Kat Hartigan is the VP of Enterprise for EMEA at WeWork.
Kat is responsible for driving the sales strategy and go-to-market execution across WeWork’s EMEA region, to meet the global demand for WeWork office space. From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, WeWork provides its global members with the physical and virtual offerings to succeed, and recently passed a key milestone welcoming its 100,000th member to WeWork Europe.
Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role
Originally from Sydney, I moved to London for a university exchange and, like many Australians, fell in love with Europe and never left! I have a background in hospitality and entertainment, having run brand and commercial partnerships at Soho House & Co. for 8 years. This led me to take a role as Partnerships Director at WeWork, building out the business services offering for small to medium businesses across EMEA. I’ve always been driven and focused on my career, in addition to charitable work in Africa.
Did you ever sit down and plan your career?
I never knew what I wanted to ‘be’ growing up but was fascinated by human behaviour so enrolled in psychology. Halfway through my degree I developed a passion for behavioural neuroscience, which ended up being the topic of my dissertation. Post enrolment, I was still unsure of my direction so I re-joined Soho House & Co. in London leading international recruitment which quickly led to a career in partnerships. Looking back I’m happy to have had a less clear, somewhat zig zag, career path – it proves that with hard work you can get to your destination in the end!
Have you faced any challenges along the way?
So many challenges! Not having a clear direction meant a lot of uncertainty and insecurity. However, with hindsight, this ambiguity forced me to develop a thick skin and showed me that with trust, determination and grit you can succeed.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I would have to say my career – I’ve invested a lot of time in my career, and this is what ultimately led me to find WeWork – a business that really empowers people to recognise their true potential.
What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?
Tenacity – a relentless ambition to achieve personal success. I’ve also been fortunate to have had a handful of champions in my current and previous places of work which has helped me to thrive and grow.
How do you feel about mentoring? Have you mentored anyone or are you someone’s mentee?
I’m mentored by several amazing women who are in executive corporate roles or run their own businesses. I also mentor several women in and out of WeWork and see it as a pleasure and responsibility to cascade down learnings and experiences obtained throughout one’s career.
If you could change one thing to accelerate the future of work, what would it be?
I view the relationship between real estate and HR in an organisation as pivotal to facilitating improvements in the workplace. They often operate separately, however this alignment is fundamental to attracting the right talent, improving employee experience and increasing productivity.
If you could give one piece of advice to your younger self what would it be?
To always go above and beyond and foster close working relationships, both in an out of your organisation. You need several mentors, coaches and champions to accelerate growth – you’re not in it alone!
What is your next challenge and what are you hoping to achieve in the future?
I have just taken on a VP role at WeWork so my focus for the coming 12+ months is to challenge myself and develop a new leadership muscle. I’ve also recently joined a community called ‘The Revenue Collective’, which is a group of sales and marketing executives. I see this as a vehicle allowing me to zoom out and adopt best practice across various businesses in the UK and across Europe.
How do you think people’s professional lives are changing?
The world is moving towards an inherently flexible model where work and life are interchangeable. It’s therefore essential for workplaces to move in this direction, engaging employees outside of physical space.
What is the biggest challenge you see facing other businesses day to day?
Talent. Attracting, retaining and engaging. In my view, the war on talent has really only just begun and organisations are going to have to continually ideate and iterate to have the most productive and innovative workforce.
What do you think will have the biggest positive impact on the workplace in the next five years?
Space and experience – this is fundamental to fostering creativity and collaboration between teams and leads to higher collaboration and ultimately output.