IOEE Ambassador is Awarded OBE for Services to Training and People Development

Jackie Jenks is an IOEE Ambassador and the CEO of Leapfrog Mountain; a mentoring and enterprise academy that supports mentors, business leaders and entrepreneurs. Leapfrog Mountain secured its status as an IOEE Academy in May 2016, and just over a year later Jackie has been awarded an OBE for her services to training and people development. We chatted to Jackie about her journey so far and what this outstanding achievement means to her.

Jackie had a 28-year corporate career in banking and training before taking the ‘leap’ into setting up her own company, Leapfrog Mountain. Jackie says:

“I’m originally from a family business background and this inspired me from an early age, so I think I’ve always had that entrepreneurial spark. Setting up Leapfrog Mountain was my time to fully take that spark and run with it, and I find it such a privilege to be working in mentoring and training; knowing that I am making a difference is what really motivates me.”

One of Leapfrog Mountain’s charity partners is the School of Hard Knocks (SOHK), supporting the creation of their mentoring programme and being one of their ambassadors. It’s a fantastic example of how dedicated Jackie and Leapfrog Mountain are to focusing on people, collaboration, and the importance of community support:

“The traditional way of looking at business success is to look at its ROI (Return on Investment), but you can’t just look at the numbers. Looking at what people are achieving has a much bigger impact on the business. By investing in training, mentoring and developing people, you’ll get a higher return on your investment, and one that is much more powerful and impactful than if you just measure results according to the finances alone.”

The majority of Jackie’s work is centred around the organisation and running of effective mentoring programmes and training business and mentor leaders, with a small amount of private work where she works one-to-one with some of her key clients. Jackie says:

“Work is incredibly varied, with clients all over the UK and overseas. I’m incredibly lucky in that I don’t have what looks like a ‘normal’ day, and that I get to work with such a diverse range of people. That’s what Leapfrog Mountain is all about – working with people from different backgrounds, with different skillsets and different experiences, and bringing those people together. It makes so much of a practical difference – otherwise you’re just having the same thoughts in the same way, and going round and round in circles. Collaboration is absolutely key to success.”

When setting up Leapfrog Mountain, Jackie could have opted to go with a more traditional business-like name, but she wanted something that was more colourful, characterful and reflective of the process that mentors and mentees alike were experiencing:

“There was a lot of brainstorming to come up with the name. A lot of my mentees had been telling me that they felt like their career or business was a mountain they couldn’t get over, and many people talk about their mentoring and training as a journey. I wanted a name that would show we’d make that journey easier for them, and the name Leapfrog Mountain came to me one day at 3am! It’s a shame these things come to you in the middle of the night and not in the middle of the day, but that’s often the way it goes!”

On 16th June, Jackie received a letter from the Cabinet Office saying that she was to be recognised for her services to training and people development; recognition that she says was a complete surprise, and totally blew her away:

“Being awarded an OBE means such an amazing amount to me, and it’s very humbling. For Leapfrog Mountain, I’m hoping that this OBE will give us an opportunity to get across to more people and organisations that people development is so important. Having the award is a huge honour, and hopefully it will give me a greater platform to share the message and the news that everybody really can make a difference.”