Meet Katie Penfold, our new Managing Director
Market leader, passport stamp collector, cocktail authority and expert hugger; Team Because is lucky to have Katie as our new UK MD.
One unmistakable laugh. Three continents. Four offices. Twenty years. Hundreds of campaigns. Thousands of miles. Millions of marketing spend. From the UK to Australia to UAE and back to the UK, Katie has been a critical catalyst for our global Because success.
"I started in the Summer of 2001 on a three-month contract booking promotional staff. Back then, the staffing "database" was a filing cabinet of actual photos and paper profiles sorted by county. You had to physically call each person to check their availability. Seems so archaic now," says Katie.
Fast forward 20 years, and Katie will now lead the team where she started, there are no more old-school filing cabinets, and she's learnt a few lessons in her business travels and triumphs. What advice would she share with the younger Katie? "Dump my then-boyfriend 😃," says Katie. "In all seriousness, I'd tell her to stop worrying about what she thought she had to change to achieve her career goals and focus on leaning in on her natural strengths."
Katie's talent and versatility has helped create award-winning work across different countries, cultures and time zones, but she's learnt that there are some things that never change. "The fundamental practices of good business and great work are the same everywhere you go: relationships, curiosity, and drive," says Katie.
Along with these shared characteristics, there was also one thing in the Because team that never changed, no matter what continent you're on: the unique team DNA. "There's no room for egos or dick behaviour," says Katie. "We've always worked hard at ensuring a healthy and supportive family that gives back to both the team and the communities we work in. As an independently owned agency, that culture comes from the top. Sharon is direct, open, warm, extremely good company, but she's also a machine of an entrepreneur. She is as demanding of herself as she is of her team to constantly deliver excellent work."
So, the question is: what is Katie most excited about in her new role? "So many things! Although I've been a member of the Senior Leadership team for a while, but now I'm genuinely excited to take the reins and work closely with Sharon to put my stamp on the agency. It's all going to start with bringing in some incredible talent as part of a restructure of Client Services and Strategy." The agency is evolving, and Katie's at the forefront of the revolution.
When Katie isn't planning global domination or drinking signature cocktails (more on this later), you'll find her spending her downtime taking in cultural sights and sounds. "I totally geek out on Modern Art, so I'm often found in the Tate Modern or Hayward Gallery on the weekend. I also love exploring theatre, film, literature, and music – hip-hop and jazz especially. An ideal Saturday for me would be spent entirely on the Southbank. I do get frustrated at how the arts are becoming so expensive to experience; it's making them elitist by default."
When we asked Katie’s friends for some insight on her, here's what they said: “she has an excellent laugh, she endearingly and furiously rubs her hands when excited, she's a patient listener, and an impressive hugger.” Katie adds: "I'm also brash and occasionally overbearing, but my friends are too polite to say that."
We disagree with Katie (just this once), and we're on board with her friends. We know the Because family is going to get even bigger and better with her as one of our much-loved and charismatic leaders. We wanted to share more about our new MD, so we asked her our five essential get-to-know-you questions.
1. WHICH CAMPAIGN or role IN YOUR CAREER ARE YOU MOST PROUD TO HAVE WORKED ON?
I've delivered some epic campaigns in my time here. Millions of dollars' worth of content, global creative campaigns, and award-winning experiential. But I'm most proud of the ten years of government work. Specifically, the campaigns around detecting the early signs and symptoms of cancer and encouraging young people to register to vote. These were incredibly simple premise of conversation, nothing more complex than well-trained staff with pop-up stands. Yet, not only were the campaigns incredibly effective, but they also did meaningful work that made a positive contribution to society and directly saved lives. I can't ask for more than that.
2. WHICH PERSON, DEAD OR ALIVE, WOULD YOU LOVE TO HAVE DINNER WITH?
Holy shit, this is hard. I'd go with The Notorious RBG: Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I have a list as long as my arm for a fantasy dinner party, though. There are so many amazing and inspiring people I'd love to cut loose with.
Oh god, my latest is Back to Life on iPlayer, which is excellent. It's a comedy about a (very likeable) woman who is released back to her hometown after serving 20 years for murdering her best friend. It offers excellent writing and a brilliant performance from Daisy Haggard. Similarly, Man Like Mobeen is a fantastic British comedy series.
4. WHAT'S YOUR GO-TO DRINK? AND WHY?
I'm a not-so-secret lover of cocktails: Old Fashioneds, Negronis, French Martinis, Twinkles, and Manhattans are my go-tos. Or a long, refreshing Butler's G&T with a slice of orange. I'm a tad obsessed with glassware too.
5. NAME ONE THING ON YOUR BUCKET LIST.
I don't have a bucket list per se. I'm immensely privileged and have seen and done probably a lot more than I ever imagined I would. Saying that, there are two things I've always wanted to do. The first: a cattle drive. A couple of weeks on horseback under a big sky would be wonderful. Secondly, I'd like to visit a Dark Sky Park next year, which has been a desire for a while now.
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I'm an award-winning entrepreneur, a passionate business mentor, and I believe that great things can happen when we work together to help others.