Our longest standing team member, Jenny

In this blog our Marketing and Communications Officer, Kate Pickering, interviews our longest standing team member, Jenny.

I’ve been part of The Circle since July, whereas our new Academy Manager has been a part of the team for 7 years. I was really keen to find out all about Jenny McCarthy. She has worked with Kirsty since the Along Came Kirsty (Kirsty’s former consultancy practice) days. Kirsty had told me that Jenny’s story is a fascinating one, I think you might agree…

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Case Study – Jack Joyce

It has always been the vision of The Circle to be present in many places across Scotland, the UK and internationally. Discussions began in 2019 to bring The Circle to Glasgow and Easterhouse was selected as the perfect location. The Circle’s business model works best when embedded in the communities we support as opposed to being based in a busy city centre location. Those who will benefit from the venture will primarily be people who live in, work in, and visit these areas. They will benefit from access to the facilities and services provided at the venue as well as from the re-investment of any surpluses generated into further local initiatives.

“We’ve always wanted to run hubs in multiple locations and now, after operating in Dundee for almost five years we’re confident that we have created a model we can replicate. We’re very excited for this next step in our development and to expand our community.”

Kirsty Thomson, Founder & CEO The Circle

We first hired Jack back in June after a successful interview through Community Jobs Scotland. Jack joins our facilities team in Glasgow and we caught up with him to see how he is settling into his new role.

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Institute of Directors Awards 2021

Shortlisted for IoD Director of the Year Awards 2021

IoD Scotland has today revealed the shortlist for its 2021 Director of the Year Awards. Over 140 entries were received from leaders across Scotland, with 47 directors shortlisted across 12 key categories and seven regional categories and it gives us great pleasure to announce that our founder and CEO, Kirsty Thomson has been shortlisted for three of the awards.

It is an honour to have been recognised in three of the awards for Director of the Year. I am excited to have been shortlisted for the new category for agility and resilience and after a tough 18 months that everyone has been through, these have been important values to uphold. The team at The Circle have supported me immensely and I thank our board member, Campbell Archibald for the nomination.

Kirsty Thomson, Founder & CEO
IoD Director of the Year Awards 2021 – Scotland Finalists

The determination that Kirsty must ensure The Circle not only survives but thrives, is key to our city, and now others. Passionate to assist, support and nurture the many partners, tenants and new starts, The Circle has been at the heart of every decision as well as strategy and the lengths Kirsty and the team strive towards sustainable growth in a challenging market. Vindication is a key part of success, and the 3 categories Kirsty has been nominated for, are a testament to the standards and morals she achieves as a leader. This made it very easy and deserved for me to nominate Kirsty and wish her all the best. Being a finalist alone is an amazing achievement.

Campbell Archibald, Non Executive Director The Circle

We are thrilled that Kirsty has been shortlisted for the following awards;

IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Agility & Resilience Sponsored by Insights
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Sponsored by Scottish Government
IoD Scotland Director of the Year – The Fife and Tayside business leaders

Finalists will be announced at this year’s online awards ceremony on the 9th of December where we will be celebrating with The Circle team.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) was founded in 1903 and obtained a Royal Charter in 1906. The IoD is a non-party political organisation with members in the United Kingdom and overseas. Membership includes directors from right across the business spectrum – from media to manufacturing, e-business to the public and voluntary sectors. Members include CEOs of large corporations as well as entrepreneurs and directors of public sector bodies, charities and start-up companies. 

The IoD is dedicated to encouraging entrepreneurial activity through good governance and responsible business practice. It provides an effective voice to represent the interests of its members to key opinion-formers at the highest levels.

The Circle Academy partners with The Eden Project

New for 2021! The Circle Academy has teamed up with Eden Project and their partners AimHi to offer access to their Climate CourseClimate, Nature and How to Make a Difference.  Participants will learn from inside the rainforest in a live and interactive 4-part course, featuring inspiring role models, experts and young change makers from around the world. Get to grips with key climate concepts in just 4 short lessons and feel empowered to make positive change.

About The Circle Academy

The Circle Academy is a practical and educational training programme for individuals interested in running a ‘More Than Profit’ business. The programme is open to anyone who wants to create positive, social or environmental change in a sustainable and commercially viable way.

The Circle Academy is an SQA accredited training programme for social entrepreneurs which is focused on developing skills, knowledge and entrepreneurial mindset.

Climate Course from The Eden Project and AimHi in partnership with The Circle Academy.

About AimHi

AimHi exists to make world-class, live learning accessible to everyone. We’re on a mission to transform global understanding of climate and nature. Nowhere is the education system failing us more than climate and nature. The greatest crisis in history has no magic bullet solutions. Solving it needs world-class education that spans geographies and cultures.

This is what we intend to do.

About Eden Project 

There is a planetary emergency. Only by deepening our collective understanding of the interconnections between all living things and seeing them as a whole can we protect the Earth and engender environmental harmony and social equity.  

We need to inspire citizenship over consumption in order to care for this planet, Spaceship Earth, our only home that provides us ‒ and all life ‒ with fresh air, clean water, fertile soil, rich biodiversity, a stable climate and an awesome recycling system. Exploring how it all interconnects can transform our understanding of the world and help us see, how together, our actions can make a difference.

Applications for The Circle Academy are still open with funded places given to people who fit at least one of the criteria below;

  • those from or working in rural communities.
  • people whose business is in the environmental space.
  • young people under 30.

Interview with Academy Manager Jenny McCarthy.

Ahead of The Academy kicking off in just a couple of weeks time, we talk to Jenny, who has just been appointed Academy Manager.

Photos by Yulia Skulskikh

The Circle Academy is a practical and educational training programme for individuals interested in running a ‘More Than Profit’ business. The programme is open to anyone who wants to create positive, social or environmental change in a sustainable and commercially viable way.

When did you join The Circle, tell us about your journey with The Circle?

I joined The Circle in 2019 after working for Kirsty’s other business, ACK Third Sector Consultants CIC. I had worked at ACK since leaving school in 2014 and had a lot of experience working with third sector organisations in different areas including marketing, so I initially came to The Circle to support with the marketing side of things. I then transitioned to working with Kirsty on the consultancy services after ACK merged with The Circle. Using the knowledge I’d built through the consultancy, I supported on every cohort of the Academy through developing the resources, running 1-to-1s with candidates and even judging on a pitching contest. It felt like a natural progression for me to then move into the Academy Manager role.

Why did The Academy come about?

The idea for the Academy came mostly from the experiences of Kirsty and our consultancy team. It became clear that there are a lot of people in the sector with passion and great ideas for addressing societal issues, but not enough business experience to make those ideas reach their full potential. The Academy was set up to combat this.

You get to see a lot of ‘eureka’ moments on the Academy where something really clicks and things start to fall into place; I love that.

Jenny, Academy Manager

How long has The Academy been running and how many people has it supported?

The Circle Academy was first launched in 2019 and has now supported 30 individuals over 4 cohorts. We’ve had a real mix of candidates, with people from all different industries and at all stages of development.

What’s been your highlight of The Academy?

It’s too hard for me to pick one specific moment if I’m being honest! My favourite part of every cohort has always been when they come to the end of the 12 weeks and you can see how much they’ve developed not only their knowledge but their confidence and self-belief. We recently had an alumni catch up call and there were people from each cohort there; it was amazing hearing how much things have progressed for them since taking part in the programme.

What are you most excited about whilst running The Academy?

Mostly I’m excited to hear all of the candidates’ ideas and seeing how they evolve while they’re on the programme. You get to see a lot of ‘eureka’ moments on the Academy where something really clicks and things start to fall into place; I love that.

Why should people join The Academy?

If they have an idea but don’t know how to take it to fruition, or if they’re running something and have hit a wall, the Academy is a great opportunity. The knowledge shared on the programme comes from a place of experience rather than pure theory. The Circle and our guest speakers have all ‘got the t-shirt’ on the topics we cover. We’ll always be honest and have the difficult conversations about what’s not working with someone’s project. And our candidates become part of a community who can support each other and collaborate on projects.

The Circle, has received funding from The Scottish Government to provide 25 spaces on the next cohort. The grant has been awarded to allow individuals from three target groups to take part in The Circle Academy.

We are looking for people from the following groups and you must fit at least one of the criteria below;

  • those from or working in rural communities.
  • people whose business is in the environmental space.
  • young people under 30.

The Circle Academy is open for applications and has 25 fully-funded places.

We are thrilled to announce that The Circle has been awarded funding from the Scottish Government to provide 25 subsidised places on the next cohort of our Academy. The grant has been awarded to allow individuals from three target groups to take part in the entrepreneurial training programme, given by The Circle Academy. 

The Circle Academy is a 12-week online programme, for individuals, start-ups and organisations, who want their business to have a social impact, while operating in a commercially sustainable way. It is a practical and educational training programme for individuals or organisations interested in running a ‘More Than Profit’ business.

The Circle Academy is an SQA accredited programme focused on developing skills in business planning, governance, finance, marketing, funding and pitching – with social impact.

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The Circle appoints new Academy Manager Jenny McCarthy pictured.

The Circle Academy appoints a new Academy manager.

The Circle Academy is a practical and educational training programme for individuals interested in running a ‘More Than Profit’ business and is open to anyone who wants to create positive, social or environmental change in a sustainable and commercially viable way. We have supported an incredible 30 social entrepreneurs over the two years we have been running it.

Ahead of the launch of the 5th cohort, we are thrilled to announce our new Academy Manager is Jenny McCarthy. Jenny has been part of The Circle team since 2019, previously working for ACK Third Sector Consultants CIC which we merged with 2 years ago. As part of the ACK team, she was part of a team that supported individuals and organisations at all stages of their careers in a variety of areas. Jenny has helped support organisations in areas such as fundraising, event planning, feasibility studies and marketing. She has been a member of our consultancy team since she joined us in 2019 and has provided support in a few areas including grant writing, business planning and legal structures. Jenny has assisted with the Academy since its inception and will now be taking this knowledge and experience to run the programme. We know this move is going to be great for The Academy and the candidates and we can’t wait to see Jenny grow into this role.

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