As Marie Claire launches Women in Tech week, we speak to Kate Beaumont – the Innovation, Technology and Services Director at Samsung UK & Ireland. Here she gives us some insight into what it's like to be a woman leading the way in tech innovation
It's Women in Tech week at Marie Claire. Marking International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11, all this week we’ll be sharing stories from the groundbreaking women changing the face of the STEM industries. Next up is Kate Beaumont: Innovation, Technology and Services Director at Samsung UK & Ireland. Responsible for spearheading major device launches for the company, she's now turning her attention to driving Samsung forward in 5G technology. As she leads the way in introducing meaningful innovation to make consumer's lives easier, we spoke to Kate about imposter syndrome, The Greatest Showman tunes and taking your place at the table in a male-dominated industry.
Over to Kate...
Talk us through your journey…
I love to learn and have always been curious, so I’ve worked in really different industries. I started in insurance, before moving to magazines, then retail and finally ending up in telecoms – it’s been like walking through a maze! I came to Samsung in 2015, beginning in product management and then moving into innovation. Product and service is definitely my best love so far.
What does a typical working day entail?
At the moment we’re working on some key projects, so we might be having meetings to check in on a new product we’re launching within the next month. We’re also working on amplifying the message around 5G, and I’m managing the technical team who are bringing it to life. We’re at the beginning of the discussion around 5G technology, so we need propositions that will make customers go, ‘Wow, I really need to get into that’.
What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Well, excluding Joan Collins ‘never put your face in the sun’, one of my personal mottos is ‘what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’. It sounds extreme, but what I really mean is that you’ll go through difficult times and make mistakes, and the best thing you can do is consider how you can learn from them to make sure they don’t happen again. These times shouldn’t be viewed as failures, but things we can build upon to go from strength to strength.
What has been your proudest moment?
To be honest, launching the Samsung Galaxy Z Flip. I’ve never been more proud of any product that we’ve launched. I also did the launch event for one of the Note devices – it was really exciting to be on stage and representing Samsung.
What is your mantra?
Something that really resonated with me was the song ‘This Is Me’ from The Greatest Showman. Lots of people suffer from imposter syndrome, but it can hit women in a male dominated industry particularly hard. What I love about that song is that it’s saying, ‘Well, this is who I am - and I’m actually really proud of who I am and what I’m doing even if you think it’s different or not right.’
How can we all ask for more?
When I started out in insurance in the 1990s - it doesn’t get any more male dominated than that - I found a way to adapt and develop my voice, but in doing so I had to skew a little bit more male in my behaviour. It’s different now in that we have a lot of young women moving into the tech space, but we still have this basic programming inside that’s telling us, ‘I shouldn’t have a voice at the table’. We need mentoring and coaching available across all industries to create an environment where women can be women, but still have a voice. As women, we have an individual responsibility to support these mechanisms to ensure that change happens.
What is one thing you would change for women if you could?
From a business perspective, it would be that stop thinking of ourselves as women and just see ourselves as people. There’s an overarching feeling of self-consciousness - whether it be in the meeting room or in decision-making environments. We need to be able to cast that aside and just trust ourselves in doing what we need to do.
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Niamh McCollum is Features Assistant at Marie Claire UK, and specialises in entertainment, female empowerment, mental health, social development and careers. Tackling both news and features, she's covered everything from the rise of feminist audio porn platforms to the latest campaigns protecting human rights.
Niamh has also contributed to our Women Who Win series by interviewing ridiculously inspiring females, including forensic scientist Ruth Morgan, Labour MP Stella Creasy and ITV’s former Home Affairs Editor Jennifer Nadel.
Niamh studied Law in Trinity College Dublin. It was after enrolling in a Law & Literature class on her year abroad in Toronto that her love of writing was reignited. In no particular order, her big likes are Caleb Followill, hoops, red wine, sea swimming, shakshuka and long train journeys.
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