The University of the West of England (UWE), in partnership with Business West, runs an annual lecture series that brings top business leaders to Bristol. We caught up with Anne Jessopp, Chief Executive, The Royal Mint, before her address.
1. How does it feel to be CEO of a company with a heritage that stretches back over 1,000 years?
It’s a real honour, it’s really exciting, but it also brings with it feelings of responsibility, particularly given the challenges that The Royal Mint was facing in terms of people moving away from coins to other forms of payment.
Given our 1,100 year history, I really feel the responsibility to ensure that I lead the organisation in its reinvention, so that we’ve got a vibrant and successful future for many generations.
People might think that because we’ve got a long history that the organisation is stuck in the past, that it’s resistant to change, but that’s just not my experience.
Our history gives us the confidence and capabilities to build on and the organisation is really enthusiastic about moving forward.
This is also a critical time for the world in regards to the environment. I feel a real responsibility for The Royal Mint to play its role in relation to precious metals and the recycling of them.
I’m the first female Chief Executive in The Royal Mint’s 1,100 year history. So, I hope that my appointment can be a role model for other women in areas of industry.
In summary, I guess I feel a lot of responsibility, but that never feels like a burden because it’s such a privilege to work for an organisation like The Royal Mint, with its history and its exciting future.
2. What inspires you about your role?
I think the main thing that inspires me about my role is the focus and the dedication of the team that I work with to reinvent The Royal Mint. It’s really inspiring.
The reinvention of The Royal Mint has required every one of our thousand colleagues to learn new skills and do things in new ways.
Every time we come up against a challenge, I’m always so impressed with the way that the team tackles and overcomes the issue.
My career has really focussed on leading organisations through cultural and strategic change, and I can’t think of a more exciting opportunity than this.
That inspires me every day to do what I really love.
When I look at our products I’m absolutely blown away by the craftmanship – they’re like tiny pieces of art.
The customers that I’ve met absolutely love our products – that really inspires me.
3. What would your advice be to students graduating from university?
My advice would be to take every opportunity during your career. Do roles you may not have necessarily thought of and take opportunities to develop.
I think if you focus on having a really structured career plan, you often miss opportunities, so I think its important to be outwardly looking.
I think it’s important to find a role and a career that you’re going to really enjoy because you’re going to spend so much time at work.
People are going to have 2 or 3 careers during their working life and therefore I really wouldn’t feel too concerned to rush into finding out what that is. Find an organisation whose values are like yours and in that way you’ll be happy and as effective as you can.
Finally, I wish somebody told me that it’s never too early to start paying into a pension – give yourself some options when you may not want to work in later life!
This series of free public lectures brings top level business leaders to Bristol. You can discuss these events on Twitter using the hashtag #BristolLectures and view further content from Anne Jessopp's lecture here. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.