Alison asked Kathryn to describe the challenges she has faced in her career. “I like to take on a challenge and break things up into component parts, find the problem and then put things back together which I believe has come from my engineering roots. Having mainly worked in male dominated industries, I have really enjoyed breaking that stigma. I think being really driven has meant that my roles and my career have matched my personality.
“I think my biggest challenge has always been facing the revolving doors of bosses. In one role I had three different CEO bosses in a period of 2 years, each one had a slightly different personality and slightly different remit on my role which made things more difficult. For instance, one of them had a good financial head, but then the next was so strategic and he just wanted to focus on a certain aspect of my role, but that did really help me to progress in a role
“The other difficulty I faced was that the incumbent in the roles I took on, was usually male, and as a female coming in to replace a male leaving for whatever reason, it was specifically tough for the first couple of months. You just have to focus on why you’re there, and help and support your teams. This happened to me twice, where I took over from a male incumbent, who was still there, which made it quite difficult. This simply made me more determined to get my head down and do the job well.”
Alison asked whether Kathryn felt she had to work any harder to achieve success in this career as a woman. “Maybe, but trying hard and wanting to achieve is just part of my DNA. I don’t think I’m naturally bright, I did not go through any private system, but I did work extra hard for my exams and at university, probably harder than most. I think doing difficult A-levels and a difficult degree prepared me for working harder in my career.” I kept stretching myself-never stay in your comfort zone.