Capgemini New Zealand's Kate Phillips is a people leader

 October 24, 2022

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Capgemini celebrates transformational leaders with a series of stories sharing insights and experiences from inspiring women within the business, and from the Women in Rugby program it supports.

In this deeply personal story Kate Phillips, Practice Director in New Zealand, shares the impact a breast cancer diagnosis had on her work outlook, how it transformed her leadership style and quotes the Maori mantra that helps her move forward with confidence.

"People will say you're so brave, but being brave is a choice I didn't choose to have that happen to me," says Kate.

Owning the problem and getting the work done 

Kate was diagnosed with breast cancer 10 years ago, and when her hair began to fall out, she wore a beret to meetings with colleagues. 

"When I was really poorly they would actually come around to my house, and I'd wear the Beret and we'd get work done from my little apartment in London. I don't know where I got that sort of thought or strength from, but I guess that's a little symbol that every time I put there beret on, the game face would go on, and I'd just had to sort of own it and get the work done," explains Kate. 

Offering empathy for clients, team members and family 

Kate is mindful that you don't know what's going on in someone's day. "So I guess I'm more empathetic for what other people are going through - clients, team members, family that sort of thing."

"I always try and be a people leader and understand the person, and understand the whole person, and it can take a lot of time to get to know people in that way. But that's how you build that trust, and the camaraderie with the team to help watch them grow and develop," says Kate. 

"I do have a little thing that I say in my head, and it's a Maori proverb. I say 'manawanui', which is, 'be strong, be brave, be steadfast, or be confident.' I just say it in my head and if you say it enough you will believe it."

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