Women Who Lead - Kate's Story

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Kate’s story is one that echoes ‘hard work pays off’. Following her dreams of working in marketing, she started out as a Marketing Officer and began climbing up the career ladder to the position she’s in now...

Looking back, I remember that my very first aspirations were to be an interior designer. I remember I once made my parents paint their lounge bright yellow and lime green – what was I thinking! I bet they wish I’d never watched Changing Rooms!

As I got older, I went to college and studied Business Studies, this is when I found out how much I really enjoyed Marketing and I could see myself in a career in that field.

The decision to crack on with my career straight after college was relatively easy as I never really had a desire to go to university and my parents never pushed me down this route. I was really keen to get a job and buy a house with my (now) husband.

“ Choosing to not go to university didn't scare me as I genuinely believe that you can achieve whatever you put your mind to. I was never going to let something like not having a degree hold me back - and it hasn't! ”

Fast-forwarding to present time, I've been in Nationwide 12 years now and it’s been an amazing experience. I started out as a Marketing Officer and I was promoted to Senior manager in just 6 years!

I think my biggest challenge was when I moved from being someone who was ‘doing all the doing’ in my Marketing Officer job to becoming manager. I found it hard as I was used to being in control of the work and whether or not it delivered.

To overcome the challenge I got huge support from my manager and through the Leading High performing teams (LHPT) courses. I would say training and development is definitely an area where Nationwide excels. As well as benefiting from the excellent programme of development courses over the years, in 2013 I took part in the ‘Future Leader Programme’ which really helped my transition to becoming a leader within the business.

My current role, which I love, is ‘Senior Manager – B2B Marketing’ – my key responsibilities include strategy and planning; driving performance through optimisation and providing support to help drive the team’s development. Nowadays it’s second nature to depend on those around me to deliver but at the start it was a big challenge and something I think a lot of people go through in their career when stepping into management.

“ I love being a mum and having a career. ”

It’s definitely a juggling act but I wouldn't want to not have either of these parts of my life so it’s worth the effort! I feel incredibly supported as a woman who works for Nationwide - I don’t feel like it’s ever been questioned whether or not I can succeed or progress because I'm a woman. Since having my daughter Poppy I condensed my hours into 4 working days to ensure I had the work-life balance that was right for me. Nationwide supported me in this request, despite me being a fairly senior member of staff and I'm really grateful for that.

I’d have to say that my biggest career achievement so far is leading the creation of the Women in Nationwide network down in Bournemouth. It offers women in our local area development and networking opportunities that wouldn't otherwise exist. The reason I say it’s my biggest career achievement is because whilst this isn’t something that’s part of my day job, I've still been able to help grow it from nothing and it gets stronger every year. It has the opportunity to impact so many people and supports others career progression and I'm really proud of that.

“ I believe that if you love what you do; are positive and have a good, hard-working mentality then you can be as successful as you want to be. ”

For me, being hard-working means working effectively and efficiently, not working incredibly long hours! I think sometimes the only thing that holds people back is themselves, so I try to always have faith in myself that and know that it’s possible to achieve whatever I believe I can. I’ve found it tends to become a self-fulfilling prophesy – when you believe in yourself, others believe in you too, and want to pro actively support you along the way.

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