As a new member of Chamber’s Executive, Jane St Pier brings a wealth of Third Sector insight and experience, coupled with a track record in corporate life. Here, she explains her reasons for giving time voluntarily to the business organisation
When you consider Jane St Pier’s impressive track record in the island’s voluntary sector, it is perhaps too easy to overlook a CV that also includes a good chunk of corporate life and it is that combined insight which motivates her to bring the two sectors closer together.
With a firm understanding of how voluntary organisations work (she is a founder of The Hub and has been Chair of the Youth Commission since 2013 and is also a Board member of The Community Foundation) Jane is keen to align it more closely with the shape and mindset of the positives found in corporate life.
She sees real potential under the umbrella of Chamber’s broad and diverse membership and will be involved in further developing the organisation’s 52-strong NFP area, together with initiatives to provide seamless engagement opportunities for both sectors.
Jane co-founded Young People Guernsey (the charity behind The Hub) and spent five years as a board member for the Child Youth and Community Tribunal. On a corporate level, she held management roles at Price Waterhouse and Rothschilds.
Fresh from the emotional family challenge of seeing three daughters settled in education in the UK, she is now actively involved in re-shaped Chamber as part of Elaine Gray’s presidency.
‘I think we are in extraordinary times. One of the things that really attracted me to the role is the energy and purpose in Chamber, from Elaine, Kay and Exec and I think there is real potential. It is also about being fit for purpose, being flexible and ensuring that we are very mindful of supporting our members. Can I lay out a great game plan for five years? No! No one can, apart from some States’ direction. There is still lots of opportunity within those parameters. One of the things I hope I can bring – because in some ways this is not a natural progression for me – is to be really mindful of the potential for our whole community by aligning business “life” and third sector closer together through Chamber. I feel that there is a real symbiosis here and it is really exciting to me.’
She believes that this collective energy could be as bold as the plans for our economic goals. ‘There are lessons to be learned from both “sides” and one growing awareness is that profit is not the driver for everyone: people and community are so much broader than that, even though obviously economic success needs to be part of those island goals.’
The fact that most of Chamber’s memberships consists of organisations with small team numbers -albeit including those working on a global level – is front of mind for her. ‘SMEs are superb at managing all of the areas that need to be included in a very efficient way: HR, business development, finances, IT and so on and I believe that the voluntary sector can be professional and governed in much the same successful way. The voluntary sector provides crucial support in many areas on-island. I have carried out operating roles in that sector and you are, for all intents and purposes, running a business.’
She is energised at the prospect of bringing the voluntary and business sectors closer together, especially around skills, training and retraining. ‘Young people need support, older re-trainers will need help and I believe there is also huge untapped potential in non-working parents – mostly mothers – who are discouraged from working because of inflexible work options and child care challenges. We can look at all of that.’
As her Chamber “to do” list grows by the day, Jane takes time out to walk, spend time with her husband (you may have heard of him!) and enjoy her e-cycle – and then there are the (happy) demands of life as a working mother of three and caring for their growing menagerie of sheep, goats, ducks and dogs! It’s probably just as well that Chamber thrives on the voluntary time of those who live by the mantra that if you want something doing, you ask a busy person…