Head of Keeping People Happy at Ella’s Kitchen
Why we chose Catherine
Catherine lives to push people to fulfil their potential, whether her colleagues, herself or her children. She’s championed an evolving wellbeing programme at Ella’s Kitchen which includes the training of mental first-aiders – and has seen an overwhelmingly positive response from her workforce.
What’s your ‘why’? How do you balance work and life responsibilities to fulfil it?
My why is to help others achieve their potential and to be happy and healthy as they do it. This is a ‘why’ that’s just as important in my home life as my work life, as I want to work hard for myself and also help my kids reach their achievements.
We have one blended life. It’s much harder to separate work and home lives and the responsibilities in both change constantly. For me, this means my working patterns have constantly changed. Especially as my boys have gone from being at home with me, to childminders, to nursery school, to junior school and now secondary school – with our lovely nanny helping us all the way through, helping me to able to continue developing in my role.
Can you explain an initiative you've implemented that has made an impact in your workplace?
We launched a wellbeing initiative four years ago which has evolved over time. We picked up a trend in our staff surveys that some employees were feeling overworked and stressed. We tackled some of the issues raised through resourcing, but also developed a wellbeing calendar with a series of awareness-raising workshops. This includes detaching from your smartphone, financial awareness and stress management and access to external experts.
We found that wellbeing means different things to different people and continued with a new selection of workshops for the wellbeing calendar. We also personalised our approach further by encouraging the team to set their own wellbeing goals.
Our wellbeing score on our staff survey has increased and our overall net promoter score is at a new high of 81%. The piece of the initiative I am most proud of is introducing mental health first-aiders. This has really opened up conversations around mental health and made Ella’s an even more open and caring place to work.
As a female leader, what have been the most significant barriers in your career?
I don’t feel that I have had huge barriers to overcome as a female leader – I’ve chosen organisations which are super supportive to women. The only barrier I’ve had to overcome is my own personal confidence at certain points. I was particularly mindful of this during and after maternity when self-confidence can often take a knock – and it takes time to recover the years spent at home in your career path.
What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?
Work hard, find fantastic workplaces, nurture relationships and partnerships in and outside work, and be kind to people.