INSPIRATIONAL WOMAN: KATE PATERSON | WE ARE THE CITY INTERVIEW
As COO, Kate manages the strategic and operational process that ensures content and services meet the needs of Hub’s clients, as well as organising global production and leading a 15-strong in-house team. A champion of equality, ambition and leadership, Kate is proud that the senior team at Hub is 75% women.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I’ve done it a few times professionally, but most of the time it’s quite natural. Work has always flowed organically for Hub, so it’s more about being adaptable to change, taking chances and facing opportunities head on. I’ve always aimed to do my best in the industry and work with the best people. Perpetual learning and pushing my experience, so I can grow, is really important to me. I’ve practised yoga for 20-odd years and I’m still learning within the same moves – it should be the same with your career. As for the company, we’re making some bold steps and going into a rapid growth strategy. I expect as the company grows, so will I as I learn new skills to help facilitate this growth.
Have you faced any challenges along the way and if so, how did you deal with them?
Learning from scratch and building up Hub hasn’t always been easy but naturally, you have to take risks to reap the benefits. The real satisfaction comes from getting it right. Safety in numbers is a good approach to challenges – talking the issue through rationally with others and deciding on an approach. It’s also really important to know where your strengths are, where others’ strengths are, and to pull together in the same direction.
What advice would you give someone who wishes to move into a leadership position for the first time?
Be bold; be yourself. Say yes more than you say no. Imposter syndrome can hit anyone, but don’t believe it – believe you can do it. Be ambitious, aim high, and keep pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone.
When faced with two equally qualified candidates, how would you decide who should have the role?
We look at how they’d fit with the rest of the team and use Facet 5. Chemistry is so important when working together, so we have an overview of characters within the team. We also look for ambition and what the candidate wants to achieve personally and professionally.
How do you manage your own boss?
David [Hub co-founder and Kate’s partner] and I will manage each other at times; it’s about knowing each other strengths. It’s important not to think about work 24/7 and to be able to switch off, so we have to be honest with one another and say when we just can’t talk about work anymore!
On a typical workday, how do you start your day and how does it end?
Most of my days are very different and that’s part of what I like so much about what we do. I could be based in the office one day, meeting clients or out on a shoot another day, but most mornings I’ll come in and check in with everyone. It’s really nice to be in the office as everyone comes in and also be visible and present to your team. Whatever I do, it’s always lovely to get home to the kids.
What advice can you give to our members about raising their profiles within their own organisations?
Be seen, be keen, and be proactive. At Hub we actively encourage the achievement of both personal and professional goals. It’s important to be participative, and make sure your voice is heard. One way we help this happen is in our Creative Chow sessions every month where we share things we’ve seen and interesting campaigns over lunch. It’s an opportunity for anyone to talk, raise points and contribute, and great for bonding.
How have you benefited from coaching or mentoring?
Coaching and mentoring is amazingly helpful. I’ve had both personal and professional coaches. Hub has had a couple of mentors through our attendance on the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business programmes (10KSB). Mentors can be great for bringing you a new perspective.
Do you think networking is important and if so, what 3 tips would you give to a newbie networker?
Networking is great for building confidence, finding your own voice and empowering you to feel comfortable approaching people. My three tips would be: be confident, talk to people (it’s surprising how often people stay on their own) and take business cards. You should be the best representative of your business you can be.
What does the future hold for you?
It’s a really exciting time for Hub as we feel we have the opportunity to take the team on an amazing journey in an exciting time with our rapid growth strategy. We have some fantastic brand partnerships – we’re looking forward to increasing the work we do with them and expanding.