Joëlle Warren MBE founded recruitment firm Warren Partners in 1999, a leading UK executive search firm which supports and recruits executive and non-executive directors across the UK and internationally. She serves as Her Majesty’s Vice-Lord Lieutenant for Cheshire, which is where she lives.

Joëlle Warren MBE founded recruitment firm Warren Partners in 1999, and runs her business with an ethos based on Matthew 7:12: So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”

Joëlle is a founding partner of Warren Partners, a leading UK executive search firm which supports and recruits executive and non-executive directors across the UK and internationally. She serves as Her Majesty’s vice-lord lieutenant for Cheshire, which is where she lives.

In this conversation, Joëlle gives an insight into what it looks like for a Christian to live out their faith when it comes to running a business and protecting jobs.


Joëlle’s journey to faith and business

Joëlle grew up in a family that didn’t go to church, but decided to go herself as a young child first through the Brownies and then independently. She came to know and love Jesus, and at university felt called by God to the world of business. As a Christian business person in church, Joëlle felt a stigma around her career:

I remember when I was newly married having a dinner party. I was a banker and somebody said: Oh yes, bankers and accountants are parasites on society’ – and I was often made to feel like that. It was great for a Christian in the church to be a teacher, or a doctor, or working for a mission society, certainly working for the church. There were almost grades of good Christian careers and being a business person was pretty close to the bottom. But actually, I still absolutely believe that this is my vocation and it’s where God wants me.”

Joëlle was convinced that God had a purpose for her life, and that her job and opportunities now are God-given.

I’m really conscious that there are so few Christians who have the access to the boardrooms in the UK that I now have, and what a privilege that is – and responsibility. I’ve got a vocation, a ministry, and I’ve had a calling. I believe God calls us to minister wherever he puts us. And this is where He has put me.”

Joëlle on creating her business 

Joëlle entered the world of head-hunting in her 30s and instantly loved it. However, she didn’t like the values of the business she was in.

I just thought, I think I’ll just go and set up another business that does the same thing, but does it in a godly way.”

The whole business was based on the value of Matthew 7:12 – treating others as you want to be treated. The business began with just Joëlle and a personal assistant but they’re now a team of 25, built up of people from all faiths and none.

But they would all hold that as their core value, and they know that it comes from my Christian faith.”

Joëlle uses Matthew 7:12 as a basis for every business decision she makes. Whether that relates to clients, candidates or suppliers, she commits to integrity, honesty and good communication. Joëlle’s desire to treat others as she would like to be treated has also led to a passion for diversity and seeing minorities who are underrepresented getting to the top of their field.

Recruitment is not a sector that’s trumpeted for moral values. But I’ve got a team who want to do things differently.”

Joëlle on redundancies

Joëlle applies this conviction even when it comes to redundancies. In the 2008 financial crisis, it looked as though Warren Partners would have to make cuts. Joëlle asked herself how she would want to be treated if she was on the receiving end, and decided to have an open conversation with the entire firm before making any final decisions.

As she explained the situation, the entire team said that they would all rather take a pay cut than see anyone lose their job. The people who were earning the most took the largest pay cuts, and amazingly, everyone kept their jobs.

They’ve done the same thing during the latest crisis, the coronavirus pandemic. Everyone was able to keep their jobs, and the whole team is now back at their normal salary – they have even been able to recruit two new members to the team.

It’s just been a testimony that if you treat people as you would want to be treated, they can be much more creative and protect jobs.”

Joëlle did make clear that she is uncomfortable with the idea of protecting jobs that simply don’t need to exist anymore. However, she makes a point of never talking about making a person redundant, instead that the job is made redundant.

I believe God works for good for those who love Him, but I believe he can work in everybody’s life for good. I see so many people whose jobs have been made redundant, and it may feel like the end of the world, then actually there’s a much better job that comes along.”

Joëlle on evangelism

As she lives out Matthew 7:12, Joëlle finds that she is sometimes questioned about what drives her to lead a business the way she does. She seeks to always be prepared to give an answer for her faith in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 3:15). Opportunities such as this give her increased motivation to run her business in a distinctive way. Joëlle knows consistency is the key to her standing out, and allows her to speak with integrity when asked about her methods and motivation.

I’ve had some of the most profound conversations with some of my clients through Covid where they have been hurting, when they’ve been frightened or lonely. When I ask how are you?’ they will spill out their hearts. I hopefully show some of the love and compassion of Jesus.”

Joëlle on viewing work as ministry

Joëlle shares our belief at the Evangelical Alliance that work is part of God’s good design for people. Therefore, as people seek to create and protect jobs it shouldn’t be for the sake of it but rather with the desire to bring some fulfilment and meaningful work to those who are seeking it.

This also means, from the perspective of the church, that we should be valuing people where God has put us. Whether that be at the school gate, managing a business, or wherever else we consider our frontline to be.

There are people who are doing such valuable ministries in their gym because that’s where God has planted them. I do feel passionately about God equipping us to serve, whichever frontline He puts us on.”

Joëlle suggested encouraging a right view of God’s plan for people’s work by having This time tomorrow” slots in Sunday services, where people share what they will be doing in their jobs on the Monday, and receive prayer around this. Through this, churches can affirm that God has a plan for people in their jobs and that they are a valued area of individual ministry.


After speaking to Joëlle, I believe that if we affirm people’s work as an area in which God can use them, we would see more Christians in leadership positions desiring to create jobs in order to serve their communities.

Joëlle also provided the very simple but beautiful reminder for God’s people who are currently seeking work – that God has a good plan for your life and is working for your good in the waiting. He is good, and worthy of our trust.

My conversation with Joëlle is the fifth in a series of interviews I have conducted with Christians in leadership as part of our Job Creation Project. The Evangelical Alliance seeks to encourage the church to step into the unemployment crisis wherever possible, to love our neighbour and demonstrate the character of God to our communities.

"It's just been a testimony that if you treat people, as you would want to be treated, they can be much more creative and protect jobs"