AgendaIODAlex Ruddy

Alex Ruddy

Alex Ruddy, Director of Oben Regulatory and Chair of Jersey’s Institute of Directors Industry Sub-Committee sits down with us to explore why being a mother hen has made her a better business woman, and why she is compelled to give back at this stage of her life to create a better tomorrow. 

When I was younger I wanted be Nancy Drew, she was my absolute idol. A go-getting woman who solves mysteries and who was intelligent and courageous! But rather than go down the super sleuth pathway, I decided a career in law was for me and so studied this through University. Like most things, this didn’t entirely go to plan, as I quickly realised I would be too emotional to practice family or criminal defence law, so I drifted into an accountancy career which brought me to the island of Jersey. 

In my youth the island felt hugely claustrophobic and I was immediately desperate to qualify so I could leave. But as my exams ticked past, I started to settle and then married and welcomed a family. Now I look at the island in awe, a small jurisdiction that can be dynamic and nimble and set a shining example of good business practice. It is also a wonderful balance between a thriving metropolis and the soul-soothing cliff paths and beaches that makes me feel grateful to live here.

With three small children under my belt and working in forensic accounting (very Nancy Drew!) it all just felt like a lot, so I took a career break and followed my husband’s job to the Isle of Man where we spent three years. During this time, I did feel like I’d lost a lot of my identity and was eager to find something to drive me once more. Unknowingly, I became what I refer to as a ‘professional mum’. Expert cake-maker, parent governor, PTA enthusiast with a sprinkling of bespoke consultancy work on the side to keep my hand in. Even then, my mother-hen attitude saw me want to give back where I could to help others. 

This burning compulsion to get involved continued on my return to Jersey and saw me set up Oben Regulatory, where we advise on corporate governance and regulatory framework, often helping businesses out of dilemmas. I also sit on the IoD Committee, the Board of Victoria College and organise the Run for Kezia following the loss of one of my daughter’s friends to suicide. Wellbeing is of high importance on my agenda, from teaching it in schools to practices in the workplace and beyond. We need to protect our young people and give them a voice, since they are our leaders of tomorrow. 

My children are my inspiration. Hugely driven, with a daughter who is going big places and is so passionate about all that she does, especially raising awareness of Lupus for those on island. A son who has overcome enormous adversity and is a great example of resilience. I had two children on chemotherapy at the same time and it was amazing to witness their use of humour with each other carry them through the worst of it. All three of my kids are extraordinary in their own way and they drive me to make the world a better place.

Facilitating women back into the workplace after motherhood or a career break is another area where I want to help more. I want women to see that they can have it all and balance a home life and a career, pursuing their passions and finding assistance and support when and where they need it. The IoD is a community of inspirational women that holds the power to encourage women to achieve their goals and we are working hard to inspire not just new mums back into work, but younger girls to broaden their horizons too. 

To stay ahead in business you have to evolve with the times, adjusting to digital and technological advances and changing demands placed on organisations. Collaboration is key in this race, so working panels and committees are an important part of my world. I try to explore the issues that face all sectors on the island and provide a voice to Government so we can look at joint solutions for one and all. I am often overwhelmed by the kindness of the Jersey community and how many want to give back for the greater good, but there is still a lot more that could be achieved by people recognising their strengths, skill sets and the amazing difference they could make. If we could all contribute just a little bit of our time, Jersey would have a really bright future. 

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