Boss it Like

How To Boss It Like… Jane Dumeresque, CEO at Folk2Folk

By Kitty Knowles 2 March 2017

These leaders are changing our world for the better. We find out how they get the job done.

There are a handful of business leaders and industry figures in Britain who are changing the world. From Tom Blomfield to Anil Stocker and Eileen Burbidge, these smart people seem to get an incredible amount done, in an impossibly short space of time.

This morning we’re talking to Jane Dumeresque, CEO at Folk2Folk, who is undoubtedly a productivity guru.

With over 25 years experience in the financial services industry and over 10 years at board level, Dumeresque is a shining light in banking.

She took the helm at Folk2Folk in 2015 (two years after it launched), and has steered it to recently become the largest fully-authorised peer-to-peer business in Britain.

Today Dumeresque ensures the business leads the way for people who want to invest in their local community – it’s lent over £135m already.

And despite being a challenger bank, you can always pop into a brick and mortar Folk2Folk branch to gain face-to-face advice.

When she’s not ‘at work’, you’ll find Dumeresque running through streams, at her book club, and listening to Madonna.

A busy woman, with big ideas, The Memo asked her how she gets it all done.

What time do you get up, and what part of your morning routine sets you up for the day?

My phone alarm goes off at 6.25 (no snoozing) when I catch up on emails and watch the news on BBC breakfast before heading over to the office in my car when I listen to the Today programme.

What smartphone do you have?

I am a big fan of my Samsung S7. As a business we use windows and I prefer to use android products.

What apps do you use to be more productive?

My favourite apps include the Times, & FT for news, and I couldn’t survive without Google Maps, National Rail and London Underground to get me around.

On the productivity front I prefer to keep to pen and paper with to do lists.

How many people, outside of family, do you meet in a day?

We are a growing business of around 45 people, many of whom work in our head offices, while some work remotely across our branch network.

I tend to interact with most of the local based staff every day and our remote staff at least once a fortnight.

I also try to briefly attend meetings with our larger introducers and clients when they are in meeting other colleagues.

Although our head office is based in Cornwall I am usually up in London every fortnight meeting investors, institutional lenders, advisors, the press and catching up with other business leaders in the industry.

What book have you read, either recently or in the past, that has inspired you?

When I attended the London Business School for my MBA, rather late in life, I found I had a lot of reading to do (LBS were delighted to welcome someone who ticked so many of their minority boxes: a non-graduate, a women, and someone over 40, that they awarded me a scholarship!).

I’m also a member of a couple of book clubs and do enjoy reading a very wide range of books which I might not otherwise have selected.

One that I remember touched me was Me Before You by Jo Jo Moyes.

Sadly I fear that the film adaption has rather over romanticised what was a very important message that we should each have the right to exercise decisions over our own bodies.

What advice would you give for people who are eager to get into your industry?

I would tell them that Peer-to-Peer Lending is a fabulous business to be in.

It feels good to be enabling both borrowers and lenders to achieve their dreams by providing financial solutions.

To be in our industry you must have passion, be that passion over technology innovation or passion over creating financial solutions for people. Although the industry is now becoming more mainstream many Peer-to-Peer businesses are still relatively new start-ups.

You need to be flexible, agile, show initiative and be hungry.

I believe that the future successful players in our industry will be specialists who can deliver value from their very specific and unique skills, or be one of the large players who over time may end up looking more like banks.

Dumeresque (front right) dons high-vis for a run with the Stannary Hash House Harriers. Pic: Facebook/Stannary Hash House Harriers
Dumeresque (front right) dons high-vis for a run with the Stannary Hash House Harriers. Pic: Facebook/Stannary Hash House Harriers

When do you work until? Are you still sending emails in the night? Or do you have a wind down routine?

As a start-up CEO you rarely have the opportunity to switch off but I do like to wind down through exercise.

Every week I run with the Stannary Hash House Harriers who are a group of people aged from 10 to 70 who run every Monday evening across the Moors in all weathers and conditions, ice and snow, across rocks, streams and for half the year in darkness.

I also play tennis at our local club, usually managing an evening and weekend game most weeks.

If you could ask your idol one question, who would it be, and what would you ask?

Such a difficult one as there are so many amazing role models both alive and dead.

One person I very much admire for her ability to combine her talents as an artist as well as those of a business women would be Madonna.

She has remained current, always adapting and reinventing herself. She pushes boundaries, challenges accepted notions and is not afraid to take evaluated risks.

What I would ask her is: ‘what part of the last 20 years, has been the most exciting period of your growth?’

Come back next Thursday for our next #BossItLike interview, and get in touch if you know a leader who’s also a productivity guru for us to talk to.