Kate Stephens joined Smart Works – a charity that offers women the clothes and tools to succeed in interviews – with a mission to make their services available nationwide. As someone who meets women on a daily basis wanting to feel confident, she offers her tips on becoming more empowered.
Weekday mornings are all about logistics. In my house there are five people heading in different directions and at least three of them needing constant reminders to eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, brush hair and put on shoes! That’s one of the reasons why I always wear a dress to work as it keeps things simple and streamlined. It’s also my work armour – as soon as I’m dressed, I’m ready to start the day.
I’ve learnt to take a long term view of my career. Everyone has moments of energy and brilliance when everything comes together perfectly. Then there are other times when it’s tough and it feels like progress is slow. This is particularly the case for women, who are much more likely to take on caring responsibilities for children or relatives, which of course impacts on careers. For me, the secret is to be realistic with your goals, honest about your progress, and to find what you are passionate about and put your energies there.
Two things. Firstly, do something you love. This passion will empower you beyond anything else and it’s impossible to fake. Secondly, know yourself, where your strengths lie and then play to them. Being empowered comes from understanding all this. It’s also key to have people around who know you well and can help keep you on track.
Taking Smart Works from a London-only site to a national charity, empowering women across the UK to succeed at their job interview. This is why Smart Works is the Social Action Charity of the Year, and I’m so proud of everyone who has made that possible.
With my friends – all brilliant women who can laugh and enjoy each other’s company without any pretensions.
A Brief History of Seven Killings. It’s a book written in patois about 1970s life in the Jamaican slums, centring on an attempt on Bob Marley’s life. It has nothing to do with my own life and yet it’s the most vivid, gripping and memorable book I’ve read in years.