Jhane Gibson - Citizenship Coordinator at Herbert Smith Freehills
Jhané's career and personal interest in CSR started through her participation in a social mobility graduate scheme, which she now encourages others to apply to. Her focus has developed into making an impact to local communities around the world, whilst honing her own skills with the help of her mentor.
How did you first become interested in CRS?
After working with the Widening Participation team at my university, I developed an interest in widening access and the ways in which the education sector, businesses and charities can work together to achieve social impact. I did not realise that there was a role or sector that would allow me to do this until I began working at a small social mobility charity called in2scienceUK.
Why did you join the ICRS?
The ICRS provides great resources to stay up to date with everything that is going on in the world of CRS. As CRS is still a growing sector (most of my friends and family had never heard of it!), there is not an overwhelming amount of resources to help understand the field. Joining the ICRS has allowed me to expand my knowledge and learn best practice.
Which social or environmental issues are you particularly passionate about?
I am particularly interested in social mobility and the ways that business can contribute to levelling the playing field for those from lower socio-economic backgrounds. As a past participant on the ELBA Eagles programme (a social mobility graduate development programme), I personally understand the importance of programmes that widen access and open opportunities.
What role or types of roles do you aspire to? Why?
In five years' time I hope to have progressed in a CRS role with a focus on community investment. I would like to continue working on a global scale so that I can make the maximum amount of impact to local communities across the world.
Are there any skills or capabilities you feel you need to develop further before getting the role you want?
I hope that my ICRS mentor, Rob Hart, will help me to develop my skills and steer me in the right directions in terms of progressing in my career. I think that the ability to influence is a key skill when working in CRS, so I hope to develop this skill further. I also want to learn more about impact investing and ESG reporting.
Why should students pursue a career in CRS?
Because it's great! For me, working in CRS allows me to blend all of my skills and interests. In my role I get to work on the social and environmental topics that I am passionate about with the support and resources of a global firm behind me.
What advice would you give to others on getting the skills and knowledge needed for a career in CRS?
After university I found it difficult to find entry level roles in CRS, most of the roles I saw advertised were for CSR managers or Head of positions. I would recommend thinking about what roles are similar in terms of transferable skills (like working for community and non-profit organisations). This is what really helped me to gain the relevant experience. If eligible, I would also recommend applying for ELBA Eagles as it was my foot in the door opportunity into CRS.