Kate Beaumont: ‘I had to put on a masculine demeanour to develop a voice at the table, and that needs to change’

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  • Next in our Women Who Win series is Kate Beaumont, the Innovation, Technology and Services Director at Samsung UK & Ireland. Here she gives us some insight into what its like to be a lady leading the way in tech innovation

    Most of us don’t know where we’d be without our smartphone. They entertain us, navigate us, connect us to our loved ones, store some of our most precious memories… hell, they even speak to us. At this point we almost rely on our phones as much as we would a best friend, but how many of us actually know what goes on behind the scenes in creating one? Kate Beaumont does. As the Innovation, Technology and Services Director at Samsung UK & Ireland, Kate has spearheaded several device launches, such as the Galaxy Note 10+ and Galaxy S10 5G. Now driving Samsung forward in the race for 5G, Kate is leading the way in introducing meaningful innovation to make consumers lives easier, and she is certainly one to watch.

    Back and in partnership with fashion designer Ashley Williams, Samsung has launched its latest limited edition folding handset – The Galaxy Z Flip – accompanied by a retro micro bag to create the perfect blend of practicality and style.

    Our Women Who Win interview series celebrates strong and inspirational female trailblazers, shaping the future for us all, and Kate Beaumont and her eye for tech innovation is that in a nutshell.

    Niamh McCollum sat down with Kate at the launch of the Galaxy Z Flip, to talk about life at the cutting edge of product design and what we can do to hear more female voices at the top table of tech…

    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, right now launching this device (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. 

    The Samsung Galaxy Z Flip is available to purchase online and in-store now.

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