Spotlight on our Experts: Katy Brown

Oct 21 / Katy Brown


Katy Brown helps grow businesses by turning ideas into reality. She has over 10 years of experience in strategy development and execution, and knows what it takes to deliver large-scale change programmes. She applies the core concepts of agile project management to effectively manage change for organisations all over the world.

Tell us a bit about your career journey. How did you get into strategy development and change management?

Largely happenstance! After university, I joined the consulting graduate scheme at Deloitte, before moving to Alpha Financial Markets Consulting, where I was responsible for delivering major growth initiatives and change programmes for private banks and asset managers. I was fortunate to experience working in Switzerland, Luxembourg, New Zealand and the US, alongside the UK.

Working as a consultant delivering large-scale projects, the need for effective change management was critical. I then became Head of Strategic Delivery for a UK investment manager, where my focus was on developing and implementing growth strategies for the business.

 
What has been the biggest career highlight for you so far?

I’m currently launching a social venture, Skylark Works, with two incredible co-founders. We’re a purpose-led consultancy harnessing connections, promoting collaboration, and providing practical and measurable help to organisations which deliver positive social impact. Having the opportunity to combine my skills and experience with my passion to make a meaningful and sustainable social impact is definitely a career highlight.
Mistakes are par for the course, in fact, they’re often helpful. Just make sure you learn from them.
Katy Brown

...And your greatest learning?

There are so many! A few that spring to mind:

  • Always stay true to your values
  • Try not to compare your journey to others
  • Mistakes are par for the course, in fact, they’re often helpful. Just make sure you learn from them
  • Your wellbeing is so important, make space for it. And don’t sacrifice it, it’s never worth it...

What was important to you in developing an online course, and how did you find the process of its development?

Effectively managing change is a prerequisite for any thriving, sustainable organisation. So I wanted to create a course that was practical, outcome-focused and accessible – and above all, helpful. I really enjoyed creating the course, it made me apply structure to a process that has just evolved organically over the years, which was an interesting experience!


If you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?

As clichéd as it sounds, life really is too short, so don’t live to work and don’t let work define you. Make the best of what you have, enjoy yourself. Imagine you’re 85, sat in a rocking chair beside the fire. Now consider your 85-year-old self looking back on life and reflecting on all the things they wish they’d done but can no longer do. Make sure you create the space to do those things while you can.
As clichéd as it sounds, life really is too short, so don’t live to work and don’t let work define you.
Katy Brown

In your experience, how can online learning best help support people and accelerate change?

By empowering people through giving them the skills, tools and confidence they need to go out there and make positive social change happen.


What excites you right now in your sector and wider social impact world? Do you see important innovations emerging and new ways of creating impact?

This is a time of changing values: as a society we are emerging into a more socially conscious and purpose-led world. And this movement has been accelerated by a series of recent events – the UK’s Brexit, Black Lives Matter and, of course, the COVID-19 pandemic, to name a few. Coupled with an uncertain economic outlook, all of these are increasing the need for the support that so many charities and social enterprises provide to people and communities, both in our country and abroad.
 
The need for socially responsible organisations is obvious but they must innovate and evolve in the face of unprecedented change and increasing operational pressures – it’s time to adapt or die.
 
And commercial businesses need to truly embed social purpose if they want to remain relevant, embracing their role in solving human, societal and environmental problems.
 
We need to work across sectors to shift paradigms and challenge assumptions, enabling innovative solutions and strategic partnerships that deliver sustainable social good. It’s a time of significant change and positive social impact has never been more important.
 

We need to work across sectors to shift paradigms and challenge assumptions, enabling innovative solutions and strategic partnerships that deliver sustainable social good. 
Katy Brown

Whether you work for a non-profit or in a bank, we believe you can have a positive impact in your career. What does ‘purpose-driven work’ mean to you and why is it important?

I once read that social purpose involves ‘doing well by doing good’. In my view, purpose-driven work is important because it’s about making a positive difference beyond yourself and your organisation. It reaches into the community, into society as a whole. It brings diverse people together to achieve a mutually beneficial goal. For an individual, I think purpose-driven work is so much more meaningful, engaging and ultimately, fulfilling.

Featured Course

How to Manage Agile Projects to Deliver Effective Change

Katy leads a course on Utopy called How to Manage Agile Projects to Deliver Effective Change. Enrol today to find out how to apply an agile and flexible project management approach to deliver change. 
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