Kate Hardcastle, Insight with Passion - My First Job
PUBLISHED: 11:41 23 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:13 20 February 2013
Kate Hardcastle, founding partner of business consultancy Insight with Passion, gives the lowdown on her career highlights
Kate Hardcastle, founding partner of business consultancy Insight with Passion, gives the lowdown on her career highlights.
What was your first job?
My hardworking Yorkshire family instilled in me the need to earn my own money and make a contribution. As a result, I had a variety of jobs as a teenager and was even poached as a Saturday girl from a hairdresser by a pizza restaurant. I also did as much unpaid work experience as possible, including working as a runner for Radio Leeds and helping out with fashion events at Brooks Mill.
What lessons did it teach you?
They collectively taught me that I needed to be a self-starter and passionate about whatever it was I wanted to achieve. I also began to understand that my school studies needed to be supplemented by other skills. Being able to converse on a variety of levels with different people is crucial in developing a network of influential contacts who can provide opportunities not always accessible via traditional academic routes. Ive recently worked with local schools to highlight this point, as I feel its essential for young people to be aware of other attributes attractive to potential employers.
How has your career progressed?
Ive been fortunate enough to hold senior and board level roles in a variety of national and international businesses, including head of marketing at Silent Night, where I was named Young Marketer of the Year. I have since won 20 recognised awards. Most recently I set up my own company, Insight with Passion, with my business partner Richard Gomersall to help firms solve challenges and become more profitable. A unique part of our work is our Access for All programme in which we donate 20 per cent of our time to charitable and community projects.
What do you enjoy about your job now?
Having my own business has given me the flexibility and freedom to focus on whats important, like the delivery of premium customer service, which I feel is key in tempting consumers back to the high street.
Our Customer at the Heart initiative recognises and rewards businesses that excel in this area, and we have already awarded this accreditation to a number of Yorkshire-based independents.
Whats next for you?
We have big plans to continue expanding the business internationally, fuelled by a successful client trip to Australia and the US. I aim to build on our Town Centre Retail Clinic initiative to help businesses across Yorkshire increase footfall and shopping spend, as its currently the worst hit region in the UK in terms of shop closures.
And Im also hoping to continue my work as ambassador for Dreamgirls, a charity that supports lesser-known fundraising organisations via a calendar of events. The organisation is based in Yorkshire, where we support a wide range of charities, and is expanding into surrounding counties.
Eventually, wed like Dreamgirls to be a nationwide venture.
What advice would you give?
Be tenacious and passionate, and never accept no for an answer if its something you truly believe in.
The print version of this article appeared in the April 2012 issue of Yorkshire Life
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