Jennifer Jankel

Jen Jankel

Jennifer Jankel lives by the mantra, “Everything is about people”. Inspired and nourished by a world in which music and creativity intersect with care in the community, Jennifer encapsulates the spirit of “giving back” and continues to do so with undiminished energy as she approaches 83.

In 2011, her 70th year, Jennifer became CEO and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Jewish Music Institute (JMI), an award-winning arts charity based in the School of Oriental and African Studies, part of the University of London. Dedicated to celebrating Jewish music for the benefit of all backgrounds and ages, JMI has continued, under Jennifer’s leadership, to enjoy a secure position at one of the world’s leading universities. Her support for JMI started in 1991 when she joined as a trustee to establish a Lectureship in Jewish Music in memory of her father, the well-known band leader and musician, Joe Loss. Thirty years later, that position continues to thrive with current Joe Loss Senior Lecturer, Dr Ilana Webster-Kogen, making significant contributions to ethnomusicology. In 2019, Jennifer was awarded the Jewish Volunteer Network’s Lifetime Achievement Volunteer of the Year Award for her work at the Jewish Music Institute.

Jennifer is passionate about this second career and loves the team with whom she works.  She is a team player, dislikes and avoids working solo, seeks opinions and advice, and enjoys putting her wisdom to work to support those around her. Jennifer used lockdown to further develop JMI, taking it to an international audience of subscribers, supporters and donors by establishing outstanding partnerships with Jewish musical organisations worldwide. She is devoted to the educational mission of JMI and her only regret is that she didn’t tread this exciting path earlier. Currently she is working on attracting young and dynamic people to join JMI’s Board of Trustees and to find a successor for her CEO role in due course.

Her commitment to helping others includes her support for the North West Surrey Synagogue in Weybridge. Since 1967, when Jennifer became a founding member, she has worked tirelessly to establish this vibrant community over fifty years. Three years ago, at the age of 79, Jennifer was given the honorary title of Lifelong President in recognition of her contribution to the Synagogue.

Prior to this, her five-decade career in the international fashion business saw Jennifer take on several leadership and management roles from bi-lingual secretary to Managing Director to Vice President of Charles Jourdan International. In 1981, she was a finalist in The Times Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of The Year. In 1987, Jennifer founded her own high fashion shoe company, Luc Berjen, which became the celebrity shoe brand of choice.

In 1962, Jennifer married Robert Jankel, founder and creator of Panther Cars, the luxury international car brand sold to celebrity clients such as Elton John and Johnny Hallyday. To this day, Jennifer remains a board director of the Jankel group of companies.

Jennifer’s family has always been totally central to her life, caring for parents, her brother and her four children, eight grandchildren (and two dogs) with unlimited love.

We were incredibly proud to celebrate Jennifer’s inspiring life and careers recognised at the Times/Sternberg Active Life Awards at No. 11 Downing Street on 9th February 2023. Commended for her contributions to the world of music, fashion and the arts, Jennifer’s story is of a life well-lived.

Jen Jankel Times Sternberg

Stay up to date

Don’t miss out on the exciting developments from Circle Square by signing up to our email newsletter.