Tell us a little about yourself and your career background?
I began my career as a corporate lawyer with a global law firm and have held executive level positions in the public and private sectors. I now manage a strategic consultancy advising clients on competition, regulation, and public policy. I’m a trustee of the person centred care charity, National Voices as well as Reform, the leading Westminster think tank for public service reform.
What has been your highlight as an AllBright member?
There is a lot to love about being a member of the AllBright, so it’s hard to choose a single highlight. If I really had to I’d say it was the Pitch Days. They are so interesting and inspiring and I always have great conversations at them. Can’t wait for the next one!
You advise women on securing pay rises – what are your tips for attaining an increase in pay?
The biggest pay rises are up for grabs when you move jobs from one organisation to another, so make the most of these opportunities. Success is all in the prep – first of all, research the market rate for a similar role in a similar company in a similar location. Then, come up with a £10-15k salary range that resonates with you energetically and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. Finally, get really clear on how you add value to your employer – write down how your contribution helps your organisation achieve its strategic objectives and get confident talking that through. Put that all together and you’re winning!
How do you balance your demanding work schedule and personal life?
I’m quite decisive and good at compartmentalising – so when I’m working, I’m 100% focused on work and when I’m not working and spending time with my family I try not to think about work. If you are always in work mode you burn out. I bought a horse as a 40th birthday present to myself and I ride outside six days a week. It’s a lovely thing I do just for myself and I find it keeps me physically and mentally strong.
What does sisterhood mean to you, and who are your inspirations?
Sisterhood is an energetic connection between women, with all the women who have ever been and all the women who will ever be. There is power when women come together – something primordial, something magical. I’m very inspired by women who embody feminine leadership, like Angela Ahrendts, of Burberry and Apple. (I love her Ted talk, ‘The Power of Human Energy’.)
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Enjoy the ride.
Can you tell us a little more about your work with Westminster think tank, Reform?
Think tanks are charities set up to shape and debate public policy, providing politicians with ideas and sometimes plans for legislation. I was the first woman to join the board of Reform, which now has a female CEO too. At Reform we advocate for better and smarter public services – we aim to change policy for the better through authoritative research and an active events programme that engages the most senior policymakers and parliamentarians in the UK. To have a better debate about public services we need to have more women at the table expressing their views.
And finally, do you have a career motto or mantra you live by?
I love this quote by Amelia Earhart, the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic (and all-round legend): “The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity”.
If you would like to get in touch with Catherine, please reach out to her on AllBright Connect.