My name is Jennifer although I'm Jen to my friends, colleagues and clients, and I am the founder of Sakura. Thank you for considering me as your coach or mentor. As someone who was a corporate executive for over 20 years, I understand the challenges, the frustrations and the seemingly endless choices and decisions that come with the career path. I have always been lucky enough to have incredible support from my co-workers and loved ones, but I often found myself wishing that there were someone independent I could seek help from who understood how it felt to be me.
I started my professional life as a graduate management trainee working at Unilever's UK ice cream business, with the major perk of all the Ben & Jerry's you could eat, and since then have worked on giant consumer brands like Dove, Axe and Sharpie. I have worked as an independent consultant and been trusted with Delta Air Lines' award-winning loyalty program. Along the way I said “yes” to dozens of career opportunities that took me from Finance to Marketing Communications via Investor Relations and Corporate Strategy. My journey has taken me from London to the US, with stops in Bangkok, Singapore, Tokyo and Shanghai. These choices have given me a unique and diverse skillset and a truly global perspective on business and culture.
I have worked side-by-side with multiple C-suite professionals, whether writing earnings speeches for the CFO, functional processes for the CMO, or corporate strategy for the CEO. These experiences taught me at unusually close quarters what it takes to thrive and succeed at the top – and what a daunting thing it can be when you reach the top of the ladder you’ve striven so long to climb.
I have designed an organization for an $11bn business, built a team that grew from 1 person to over 100, created a leadership team, and instilled a culture that delivered world-class people engagement scores, all in under two years. If I could bottle the feelings of satisfaction and energy that any contribution I made to those 100 people’s growth gave me, I would open it every day and inhale from it. Taking the step from managing people to leading them was the greatest challenge, and the greatest privilege, of my career, and one that changed my perspective on life forever.
I have trained as a crisis counselor, and coached clients at the brink of their emotional capacity, in situations along the spectrum of venting after a tough day to experiencing suicidal thoughts. Seeing the power of coaching skills to bring people at their most desperate and lost to a place of self-empowerment as they devise their own path to calm may be the most humbling and rewarding thing I have done with my life so far.
My deepest wish was to turn this half-lifetime of learnings into something that can benefit others by giving them the confidence to help them realize their true potential. And so I made the leap of becoming a Certified Professional Coach, qualifying through iPEC, the Institute for Professional Excellence in Coaching.
We all have a story that makes us unique. I hope in mine you hear something that resonates with you and we get to meet soon.