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Interview Kate Hardcastle

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kate-hardcastleKate is a highly respected and successful businesswoman with award-winning success in delivering commercial & successful ventures and partnerships. In addition to 20 years’ experience, founding business transformation organisation Insight With Passion, Kate has forged a highly successfully media career as the go-to business expert for BBC TV & Radio, ITV and Sky News giving her own comment and opinion. Kate has a no-nonsense, warm approach which has seen her speak alongside world-renowned names, such as Bill Clinton and brands such as McDonalds and Google.

She speaks around the world on her topics of expertise and is a champion for women in business, sports & media. Alongside her successful business career, Kate has established numerous charitable causes. The award-winning Charity Dreamgirls has been established for 9 years and Positive Image is a well-respected and endorsed campaign aimed to inspire confidence in young people.

Inspiring and thought-provoking herself, Kate has won numerous awards including Entrepreneur of the Year, Innovator of the Year, Influential Business Person of the Year, Marketer of the Year & The Global Crème de la Crème award. She holds Ambassador & Patron roles for RSPCA, The Diana Awards, Endometriosis UK, Womens Sports Trust, Womens Sports Fitness Foundation and the Bradford Bulls.

To read more about the 21st celebrations click here

What were or are the biggest challenges you faced going back in to the work place after children?

As a parent who enjoys being with my family, I do feel the wrench of being away from th children. My hours are long and varied and although after the twins (10months) I’ve minimised International travel – stopovers can still be part of job. The way I deal with it – to variable degrees of success, is to ” be in the moment” So, if I’m in work, at a charity function or volunteering – that is my focus and I have to trust whomever is caring for my children at that time to give the best care possible. You also have to trust. 

How do you achieve your work life balance of career woman and mother?     

Who does? You spin plates, you cut corners – most of all – I “buy time” 

It’s in my nature to want to do the very best job possible – and I have to repeat that to myself

If you can’t make that costume/attend the sports day / get the kids to eat kale – take that stress away – do 3 things well each day and make sure the list rotates to allow a turn for everything to go at the top – but don’t do 100 things badly

I also think it’s important to be honest about the things we have to let go of to prioritise others – I need to get my fitness levels up – there are not any more hours in the day – so I’m have to get to the gym. This means no time for things I love like a bit of reading and ultra efficient – eg using a gym with multi centres so I can tie into the day

If you could give your past self-one piece of advice about being a working mother what would it be?     

I have an elder daughter and if I could go back and help me as a first time mum – I would certainly steer me away from Google! Yes, be informed, be researched – but be you. Generally instincts will steer you well. Also when the mother of an 8 week old baby – who came to lecture me on parenting when my daughter was having a meltdown toddler tantrum in a restaurant – pay NO attention – and say to her – “let’s see how you got on at this age.”  With a smile! 

Have your career goals and aspirations altered since becoming a working mother from that prior to your children?

I’m much more focused – and every minute counts – I still aspire to progress, still love to learn – but I have to make every meeting the best it can be. I’m more efficient, but I certainly have far more understanding of people. 

What are your future goals in your career path in the next few years, what do you hope to achieve?

I’m still to hit 40 – so I’ve a long time left to work at achieving my goals, I set them from short term to long term – so it feels like I can achieve on a more regular basis. I’m celebrating 21 years in my career & charity work this year – and at the start I was studying every night too. I remember clearly having to start the commute to work at 5, finishing a full day at 6pm and studying every night til 12/1am

On weekends I also had a part  time job to help with the mortgage – and was singing until the wee small hours. I promised myself I would have time to enjoy life and see the world – and I Have done so far – but there is so much left to see. Part of my aspiration is to ensure I can do the work I love to do, with very happy clients, time to travel and time to continue my charity work which is the best learning I do each week.

If you had the power to change one thing in the business market for working mothers, what would you change?

Stigma – it’s still there. And sadly I’ve experienced it from women as well as men. At just 4 months pregnant, a “lady” in the same industry as me emailed my clients and asked had they thought about what the plans were for my impending maternity leave. GirlPower, huh? 

What is the best piece of business advice you have been given?          

Two ears, one mouth, use in that order 

If you could recommend one book to our readers leisure or business what would it be?

There are so many business titles in my treasured library – but hey we need some humour. – what about:

Go the f@@k to sleep ! 🙂 

Question from previous interviewee  Celia Sawyer (4 Rooms) Does leaving your children with someone else bother you, that you may miss a key stage in their growth? Ie. A first word or something different?

Hey Celia – thanks for the question. We were fellow Inspirational Award winners – and I met you and your beautiful children. Yes it is a concern to think that we’re not going to be there are every pivotal moment – and yes in my effort to be honest and real – it does sting a bit when you get what seems to be the worst bit of the day for your children – and you’ve missed the best bit. A bit of experience has taught me that we can’t be selfish with our children – they bring joy to many – and the fact they may have made someone else smile that day or feel comfortable and safe with me to really be themselves – means that maybe I’m doing an okay job! 

What question would you wish to ask our next working mother who takes this short interview?

Do your children ever resent you heading to work – and how do you deal with it? 

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