Today is International Women’s Day so we spoke to Katie Wilson who is one of our Directors at Blue Spire and has just celebrated 5 years with the company.
Katie is an energetic, positive, and supportive leader whose door is always open for a chat (or at the end of the phone in more recent times). She has a very infectious laugh that can be heard anywhere in the office and she inspires the whole team to be at the top of our game and achieve our own personal goals.
Tell me a bit about your career – how you got to where you are?
I first decided to become an Accountant following a sixth form field trip to London’s Canary Wharf. I was in awe of the big buildings and the snappily dressed guys and gals looking super important dashing around the place and I knew from that point a career in business was for me. I loved London too and after graduating that’s where I headed to undertake my training contract to become a Chartered Accountant.
I’ve had such a varied career working in some really interesting businesses and organisations and have met some very interesting characters along the way. All of this helps with my current job working with Clients from all different walks of life and of course managing and developing our wonderful team.
Who has inspired you the most in your career and why?
My Father Charles has been a big role model for me throughout my life and particularly throughout my working life. As an Accountant himself he taught me that being an Accountant is by no means boring and having personality is a big plus.
I’m one of three Sisters so I never felt that as females there was any difference to what we can achieve in life and both of my parents definitely reinforced that as we were growing up. I’ve also got some incredibly successful female friends running fantastic businesses and succeeding in high flying jobs so these ladies too are a real inspiration to me.
Why do you think gender equality is important at Blue Spire/or in accountancy?
I think any team benefits from a good mix of genders and personalities too. At Blue Spire our work force is pretty much 50/50 in terms of females to males and I like it that way as I think it makes for a balanced working environment and better banter!
At Blue Spire we have a long history of employing working mums and I myself have two young children so I know how important it is to have flexibility in the workplace. I think this flexibility and acceptance that women often want to mix being a mum and having a career sets us apart from other employers and I know many of our team appreciate this.
Do you think being a female leader/business owner gives you any additional skills?
As a female leader I think I’m a bit more tuned in to the emotional side of managing a business and I tend to take the lead on employee relations. I have a lovely leather sofa in my office and I think each and every member of staff has been on it at some point, having a development chat or just asking for advice. I love this aspect of my role, our team work so hard so it’s important for them to feel valued and nurtured. I feel strongly that if you want loyalty and respect from your staff that’s exactly what you need to show them.
Do you think women in business still face challenges or do you think things have moved a lot since you began your career?
I think gender equality has changed massively since I started working in accountancy 21 years ago. I remember more senior female team mates in my early career telling me how in meetings the expectation was that they would make the tea purely because they were the only female in the room!
Today I don’t see my gender as something that holds me back at all and obviously that’s the way it should be. I have been to a few stuffy events where the majority of the professionals around me are male but this doesn’t really bother me, I’m comfortable being me and I’m confident in my ability so if someone doesn’t want to work with me because I’m female, more fool them.
Unfortunately I think gender inequality does still exist in some organisations and sectors but this is changing rapidly and quite rightly too and I think it’s important we celebrate days like International Women’s Day to recognise this change and the future of women in business.
What message would you give to your daughter or any young women on International Women’s Day?
I would tell them to be the very best they can be, reach for the stars as there is no reason you can’t be whatever you want to be as long as you work hard and have faith in yourself.
Where would you like to see yourself in 5 years?
The Directors of Blue Spire are really ambitious to grow the business and we have had great success in bringing in new clients even during a global pandemic.
In 5 years time I’d like the business to have grown 50% from where we are today which is pretty punchy but with the team we have I believe it’s possible. We have great city centre offices that give us scope to grow our team substantially, I guess I’ll need a bigger sofa!
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