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Interview with Jim’s Group CEO, Jim Penman about my 12 years at Jim’s Group

Joel Kleber and Jim Penman


I received my 10-year award the other day from Jim’s Group CEO, Jim Penman despite working there for 12 years! Better late than never, however, it’s much appreciated and a big step forward for our culture.

Everyone who has worked at Jim’s Group head office over the years knows it’s not a place where this is often done, it’s not Jim’s fault, it’s just the way he is.

Not one for birthdays, milestones, celebrations, etc….he is committed to one thing and that is the growth of the company by supporting the franchisees.

Everything else is an afterthought and that offends people unfortunately who believe they should be given a gold watch or something significant as they rocked up for a certain amount of years.

Personally, I don’t think Jim’s Group owes me anything, so it’s something that has never been overly important to me in terms of being recognized internally and externally.

I have been given great opportunities and have been able to be a part of the Jim’s Group story will be featured heavily in his new book coming up about the business, so I am overly grateful.

I know what I have done over the years as does everyone internally.

In saying that am I paid enough for the value I have brought? That is debatable but nonetheless, I love what I do and now have a decent CV of accomplishments that no person my age would dare say they have in regards to franchise marketing.

Is that a brag?

Yes, it is.

However, sometimes you need to give yourself a pat on the back.

Make sure you subscribe to my newsletter as I will be writing a piece on some of the unique things I have learned in my 12 years at Jim’s Group which I think are interesting to an outsider.

Joel Kleber & Jim Penman

In the video above Jim and I awkwardly talk about the 12 years and where we are now.

I would like to think I have been able to, especially since 2019 make him far more personable, approachable, likable, and known online than what he once was.

Vice versa he has given me free reign and trust to allow me to grow as a person and instilled confidence in my initiatives.

Jim will tell you he doesn’t have many friends but he considers me one, which is a bit strange sometimes as he can be very tough and it certainly hasn’t felt that way sometimes.

However, I do consider him a friend and if I ever needed a favour one day, I could call him and he would help.

Joel Kleber and Jim Penman

Jim has always referenced the story of the person starting in the mailroom and working their way up, which I am pretty much the closest representation of that to him.

Even though my role is CMO, I am involved in most things whether it’s training, presenting, videography, paid media, system changes, conferences, templates, supporting franchisors, supporting franchisees plus a lot more……..

No two days are the same at Jim’s and quite frankly, with everything I do on a daily basis, most businesses of our size would be outsourcing it or employing 9 people to do it.

We don’t have that luxury, so I have had to get my hands dirty over the journey and I have learned so many skills because of it.

I am extremely grateful for that and it’s the beauty of Jim’s HQ.

You cannot hide!

If you’re not serving a purpose or useful to the business, you will not last long.

This sounds harsh, but it’s the founder mentality.

Once you come to grips with that, you either lift you’re game or will be found out and out the door.

That might sound harsh, however, it makes you a far more resilient person and you keep finding ways to re-invent yourself or you would go mad doing the same job all the time.

Over the years I have worked in legal, documents, insurance, compliance, and operations and I am now involved in all the websites/marketing/social media/video/PR for the Jim’s Group and other brands.

Due to this, I have acquired a well-rounded skillset that would hold me in good stead if something ever happened to the business.

If you want to read more detail, sign-up for my newsletter where I will link the blog post with some other nuggets about AI.

About the Author

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CMO for Australia's largest franchise, the Jim's Group. I share my knowledge that helped us grow to 5,000 franchisees with various content marketing and other digital strategies. I am also passionate about building online niche sites in order to build multiple revenue streams whilst learning SEO.

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