Meet the Candidates: Jo Hemmings

Jo Hemmings is one of five candidates standing for the role of President-Elect this year.

BPS Grade: Graduate

Current employment: Psychologist

Any current roles within the society: None

Any previous roles within the society: I have worked on the media and ethics committee and was part of the BPS Promotional Video ‘We are Psychologists’

Membership of any society member networks: None

Jo Hemmings
Quote mark
I very much want to champion the BPS, and as a psychologist who is regularly in the media – in broadcast and in the press, I feel that I am in the ideal position to not only showcase the relevance of the BPS but also work conscientiously to ensure that it has wide and full respect and recognition.
Jo Hemmings
Jo Hemmings - Nominee for BPS President-Elect

Jo's nominee statement

Question 1

The President of the BPS acts as champion and ambassador for the society, the discipline of psychology and for the wider psychological profession. How has your career and experience to date prepared you for this distinguished role?

I very much want to champion the BPS, and as a psychologist who is regularly in the media – in broadcast and in the press, I feel that I am in the ideal position to not only showcase the relevance of the BPS but also work conscientiously to ensure that it has wide and full respect and recognition. 

Many of my colleagues have chosen to leave the BPS in recent years as it doesn't seem to be 'worth it' while other younger colleagues have joined, wanting a vibrant and relevant professional body. I want to address why those have left and what can be done and ensure that the next generation of psychologists have a society fitting for their needs.

I have worked with the latest technology and AI – as well as working with many young people in my TV Duty of Care work and my private counselling – and I want to bring this energy to the BPS.

Question 2

The BPS’s vision is to promote inclusivity and diversity. How do you see this as impacting the society’s work?

I want everyone – of any age, gender, sexual orientation and race – to feel that the BPS is their society. 'Male, pale and stale' is how I heard one young black colleague describe it. It really shouldn't be or appear this way. I am myself from a minority racial group, registered as disabled and a woman on the 'wrong side of 50' and I recognise just how difficult it can be to find your place in any professional body, to learn and grow within it and feel that you belong.

I have many younger people – from A-level students to psychology graduates who assist and occasionally shadow me to learn more about psychology, especially in the media and AI – as they often find this of particular relevance – and I know that some feel marginalised by the BPS and I want to address this.

Question 3

The BPS aims to create a vibrant member-centred community with a meaningful membership identity. What do you see as the President’s role in this?

Firstly, we have to address the membership categories. I did my first degree some 30 years ago and yet I am still a Graduate Member. I applied for Full Membership, a year ago now, a new category outlined some time ago with great fanfare for those with professional experience and yet my application is still marked 'in progress' with the note that it will take 'eight weeks to process'. It's been 48 weeks and has been chased many times to be told, that it's 'slower than expected'.

This is demotivating and inefficient. Membership grades are hugely important to psychologists, and if you're going to create new roles, the applications must be fulfilled within a reasonable period of time or people will simply leave the society.

People should be proud to be members of their professional body, so why shouldn't members of the BPS use the appropriate logo on their website? 

I also feel some revision of the relationship with HCPC needs looking at – some qualifications are not recognised by them and there is little clarity on how or why it is important to be a member.

I feel that the President's role is to ensure that when member voting happens – for membership grades for example and this is approved with enthusiasm, it must be actioned.

Question 4

The President-Elect is an integral member of our Board of Trustees, which is the overall governing body of the society. Please outline any leadership, organisational and/or governance experience that would help you carry out this role.

I have been running my own business for 20 years. Prior to that I was the Editorial Director at a large publishing house. I am a Leader Coach at the Association for Coaching.

I work closely with large teams of people within my work as a Duty of Care Psychologist and
an Ambassador and Spokesperson for several organisations.

I am the Consultant Editor of one of the best- selling psychology books How Psychology Works (DK, 2018). 

I hold a current Enhanced DBS Certificate and have full Public Liability and Professional Insurance Cover.

Proposer statements

Dr Pam Spurr

How long have you known the candidate? 

12 years.

When have you worked with the candidate or come into contact with them?

I have repeatedly come into contact with Jo socially and have extensive knowledge of her good character. She is a compassionate and caring psychologist. She is a great listener as well as an ideas person.

Jo thrives with challenges and isn't daunted by hurdles.

Why do you think the candidate would make a great President-Elect and President?

Jo is incredibly enthusiastic about all areas of psychology. She works tremendously hard and has edited a book about psychology.

She is very well informed and up-to-date on many psychological topics.

She is a very determined woman and someone who can get a job done with aplomb. Her enthusiasm for psychological topics knows

no bounds. And we frequently have in-depth conversations about 'topics of the day'.

Dr Madeline Mason Roantree

How long have you known the candidate?

About 10 years.

When have you worked with the candidate or come into contact with them?

I have worked with Jo over the years in various settings, Jo has mentored me in media related contexts (interviews on TV etc), we have supported each other in peer supervision around client support, we have worked on conversations around code of conduct for people who service singles in the dating industry. We have also collaborated on a mini research project.

Why do you think the candidate would make a great President-Elect and President?

Jo has extensive experience as a psychologist and also with media and being in the media, which I think would really benefit the BPS. Many of my colleagues have left the BPS and I too have considered it. With Jo I have hope she can introduce ideas that may help me remain and have others return.