The How, Why & Who of JMA

The How, Why & Who of JMA

18 Jul 23 4mins Jon Midmer


The amateur has many paths open to them, the professional a few. That’s how I felt when contemplating the rest of my professional life after moving from London to Istanbul with my family ten years ago next month. Continuing in a similar but different vein from what I’d been doing with my previous employer seemed not only the most obvious, but only route.

My prospects? At the very least, even if it only ended up being me, a few trusted clients and four or five mandates a year, I’d be able to put enough bread on the table.


However unfashionable it might be to say so, the How preceded the Why, even if the latter lay – intuitively, viscerally, even – within me. Getting JMA up and running required a back office infrastructure, which multiple signatures and a number of contracts will get you fairly quickly. It required hiring some bright young things who shared my world view. And it required a client. A global telecoms company duly obliged and JMA was off to the races.

As the months passed, with a boot-strapped back office and a small band of dreamers, I was less bashful about telling my network about what I was up to. More clients followed. We were up and running!

On one of my regular trips to London, I was brought down to earth with a bit of a bump by a long-standing client who asked what our purpose was. Hmm… For me, paying the rent and school fees was motivation enough, but we both agreed it wasn’t going to inspire others, and, longer term, maybe not even me! On to the Why, therefore.


I’d be lying if our ‘reasons for being’ below were clear to me ten years ago. Omniscience in a founder is clearly unnecessary, however, and clients, candidates, the growing team and a cadre of loyal suppliers saw what I was trying to build, and helpfully filled in where my awareness tailed off. So why does JMA exist?

It’s to provide clients with high-quality advice, candidates and process, and trust, care and dedication that not all executive search firms provide. As someone who believes in high standards, going the extra mile in every search is not just a personal credo, in a competitive marketplace it’s de rigueur.

It’s to treat candidates with the same care, attention and respect as we do our clients. Being briefed and de-briefed by a Partner before and after every ensures they feel fully supported and advised at every stage of the process. Maybe it’s because of this personal touch that many candidates have become clients?

It’s to give our team a great place to work. This means having clear values, behaviours and standards that are upheld; talented, high-performing, supportive colleagues; honest feedback and transparent career discussions; the knowledge that we accept them as they are and we care about their health and wellbeing, and that of their loved ones; and enough fun and camaraderie to make the whole thing worthwhile.  

It’s to treat our suppliers as partners, as we like to be treated – as extensions of our own team. Building multi-year relationships with committed suppliers who provide us with a high level of service is not just good business sense, it’s enjoyable.

Underpinning all of this is an unshakeable belief in the power of diversity, which is why it courses through JMA’s veins and we go to great lengths to provide it to our clients.


Since 2013, we have always focused and invested in delivery, relationships and the capability of our own team. ‘People capability first, satisfied customers and profitability will follow’ is the mantra of one of our longest-standing clients, and something we try to live by.

If any part of a watch is broken it can’t tell the time. We believe the same is true of an executive search team, which is why we hire and train the best people we can. We also believe in the power of long-tenured teams, and we’re proud to say that the combined tenure of the team at JMA is now over 80 years!

As well as our employees, JMA has a talented and committed group of non-executive advisors who provide us with invaluable counsel from their years of business and life experience. We are indebted to you!

When we started, we worked fully on site and we’re now fully remote. We changed our processes along the way to adapt. We’ve learned that where we are is unimportant, as long as we can share a common vision and deliver what we’re supposed to. Our team can (and does!) work from anywhere, which has allowed them to stay with us as they move through life.

Our wonderful team is now spread between the UK (Tina and Hannah), the USA (Sarah, Anna, Kaiyla and Susan), Turkey (Jon, Neslihan, Sandy, Ece, Ege, Merve, Ayse and Ozge) Canada (Igal) and Ireland (Rebecca). It is a pleasure to call this talented bunch of people my colleagues – you are all truly JMA-zing!


Now that I’ve explained a little about the How, Why and Who of JMA, I’d like to thank all of our clients, candidates, team and suppliers – past and present – who have been with us on the journey so far. It’s been quite a ride!

Finally, I’d like to thank my wife, Asu, and boys James and Alex, who have supported me through thick and thin, and who remain my inspiration.