Recognising leadership in a time of many challenges

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The IoD Jersey Director of the Year Awards are open for nominations to celebrate the Island’s most inspiring and successful leaders. The awards don’t just showcase those who help bring prosperity to the economy in Jersey, but also the social benefit to us all. Sponsored by Appleby Jersey, the IoD awards feature ten categories, from small and family organisations and directors who excel in equality, diversity and inclusion, to large business leaders. In the second in a series of articles looking at the various categories, Natasha Egré, chair of IoD Jersey, considers the challenges and opportunities of family businesses, as well as those faced by leaders of large organisations in the Island

THE business tendency survey, published in December 2022, highlighted the two main challenges that Jersey businesses and their leaders are having to face, that of staff skills and the shortage of staff, and the global economic outlook.

Both have had a major negative effect on the cost of doing business. The vast majority of companies reported that rising input costs were having an impact and, for many, this was hitting profitability. The result on the bottom line was particularly felt in non-finance-sector businesses.

How our leaders address these challenges is critical to the success of our enterprises and, ultimately, our economy and society that relies on them. That is why it is important that we recognise those who are leading their organisations well by nominating them for an IoD Director of the Year Award.

Our large businesses might be smaller in number, (fewer than 500 employ more than 20 people in Jersey) but they clearly have a significant impact on the Island. The large-business award is for those companies with a turnover in excess of £10 million.

Judges will look at how financial targets and KPIs have been met/exceeded, innovation, the vision for growth, sustainability, evidence of good corporate governance and the leader’s understanding of key challenges, customers and the changing business landscape.

In 2022, the winner of the large-business award was Paul Murphy, who was the chief executive of Onogo. Paul has since moved on to become the chief executive of Jersey Business. He told us that winning the award was a huge endorsement for him and the Onogo team.

‘To be voted for and nominated by peers is really a humbling moment and what makes the award so very special,’ he reflected. ‘The team’s pride and acknowledgement was high and this coming from outside the organisation really rewards the efforts of all and helped put the business into the spotlight.’

Voisins department store. Gerald Voisin, Chairman of Voisins Dept Store Ltd Picture: ROB CURRIE. (35648894)

There is one type of business in Jersey where the relationships of those running it are more deep-rooted than in any other organisation, and also more embedded into our community – and that is a family business. Family businesses often have strong sustainability principles because they want their organisation to be there for their children and grandchildren. Likewise, they will invest in their local community because that is the place in which they, their neighbours and their friends all live.

There are also challenges. Attracting family members to join the business might not be easy, so succession planning can have added complications. Knowing when to hand over the reins of the business is another issue. Older generations may be reluctant to step away, but younger generations might not want to wait.

The family business award recognises individuals in a family business who have responded to the specific challenges that face directors in family firms, and who have contributed to the success of the diverse, dynamic and innovative family business sector.

The judges are looking for a leader who balances the needs and relationships of the company’s owners with a desire to become more successful. Whether one family is in charge or several families work together, the business leader must have the potential to continue to grow and thrive within the current ownership structure.

Last year, Gerald Voisin, who runs the oldest family-run department store in Britain, Voisins, won the award. Gerald bought the firm from his father after he lobbied to take the business in new directions. He has since had to weather the huge changes in the retail landscape but is still determined to keep innovating and giving customers what they want.

It is critical that we nominate the leaders in our community and organisations that we admire. It gives them the opportunity to step forward and share their achievements and gives us the chance to show our appreciation.

I’ll give the final word to Paul Murphy, who is now one of our judges for 2023.

‘This is a chance to share stories of progress, resilience and pride, and many businesses have great stories that can often be untold. From a team, culture and personal perspective there is much value in joining the application journey.’

The ten award categories are:

  • Director of the Year – Large Business (over £10 million turnover).

  • Director of the Year – SME Business (under £10 million turnover).

  • Family Business Director of the Year.

  • Start-up Director of the Year.

  • Third Sector Director of the Year.

  • Public Sector Director of the Year.

  • Young Director of the Year.

  • Director of the Year – Equality, Diversity & Inclusion.

  • Director of the Year – Sustainability.

  • Non-Executive Director of the Year.

Nominations close on Friday 30 June. It only takes two minutes to nominate someone online and nominations can remain anonymous if you choose. To nominate someone for an award visit: or The gala awards dinner will take place on Thursday 19 October at the Royal Jersey Showground.

Top tips for applicants from IOD Award judge Lisa Springate

IOD Award judge, Lisa Springate

  • ‘Try to be as concise and punchy as possible when filling in the application after you’ve been nominated. Show what sets you apart from the other applicants. How have you shown dedication, resilience and creativity in tackling the threats while also grasping opportunities? How did you bring the team with you, ensuring that everyone was able to contribute and be heard?’

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