House, on a tour of the College campus, his first visit in many years. We were thrilled to be accompanied by his school friend Caroline Cottee (YH,87-89) an OS herself and a very familiar face on campus as a member of the College Teaching & House staff. Hayward House of the 1980s may now be Benson House but that didn't take anything away from our walk down memory lane.
We are hugely grateful to Jonathan for sharing his insight and expertise with our Lower Sixth, the notion that success can be measured in more than material ways was sure to resonate with all whom had the honour to hear him talk.
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