Jill went from serving in a tuck shop to being one of the top dance teachers in the world.
IDTA Dance Fellow and Examiner Jill Kemp is principal of the Jill Foster Dance Centre (www.jfdc.co.uk) and runs one of the top ten IDTA Dance Examination Schools in the World.
Jill has twice been awarded a Carl Alan Award for excellence in dance teaching. Previous winners of Carl Alan Awards include Darcey Bussell, Sir Terry Wogan and Jayne Torville.
Jill is also a key member of the Mind over Matter Consultancy team and runs a Dance programme for leaders and managers.
Jill, Welcome to the Leadership interview.
How do you start your day?
I normally start my day by doing the ironing and getting the house in order. Once that is done I feel ready to proceed with whatever I have in the diary.
What was your first job and what is the worst job you’ve ever done?
My first job was working as a Saturday assistant at the dance school that I attended. My duties involved everything from buying sandwiches for the staff, serving behind the tuck shop, running the sweet raffle and feeding the cat. Very little dancing was involved but I loved every minute.
My first job on leaving school was in Local Government training as a Legal Assistant.
I have never had a bad job and my parents always said that it didn’t matter how menial the task, always do it to the best of your ability and take pride in your work.
What advice would you give to others about furthering their careers?
The best advice I can give is to never think that you know it all. There is always plenty to learn. Listen to others and don’t be afraid to take criticism.
Who inspires you and why?
My family inspire me as they have always believed in me and supported everything that I have ever done.
Do you think a talent to lead is nature or nurture?
I think that a talent to lead can be a little of both nature and nurture. You need to be in the right mindset to be nurtured and shaped into leadership material.
How can a leader fail? Do you have a personal example?
Leaders can fail by not listening to others…especially their staff. Also, respect and manners are so important…
What are your greatest strengths and weaknesses?
I would like to think that one of my strengths is being approachable. My main weakness is lack of self belief.
What do you find most challenging about being a leader?
I find the main challenge is keeping up with a changing world. As I get older I can lose touch with what is happening in technology etc. I rely on my younger staff to point me in the right direction or just take over the reins.
What are you most proud of?
I am extremely proud of my dance centre and my wonderful teachers and volunteers for the joy of dance that they share with so many people.
I am also extremely proud of my family and their amazing achievements not only as my children but also as parents to their own children.
What’s your biggest self- indulgence?
My biggest self indulgence is reading…especially in the morning before I get up to do the ironing!!
Could you allow yourself to go outside your normal sphere of experience?
Jill runs our NEW high performance programme Dance: Like No One’s Watching
The ethos of the programme is to utilise the power of dance to develop leadership qualities in senior and middle managers through cognitive development linked to individuals and teams.