Workingmums.co.uk’s Head of Corporate Sales Katie Ward talks about how she works and what motivates her to be part of the WM team.
Workingmums.co.uk was set up in 2006 by Gillian Nissim to act as a bridge between professionals looking for flexible new jobs and employers looking to attract an experienced, talented pool of candidates. Since then it has grown to be the number one jobs and community site for professional working mothers. It has over 320,000 registered users and works with thousands of employers. It also now offers advice, support and inspiration to those looking to set up their own businesses and franchises. Workingmums.co.uk is a fully flexible employer. It operates as a virtual business so everyone in it works remotely and with various degrees of other flexibility. We wanted to give you an inside view of how it works and who the people are behind the website. This week we have Head of Corporate Sales, Katie Ward.
I work three days a week spread over four days. I account manage and develop new business opportunities for companies with over 1,000 employees where gender diversity is a big focus along with a desire to attract skilled professional women into their organisations. As part of my role I research and identify companies who have good flexible working policies and family friendly initiatives to understand what they can offer to our audience and also how we can help with their employer brand and gender diversity recruitment objectives. I also account manage the clients on our Top Employer platform, which promotes companies that have partnered with us to promote their employer brand to our audience and tap into a pool of skilled and experienced candidates. It’s imperative to understand all our partners’ recruitment and diversity needs and objectives so that we can effectively promote them through our site.
I am extremely passionate about what we do – 95% of the companies I meet with have challenges in recruiting and retaining women within certain areas of the business or at a senior level. We see a huge shortage of women from management level up to board level. It’s incredibly rewarding speaking to clients who really understand what we are trying to achieve by connecting skilled working mums with employers offering good flexible working options and innovative family-friendly initiatives. I work with a huge variety of organisations across a spectrum of sectors that include banking, insurance and finance, engineering, technology and retail; all industries that have traditionally been male dominated. This variety is what keeps my job fresh, exciting and challenging.
5 1/2 years
I had just returned from travelling South America, New Zealand and Asia and really wanted to find a role that had some longevity in it and that I felt passionate about. I was approached by a recruitment consultancy and on reading the job spec I felt it was something I really believed in. Some of my own friends were having babies and I was being exposed to how challenging it can be for working mums to still have a successful and fulfilling career whilst also having a good work life balance. I felt that in this role I could perhaps help make a difference to women who were looking to get back to work after having children. Since joining Workingmums.co.uk I have had two daughters who are now aged two and almost four years old. Working for a company that is probably the most flexible organisation I have ever encountered, I am very committed to Workingmums.co.uk and feel extremely passionate about what we do.
Prior to Workingmums.co.uk I worked for a parliamentary and political communications company based in Westminster. The company provided partners and the public with the skills, intelligence and platforms needed to engage effectively across the spheres of politics, public sector administration and public affairs throughout the UK and European Union. I worked predominately on the online website where companies were keen to engage with MPs, the civil service and the wider political community. It was a very exciting and fast moving job that was very male dominated with a work hard, play hard attitude. After nearly four years I was ready to take a break and re-evaluate what I wanted to do next.
The best thing is the flexibility to be able to do drop-offs and pick-ups for my children. Working from home gives fewer interruptions too, so I can plough through my work and get things done quicker. The worst thing is missing the office banter about the previous night’s TV and general chit chat….oh and the post work cocktail or two!
Plan your day and be organised. Before I finish for the day I always have a ‘to do’ list of things I need to do the next day. I also prioritise these in order of importance. My days tend to go off at tangents depending on client requests or incoming inquiries from companies so by getting these important tasks done first thing I can always postpone other tasks until the following day if I run out of time.
My desk is at the table in my kitchen looking out on the jungle of a garden that my husband keeps promising to clear up.
I’m normally a meticulously tidy person, but today my desk looks like a total mess with half drunk cups of tea, a curly sandwich crust on a plate and a big pile of washing ready to be folded.
I speak to colleagues on a daily basis by phone. We all use instant messenger on Googlemail too so can always see who’s online and we keep in touch a lot that way. We also have a team conference call every Monday morning.
I do always try to take a break, although sometimes that’s not possible as it does tend to get very busy. If I do take a break it will never be a full hour, but, when I can, I will pause for 30 minutes to go for a run, eat my lunch away from my desk or take a walk to the shops for some fresh air and supplies.
I see some colleagues more than others as I often have meetings in London, once or twice a week. We always meet up at our Top Employer Awards in November and go for a few drinks afterwards. We also have the standard Christmas do and tend to meet up for a social event in the summer months too. We also meet twice a year for brainstorming or workshop groups with sales and marketing.
My days go by so quickly feeling isolated isn’t a problem for me. As soon as the children are home it’s 100 miles an hour until bedtime so the quietness during the day is rather nice at times.
I don’t really have a daily routine as every day is very different for me. My week is divided between meeting clients, normally in London once or twice a week, lots of conference calls with either colleagues or clients and also getting my other essential tasks done. If I am having a day working from home with no meetings, I always try to make my important phone calls between 9.30-12 as I find this is the best time to get hold of people. My afternoons are normally filled with telecons and conference calls with potential partners we hope to work with.
I like to go running when I can fit it into my day. I enjoy cooking and my husband would also say tidying! My social life isn’t what it was prior to having children, but I do try to make an effort to have one night out a week with friends. I also love to read and find this is the best way to switch off just before bedtime.
It is a challenge sometimes, I do find it hard to switch off and often log on outside of working hours. Doing a job that offers such flexibility means that the employee also has to be flexible! I do try and make an effort not to check my blackberry on my non-working day and as soon as I pick my daughters up I make sure they have 100% of my time until they go to bed.
Not really, I have meetings weekly in London so still experience the commute and meeting environment in clients’ offices. This is something I wouldn’t want to do on a daily basis so I do feel lucky to have the job that I have.