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5 minutes

Champions of Change: An interview with Katie George

23 November, 2021

Q1. You’re here today because we recognise you as a champion of change, actively working towards creating a better tomorrow for the next generation. How did you first get started within your career path?

I started in a temp job at Barclays Capital as a graduate recruitment coordinator after failing to get onto a graduate scheme. It was quite funny recruiting graduates when I had only just graduated myself. It was a novelty to see my friends who were a year younger showing up at my assessment days!

The 6 weeks temp role turned into months then years, moving from the banking industry to insurance then tech. I never dreamed I would end up leading one of the biggest Early Talent teams in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region at Amazon! I didn’t overthink things along the way, I said ‘yes’ to new opportunities and always believed that I could solve any challenge any Early Talent team had. I still believe this today. I had incredible leaders who encouraged me and let me do things my way; this is so important when fostering growth and success.

Beyond now is yet to be seen as I journey into the freelance consulting world to share my knowledge to an even broader audience.

Q2. What is the best thing about your job day today?

Learning new skills. A constant evolution of what I am capable of. I have found myself often in roles where I’ve needed to build or fix things, and they were often beyond my current skillset which I loved because it means I am guaranteed to learn something new every day. Growth as a regular aspect of your career, however high up the ladder you go, is personally rewarding.

Q3. What does diversity and inclusion really look like to you?

I heard this in a talk once: diversity is a fact and inclusion is a choice. We are diverse by nature, but I believe that we choose to make people feel included in our personal and professional lives. Being included is not just being asked to attend the meeting – it is being asked to attend and inviting that person into the conversation proactively, making sure their opinion and voice is heard. This way they will feel they belong and you will get the best of this person, which is the aim in life: to bring out the best in those around you.

Q4. What is one thing you would love to see change in the Early Talent recruitment space?

More people of colour leading regional and global Early Talent teams; I was almost always the only person of colour in that position at industry forums, for example. It not only provides a role model or aspiration for students as this is often the first leader they see from any organisation, but it also generally ensures that the DE&I agenda is firmly set in this space which is the most critical pipeline of diverse talent for organisations.

I know you asked for one thing, but I would also like to see Early Talent teams genuinely track retention and belonging after talent joins. Organisations are getting really good at attracting and hiring, but retention is often a secondary thought that is not invested in or checked.

Q5. What advice would you give professionals looking to become champions of change?

Always look ahead, find new solutions. Don’t get stuck in old ways of doing things. When you start a new role pay close attention to what you notice in your first few months. What do you agree with? What don’t you agree with? Write this down to ensure that, once you are settled in, you can begin to suggest and create change. You’ll be surprised at how easily you can slip into doing things how they have always been done once you get busy and distracted.

Never think your first reactions are incorrect or too far out. Just go ahead and share your solutions and include a suggested plan of action. Don’t give up trying to implement what you care about, it will take time. Find stakeholders in the company who can support and help you drive forward.