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Catherine Halstead
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Head of Finance Operations & Special TasksCrimson Limited
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I was delighted to support Modern Muse at MK Innovates - an event all about STEM in Milton Keynes. Over 20 schools attended throughout the day so we had lots of opportunities to talk to local school children about Modern Muse. Here is a picture of us at the start of the day!
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Making it Happen


So I am buzzing today. ? A few months ago I had an idea of how I can inspire young girls (like you) and it is starting to gain traction. My idea - a conference aimed at 8/9 year olds to inspire them to consider STEM (Science Tech Engineering Maths) subjects but also to introduce them to Modern Muse and more. I met with a couple of local primary school headteachers last week and Cranfield University (where I studied my MBA) today and everyone is very excited about my idea and want to work with me to make it a reality. Proof that if you have an idea and enough passion and commitment you CAN make it happen! Watch this space for further updates ?
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Authenticity


I attended an after work event at our head office in London last week. It was about Authentic Leadership and the importance to be able to "bring your whole self to work". What does this mean? Well it's about being able to be yourself at work - not to feel you have to pretend to be someone else just to fit in. There have been a lot of studies done which show that when people feel comfortable enough at work to be true to themselves not only are they happier but more productive - which is good for you and for the company. At T-Systems we are striving to be an organisation which celebrates people's differences. The first photo below is me with our Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Claire Parker who is passionate about this topic.Events like this one really energize me. Sometimes it can be a bit nerve-racking to go to an event where you have to talk to people you don't know but once you start talking with someone it can be really rewarding. A simple tip to help you in these situations is ask the person about themselves - most people like to talk about themselves and its a really easy way to start conversation. ? As you will see from the other photos the women in T-Systems certainly know how to enjoy spending time together! ?
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Hosting


As a senior leader an important skill is the ability to present effectively. I had the pleasure of hosting our recent People Managers workshop which was focused on managing people in a world of constant change. It was a great day and showed the breadth of skill, knowledge and experience we have in our company. It is important to tap into those strengths and share best practice (share the knowledge, skills and experience with each other)
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everywoman in tech 2018 forum


Had a really inspiring day in London last week attending the everywoman in tech 2018 forum. Listened to presentations from female leaders and role models around the challenges they have faced climbing the career ladder and sharing their tips for success in a male dominated industry.
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Home Working


Like most forward thinking organisations, T-Systems acknowledges the value around flexible working patterns which include part-time, full time, home working, etc. As I had a number of calls to make today I took the opportunity to work from home.The advantage this offers, in addition to avoiding annoying my colleagues by being on my headset all day (and not talking to them) is that at lunch time I can take my dog, Dexter, out for a walk at lunchtime. This allows me to step away from my laptop and enjoy some fresh air at the same time as letting my very energetic 1 year old Labrador, Dexter release some energy! Luckily there is a lovely wood which is 5 minutes walk away from my house and here we are at lunchtime today!
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Getting to Know the Person behind the Role

When you are working hard and also have a busy personal life sometimes it can be a drag to accept work social invitations after work. However it is really important to take the opportunity to get to know the person behind the role they perform at work. Last week I did just that and joined a number of colleagues from Finance and Controlling to take part in an Escape Room activity. We were put into 4 teams - I was asked to lead one of them and then people pulled a piece of paper from a bag to identify whose team they joined. Of course I had the winning team - we started with a passionate team "Hurrah" and that set the tone for the evening. We all had 30 minutes to try to 'escape' from a room by working out clues and codes to unlock the combination locks. It was really good fun and played to everyone's strengths and was a great way to get to know each other. Here is a picture of us all at the end of the game!
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Awards Night


I was delighted to be invited to join some colleagues at the Personnel Today Awards 2017 night at The Grosvenor hotel in London. We were finalists for the Diversity and Inclusion award but sadly just missed out to the Metropolitan Police who also won the overall annual award! It was a great night!
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Recognition


We all like to be appreciated and so recently it was lovely to receive an award at work. At T-Systems we have a great recognition reward scheme called Breakthrough where everyone can nominate a colleague for going over and above what was expected of them in their role, or just simply to say thank you. The aware I won along with a small team was a Directors Award which is awarded quarterly. As well as being given some points which I can covert to retail vouchers we are also invited to the company annual awards ceremony where the overall annual winners will be selected. Keep your fingers crossed for me! ?
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Diversity and Inclusion
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Personal Confidence

I always thought someone was either confident or not, and it wasn't really until quite recently that I realized that there are techniques you can adopt to improve your confidence. In December I completed an MBA at Cranfield University. It was a two year part-time course (completed whilst also working) and I attended lectures every other weekend. In addition to amassing a wealth of leadership and business management knowledge, it was an amazing journey of self discovery through exploring my preferred personality and leadership types. As you would expect there was a long list of recommended books to read, but one particularly resonated. Amy Cuddy's "Presence". If you want to learn some techniques to ensure you present your very best self I can definitely recommend reading this book. It is supported by research but is quite an easy read.
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Making a Difference

I felt really proud today to join our Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Claire Parker to visit a local primary school to talk to girls in years 4,5 and 6 about Modern Muse. I feel so passionate about ensuring every girl has access to positive role models to inspire, support and empower them to do whatever in life they want to do. ? And how lucky am I that the organisation I work for (T-Systems Limited) recognise the importance too and allow their employees the time to do activities like this during working hours! ?
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Variety of Work


I love the variety of my current role - hosting an internal financial awareness course this morning that I have pulled together with my small team, and then off to participate in a workshop at our head office in London to discuss our external selling messages (advertising for our products)
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Kick off Sales Workshop

I was recently asked by the board to lead a strategic programme and yesterday we had a kick off workshop with 50 participants. Was I nervous? Absolutely - I was presenting in front of the UK board and sales professionals! But as I tell my children - the feeling of nerves is also part excitement so I always try to channel the energy in a positive way as you will see from the photos!
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Book Club


Last night I chaired the first post MBA (Master in Business Administration) book club. This idea was the brainchild of myself and two friends in a bar in Japan whilst on the International Business Assignment part of the MBA course! We were discussing how to ensure our MBA skills remain current (the current economic life of an MBA is 3 years) and decided we would start a book club which would serve two purposes - keep our knowledge current by reading recommended management/leadership books and encourage the cohort to maintain contact. It took quite a bit of organisation to set up - recommended reading lists, rotating chair and book reviewer, and considering how best to manage the number of the cohort who wanted to join (25 people). In the end we decided to have a monthly webex (conference) call and then try to meet face to face at least twice a year. Anyway I managed to get it all in place and we had a really productive hour last night reviewing our first book "The Rise of the Robots" by Martin Ford. It provided an interesting insight into the potential impact of automation on the economy. I have already ordered the next book on our reading list and look forward to reading it...If you want to expand your knowledge why don't you start your own book club...
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Gender Balance


Reflecting on a meeting I attended yesterday to review our financial performance I noted that out of 13 participants (all of which were senior key stakeholders within the business) 6 were women. I believe this illustrates the progress we are making both as a responsible organisation which is focussed on championing diversity and inclusion but also as a society overall. Progress! ?
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Another Monday..


So as any working mother (of 3) will know a Sunday night/Monday morning is usually chaos (unless you are super organised!) It's all about making sure uniforms are clean and ironed, packed lunches ready, homework done (including the work they didn't tell you about), shoes polished etc. and that any instruments, ingredients for food studies etc. are ready, Exhausted before I even walk into the office building, but would I change it? Not in a heartbeat! ? Can you have a successful career and be a mother? YES! Fortunately T-Systems Limited are very supportive of working parents with flexible working opportunities. Is it hard? Yes sometimes! Is it worth it? For me - absolutely! I think I am a better person for being able do to both. When it's hard I remind myself that I am a good role model for my children. Fortunately my husband works from home so they also benefit from time with him walking to and from school.
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Last One in the Office...
Sep 13
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