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Introducing...Katie

05/06/2017

Tell us how you got started in the digital/creative/tech space...

I started my working life in radio at the BBC – basically doing anything they’d let me get my hands on! As a fiercely commercially minded person, I love the dynamic of working with creativesPlacing operational restrictions on a digital/creative/tech business requires careful balance to ensure you can benefit from efficiencies without hindering your best minds. 

 

Realising operational management skills were my forte and creative industries my passion, I went on to pursue a career in digital. Initially working client side and quickly moving to the world of agency, which offered me the variety and fast pace that I thrived. In 2013 I became the youngest person to be appointed to the managing board of directors at international digital consultancy Reading Room, heading up their Manchester office. 

 

What’s your current role and what do you enjoy most about it? 

I’m Head of Digital, Creative and Tech at the Business Growth Hub. I look after two teams; one that supports businesses to grow using digital and the other that focuses on growing the digital, creative and tech sector. My Mum and Dad started their business when I was 2, so I’ve grown up in an entrepreneurial environment. I love that my job allows me to help and watch businesses flourish every day, not to mention all of the amazing connections you make in this thriving ecosystem. 

 

strongly feel it’s the Business Growth Hub’s responsibility to play a part in enabling and fostering collaboration in the sector with initiatives like Greater Connected and the promotion of other excellent offerings in the industry. 

The best business leaders I’ve seen are those willing to mop the floor if it helps the bottom line!

Why Manchester? 

Manchester gave the Britain Emmeline Pankhurst, the computer and graphene – not to mention some incredible music - what more could you want?! 

 

Let’s not replicate London, let’s build on and celebrate what we’re amazing at. 

 

What’s one big thing you’ve learned about what it takes to grow a business? 

Don’t focus on job titles. I see so many businesses restrict their efficiency based on the limitations they’ve placed on their own staff or themselves. Getting to know and focusing on the talents (and potential) of the people you employ, rather than creating a culture that places people in boxes, means you can be far more dynamic and agile. 

 

The best business leaders I’ve seen are those willing to mop the floor if it helps the bottom line! 

 

What’s the piece of advice you find yourself giving most often? 

Learn to fail fast and you’ll succeed in the long run. Talk to your customer base and test what you do, setting measurable sales KPIs. The premise of failure is something we fear, but when you’re looking to launch a new product or service to market, create something simple that works and can evolve, rather than waiting for it to be perfect and finding your customers didn’t need it in the first place. 

Manchester gave the Britain Emmeline Pankhurst, the computer and graphene – not to mention some incredible music - what more could you want?!

Best book you’ve read in the last year and why? 

My friend Max Dickins got dumped by his girlfriend last year and in an attempt to quell the heartache and boredom bought a Groupon voucher. This spiralled in to a yearlong Groupon challenge where he ended up writing a hilarious book called ‘My Groupon Adventure’, funded through crowd sourcing publisher Unbound. Think Dave Gorman unleashed on the world of Groupon!  

 

One album and/or podcast we all need to have in our lives? 

If you’re one of the few people that didn’t lose part of your life last year to the first series of the podcast Serial, you’re about to! It follows a high school murder case in America. Disclaimer, it doesn’t have a definitive conclusion as the case is still on-going, so you’ll have to make up your own mind. If you were hooked by Making a Murderer, this is your bag.  

 

Most looking forward to about Greater Connected? 

Bringing great minds together and seeing what exciting opportunities emerge! Collaboration is really high on the agenda in Manchester and something we could all do more of. We’ve put a lot of time and effort in to selecting what we feel is the right mix of businesses to ensure everyone benefits from these connections. 

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