Director of People

Kate joined us in 2022 as Director of People.

I will always remember the hot sunny day in June 2022, sitting outside on the grass in a quiet spot outside my office, as I waited for a call from Will Smith. I had spotted an opportunity for a role in this rapidly growing trust and was given an appointment to speak to him. I wasn't actively looking to move jobs, but something about this job excited me. With no prior experience in education, I wanted to check if it was worth an application. 

I liked the sound of everything Will told me in that early call immediately and just over three months and several interviews later, I left some long-standing friends and colleagues behind to join Greenshaw, starting a whole new chapter in my career the day after my youngest daughter started university. 

I haven't looked back since. No two days are the same. I work with some incredibly skilled people, headteachers, school improvement leads, senior leaders and functional experts who are passionate about what they do – and the impact on children's lives in challenging circumstances is outstanding. 

I have always had a need for variety and challenge, and my career has reflected this. As far back as choosing GCSEs at school, where my poor headmaster had to create a timetable around my unusual combination of preferred subjects, to working in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office supporting overseas conferences for the government, to studying law and becoming a barrister, to moving into headhunting (to repay my debts from the bar – an expensive option!) and finally to joining a local authority on my doorstep through the years I was needed for childcare. I strongly believe in the power of learning – whatever age you are. Contributing to the success our children and young people can have in the rest of their lives through the quality of the education they get in our schools is motivating enough, but to do this by instilling that growth mindset and Greenshaw's 'Always Learning' mantra in our people practices is a whole different level, totally aligns with my values, uses all the skills I've developed over my eclectic career, and gives me a huge opportunity to constantly develop and challenge myself further as I learn from the brilliant people I work with. 

After my first year, my role expanded from working closely with the Chief Executive, building a really high calibre Trust Leadership Team fit for growth as our success in educational outcomes magnified, and I became the Deputy Chief Executive so that I could lead on cross-cutting projects, such as our new people strategy. 

If you're thinking about putting in an application – my advice is 'go for it'. It's always scary starting a new challenge, especially if you have no particular reason to move jobs, but if your experience is anything like mine, it will be the best thing you can ever do for your career. And a truly fulfilling career is so important, given the amount of influence it has over our whole lives.