Joy Junction

"I was able to work with some fantastic people and make a positive impact. But it wasn’t all sunshine." Gary Butterfield Making a difference

Joy Junction

Imagine a workplace, your workplace, where every individual feels profound inner contentment, with gratitude and purpose filling the air. A workplace that goes beyond the ordinary, embracing joy as its guiding principle, fostering buoyancy, compassion, and wellbeing.


I’m Gary, and I’m the founder of Joy Junction. At Joy Junction, we believe that everyone has the right to be joyful at work, connected to a community of people who want to make a positive impact on themselves and their workplace.

We create joyful workplace cultures.

My career started in the fitness industry back in 2005. I joined the industry because I wanted to help people with their wellbeing, in whatever way that meant to them. I even managed to bag myself a Strength & Conditioning role at Leeds Carnegie RFU in 2008 and go to Australia with England RL the same year!

I loved working in the fitness industry. I was able to work with some fantastic people, support a group of clients working towards amazing things, and make a positive impact on the world around me. But it wasn’t all sunshine.

The fitness industry, which is often seen as healthy and glamorous, is a difficult sales environment. Within a large gym chain at least, anyway.

At the last large gym chain that I worked at, I couldn’t really enjoy my work, largely because of the mounting sales targets that forced on me 14-hour days, day in, day out. I remember going to my first (and last) appraisal, a meeting that should have been about my progression and value, but instead, it was an hour getting rinsed about targets. 


Right place, right time

I decided to leave the industry, and in 2011 I (happily) fell into the world of HR as a consultant employee wellbeing lead at the University of Sheffield.

I jumped at this opportunity. No longer was I supporting 10-15 people at any given time, I now had the opportunity to support around 8,500. No sales targets, just a team of people wanting to do something positive. 

What we did wasn’t rocket science, we brought together what was a very disparate wellbeing proposition into one place, and made the entire thing around human connection. We brought people together through shared hobbies, interests, and passions, and actively championed bringing what we love into the workplace and sharing it with others. 

Following loads of award wins, including the Sunday Times Top 100 Wellbeing Award, I started supporting organisations big and small with their wellbeing proposition for colleagues in 2015, and I’ve been doing it ever since.

Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to work with NHS trusts and regional groups, various universities, and SMEs alike.


There must be a better way

My main area of interest and expertise is in creating joyful workplace cultures through authentic wellbeing conversations. A few years ago whilst presenting for a large client, I was recounting my experience with the appraisal. I asked those in the room who had similar stories to tell, around 60% put their hands up.

On my train back to Leeds I thought to myself “there must be a better way”.

Surely there was a way that we could explore what’s gone well, where we want to go, and how we plan to get there in work, but position the entire discussion around wellbeing.

Off the back of this idea the Conversation Canvas was born, and now forms the bulk of my work. 


Using my single-page tool for enabling wellbeing conversations between colleagues, I train and support line managers within large organisations with the competence and the confidence to lead with authenticity, compassion, and empathy. We explore the models used, build our wellbeing conversation muscle memory with practice in a safe space, and dive into the strengths, opportunities, and threats for having more open dialogue about wellbeing. 

I love my work, and I feel privileged to do what I do.


Sharing my own struggles

In 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, like many others, I had my own experience with loneliness.

After a lot of pre-pandemic highs, my business at the time, Everyday Juice Limited, was struggling. Our long list on clients being onboarded came crashing down when the first lockdown was announced, something which we would never recover from. At the same time, as someone who thrives being surrounded by others, I found the isolation of being at home all day, every day, incredibly difficult.

My mental health took a beating, and I’ve been very open about sharing my experiences. As wellbeing professionals we need to practise what we preach, for better or for worse.

This experience solidified my view that social wellbeing is the element that binds everything together, and forms the foundation of all my work.


Gary taking part in an iron manTo find out more connect with Gary on LinkedIn or visit the Joy Junction website.



Everyday People LogoFind everything you need to grow a small business that
makes a difference – in one place.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *