Katie Wright is Editorial and Research Director for public policy publishers, Neil Stewart Associates, and was a contestant in the 2012 series of the BBC programme, The Apprentice.
Questions and Answers
What’s the most valuable lesson you have learned, and who do you have to thank for it?
The most valuable lessons came from my father; he has always been firm but fair in business and life. It is so important to make decisions based on rationale and thought.
If you could talk to your younger self, what advice would you give them?
I would not give any advice to a younger ‘me’. Mistakes are what allow us to grow. My eagerness to succeed and fear of failure got me where I am today.
What is the single thing you still most need to learn?
I am a very controlled person. This means I am always learning and looking for ways to perfect the ways in which I work.
I need to learn to be less insecure – my inability to see beyond the highlights of my fellow candidates CVs left me in a vulnerable position on The Apprentice. This failure can be replicated in my professional and personal life. It is important to be competitive and it is important to look to other people strengths for ways to improve but this should never be at the cost of happiness.
It has been said before that ambition can be a massive handicap in life.
What do you hope your legacy will be?
I hope my apprentice legacy will be that I approached the process as a ‘human’; I had weaknesses, insecurities and moments of utter embarrassment.
I want my legacy in life to really be judged by those around me. Despite my career ambitions, I am a very grounded person in my personal life. I married the man I started dating at 18, have the same friends since the age of 13 and call my parents at least once a day!
Money only brings a certain degree of happiness; instead I am looking to add integrity to everything I do. One of the reasons I was attracted to the workings of the public sector was the complimentary way in which our altruistic self can work with (and not against) egoist tendencies.
What is the most surprising thing you’ve ever discovered about yourself?
In recent years I have learnt how eager I truly am to please people. This can be a strength and a weakness but I am working on managing expectations.
What one thing do you think every organisation would most benefit from doing, or doing differently?
For me, too many organisations refuse to operate a meritocracy. Apprentice candidates are perfect examples that meritocracy can harness ambition and provide opportunities for growth above and beyond company culture and bureaucracies.
What is your worst habit?
Judging myself against others.