Alumna Joëlle Warren reflects on her time as JCR President (1983-84) and pays tribute to the leadership of then Principal Ruth Etchells.
Winning the election against RON was a less than exciting start, but it was the move to the coveted Presidential suite, being invited to all the College balls, joining numerous committees including the Bar Committee (at a time when my now husband, Andrew’s and my idea of a hot date was going down there for the cheapest drink, a pint of lime and soda at 10p) and having the privilege of saying grace at every formal dinner that were the highlights of my year!
More seriously, it was a great honour to serve as JCR President at a time when the wonderful Ruth Etchells was Principal. I watched how she ran meetings, how she negotiated, how she dealt with difficult issues… and difficult people. I don’t think I realised it at the time, but it was at St John’s, under the generous and nurturing leadership of Ruth Etchells, that I had my first call to what has become my vocation, which is to be God’s person ministering in the world of business. She was a role model as a woman leader, encouraging me to use my gifts, pushing me to take on new responsibilities, making sure I didn’t take my eye off the academic ball to get a decent degree but above all she showed what it is to be a servant leader, she focused primarily on the growth and well-being of people and the communities to which she belonged. I owe her and St John’s a huge debt of gratitude.
Joëlle Warren MBE (Economics, 1981-84)
Today, Joëlle is Founding Partner and Executive Chair of Warren Partners, an executive search firm. Joelle was awarded an MBE in 2016 for services to business. She is also Vice-Lord Lieutenant for Cheshire and Non-Executive Director of Chester Race Company, and was Founding Chair of Cheshire Community Foundation.