Kerfoot News

Family Business Place National Conference

The Kerfoot Group

Last Friday 28th November our Chief Executive, Jennifer Kerfoot, was the headline speaker at the annual Family Business Place National Conference in London. The theme this year was ‘Girls Allowed: the BIG Picture’.

In this age of the entrepreneur, more women than ever before are setting up shop with their daughters, mothers, sisters, brothers, husbands and cousins. They are creating businesses that reflect their passions and values which will endure through to the next generation. The Kerfoot Group is no different as a second generation-led business with Jennifer at the helm. Her sister Eleanor Wade leads the buying division for the Kerfoot Speciality Oils division, sourcing globally all the oils that are sold into the personal care industries. Their brother Thomas is a Director of the Company responsible for the Kerfoot Speciality Oils division in its’ entirety – from the operational side, through to technical and commercial.

Jennifer was asked to speak at the conference to share her experience of leading a family business as a female, as a daughter of the Founders and as a sister; she was asked to explore how she balances family life with work, going for growth whilst ensuring the platform and legacy created by her parents remains secure and water-tight for the next generation. Jennifer joined the business following a career in finance based in London after graduating with a Masters from St. Andrews University. Jennifer opened up the conference with the following statement which led for an insightful 45minute talk into her career, her highs and inevitable lows in the journey so far.

“I am no Germaine Greer, bra-burning, raging feminist. I am no Chelsea Clinton campaigning globally for women’s rights. Nor am I an industry leader or public figure. I am Jennifer Kerfoot, the Chief Executive of our second-generation family business, responsible for 120 employees across Yorkshire (or as I see it 120 families) in the manufacturing industry. I am passionate about ensuring that if I have ever a daughter she is not described as “the bossy one” whilst my son “the strong leader” – why aren’t little boys every described as “bossy”?!”

Coupled with this Jennifer wrote the editorial to the quarterly magazine where she elaborated on why the combination of women and business should never be underestimated. “Emotional intelligence, empathy and collaboration are all familiar traits in a family business and are also deemed to be the strengths in a female leader – a coincidence too strong to ignore”.

The feedback from the conference and indeed on social media made it more than apparent that what Jennifer had to share was worth listening to.

To view the conference video, please see the following link:

Conference Video

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