In the second of our series, we ask workingmums.co.uk’s sales director Katie Ward who inspires her, whether she has had any mentors in her working life and whether her career priorities have changed since having children.
It’s 2020 and we wanted to start the year on a positive note, looking at the people who have inspired or helped us in our careers, even if indirectly, and we thought we’d start with the workingmums.co.uk team. This week it’s the turn of our sales director Katie Ward.
workingmums.co.uk: Who has inspired you in your life – both in work and outside?
Katie Ward: My biggest inspiration is believing in what I do and working for an organisation that is committed to improving work-life balance and giving people the opportunity to further their careers regardless of gender, age or ethnicity.
In one of my previous roles, I was employed by a fantastic man who took a risk hiring me as I was from outside the industry. I was recruited into an all-male team in a male-dominated industry, but he saw something in me and he helped to nurture my skills. I went on to excel in the role and ended up being the department’s top performer. Having his support gave me the confidence and drive that came from knowing that if I applied myself, I could have a chance of success. His belief in me has always stayed with me and the support he gave me was something I knew I would take with me moving forward when I went on to manage a team.
Outside work, it has to be my mum who is amazing. As one of five children growing up and now being a mum myself I am in awe of how easy she made it all look. She took everything in her stride, especially when she had elder caring responsibilities and took the decision to move my nan who suffered from dementia into our family home so she could care for her. Having eight people living in our house (and a dog) was a squash and a squeeze, but we all felt loved and supported in all that we did. Furthermore, she often worked part time and was able to balance being a fabulous and supportive mum whilst also helping to contribute towards the household bills.
workingmums.co.uk: Have you had a mentor[s] or someone who has helped you in your career? If so, how has that person helped you?
KW: It would have to be the manager I described above.
workingmums.co.uk: Has your career taken the path you thought when you started?
KW: No. When I left university I always knew I wanted to work in media, but I fell into a sales role. I worked for a local newspaper in the design and planning department and was surrounded by lots of sales people who were earning good money and I felt that I could also do the job so I convinced one of the managers to give me a trial selling advertising space on the car section, which she agreed to. It was a really tough job, but I did well and earned a permanent role, a pay rise and company car after six months. I loved the dynamism and autonomy that the role gave me and since then there has been no turning back.