International Women's Day - Interview with Katharine Budd, Now Money

Carter Murray is proud to be supporting International Women's Day 2017. We have interviewed a series of our female clients asking them how they have been bold for change #BeBoldForChange.

Carter Murray interviews Katharine Budd, Co Founder at Now Money.

Katharine Budd

What do you think is the most significant barrier to female leadership?
It’s pretty unfashionable to believe that executive positions should be still only be held by men, and most companies are working hard to change this. However, the logistics of having children mean that many women take several years off work at the peak of their career. If and when they return, they can become disheartened when they find others have climbed the ladder in their absence, and “give up” on trying to reach an executive position. This makes the talent pool of driven women smaller than men, but it shouldn’t be the case. Women could have a 20-30 year career ahead of them after having children, so companies need to work on rebuilding confidence and goals for return-to-work mums, who are among the best organized and disciplined people I know.

Who inspires you and why?
My several role models and mentors, male and female, have numerous exits and IPOs under their belts, but they are also deeply modest about their achievements. Modesty is such an attractive quality in successful people. They are also unafraid to admit when they are wrong. To me, this is one of the strongest marks of great leadership. Nobody is always right. Great leaders use mistakes to learn and improve, instead of fighting it.

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women behind you in the workplace?
To counteract the uneven distribution of men to women in leadership roles, private companies, business schools and governments often have quotas, scholarships or other programs to encourage and facilitate more women into their organisations. As the distribution evens out with time, the need for these programs will diminish and women will have to compete with men on a truly level playing field. Although this is fair, it will of course create a more competitive environment for women.

What would your advice be to women who are trying to achieve their career ambitions?
Big changes are hard. The human brain is wired to fight it. Adopt small habits to track progress against your goals. This might be as simple as writing one sentence about what you achieved, big or small, each day on a list. It will seem a bit odd to start with, but will soon become a normal one-minute task. Put a reminder in your calendar at a time you’re unlikely to be working so you don’t forget. At the end of a year, you will have a lot more to work with when you are asked to demonstrate your achievements than if you just try to remember a couple of big tasks. Your list will also help you quantify what percentage of your time you are spending on different areas of work: everyday tasks, added value work, self-improvement etc., and you can work on making goals to change these for the next year. It also helps in environments like a startup where the needs of the business are fast paced and ever-changing.

How do you achieve work life balance?
My passion outside of NOW Money is triathlon, and I have been lucky enough to be sponsored by the Adventure HQ BMC team for the last few years. I owe a lot to them and all the amazing friends in the TriDubai community. The shared pain of endurance sports creates a special bond, and many of them have been fundamental to the success of NOW Money as well.