What’s Your Story Jackanory?

AFTER interviewing so many successful people living by the Naked Leader ethos I decided to have a change and find out more about the talented team that make Naked Leader so successful.

Jackie Witney
Jackie Witney

SHE was once known as Jackanory, so how appropriate we should choose to tell Jackie Witney’s story.

One of the “behind the scenes” team, Jackie is the company’s creative consultant, a go-getter whose positivity is key in her life as she takes on the task of maintaining Naked Leader’s brand awareness, while taking on other personal challenges.

‘I realised from a young age I’m an ideas and creative person, which I love, because it’s me,” she beams.

‘I see ideas all the time, even in my sleep, although that means it can be difficult to focus when I do get so many at any one time.’

Difficult to sleep, too, one suspects!

That innovative mind comes from her days working for the Woking Informer in advertising/sales and she recalls: ‘My boss used to call be Jackanory because there was always a story!’

Fun-loving Jackie has been in a developing role at Naked Leader for around seven years and loves reaching out to organisations and individuals.

‘I love positive people, and people who, when they get an idea, do something about it rather than just think about it,’ she explains.

‘You can find yourself waiting and I think that’s because we are used to waiting for things in life. I like to do rather than just think about something. A lot of things I do, I do for the future but it is important too to be in the moment and appreciate the here and now.

‘I also think one of the main aspects of Naked Leader is taking ownership of what you do and your life, and being responsible for your own actions.’

Jackie’s busy day includes interacting with companies by way of emails, social media, and on the website and she adds: “At Naked Leader we are a bit quirky, and I like that. David’s really good fun to take out filming. So we take videos and the message we give out is the Formula For Guaranteed Success which I think works for everything.

‘I also believe that you only do things well if you want to. And if you have to do something you don’t particularly like then you have to find a reason why you want to do it.

‘That might be because it is to someone else’s benefit, or it could be something that leads to something else. Or you might just do it because you will get some experience from it. You must think of a reason, otherwise you don’t do it very well. I do a lot of varied tasks and I like to make every bit that I do better, within the times limits I have.’

A people person, Jackie loves to see others succeed and she takes real pleasure from hearing their success stories.

‘The thing I love most is seeing people achieve things,’ she enthuses. ‘I like to view the feedback we get and to see how people’s lives have changed through Naked Leader and how organisations change the way they do things, in a positive way.

‘I have actually cried at some of Naked Leader’s events. There was one time when a couple of delegates were so moved by what they’d seen. I was trying to talk to the organiser afterwards and I just couldn’t speak.’

Passionate in what she does, Jackie is pushing the boundaries in her life with opportunities she is taken on. In terms of her comfort zone, she has not so much stepped out of it as jumped in the car, driven half a mile down the road and parked up three blocks away.

‘Organising our events has been fun and I have seen the workshops from all angles having been a delegate too and it makes you better equipped to market it, sell it, and talk about it to,’ she says. ‘Also I benefit personally as its given me a lot more confidence. I enjoy helping with the ideas, and helping to make the events interactive and the feedback I’ve have had has been good.

‘I joke about being the jack of all trades and master of some. I don’t like to be tied to one thing. I like to do things I enjoy.’

Those other aspects of her life include being a creative hairdresser, in particular for weddings, while another impressive string to her bow is co-presenting a radio show on Radio Woking, with colleague Zahir Ahmed.

‘The radio station was started by Justin Coll and we present from Winston Churchill School,’ Jackie explains. ‘We do the ‘We Love Woking’ show which is about people, places and passion in Woking.

‘I saw some of the things Zahir was putting out on social media, about the positivity in the town, which I liked and after meeting him at one of David’s events and getting to know him, he asked me whether I was interested in co-presenting as he thought we would make a good team.

‘Once upon a time I wouldn’t have felt comfortable doing it but you get more out of life if you put more into it.

‘My advice to people is if you see opportunities, don’t let the nerves get the better of you.

‘I’ve been doing things that make me feel a bit scared although I enjoy them. One of those was doing a speed run while skiing. It was my one and only pure adrenalin rush.

‘When you go into things confidently you are more likely to achieve them.’

Thankfully, Jackie’s business and personal lives haven’t gone down a similar slippery slope.

Rather, she is thriving as she embraces life. In fact, isn’t that what we should all be doing? Setting our mind to something before getting on and doing it? To make the best of our lives and extract the most we can out of it?

Perhaps we should all take a leaf – no, make that a branch – out of Jackie’s book.


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