After sadly waving goodbye to Katy Murdoch, our previous WINS Glasgow Hub lead who relocated to Ireland at the start of the summer, we are very excited to announce that purpose-focused marketing expert Kirsty Innes has stepped up to take over. Read on to find out more!
1. Tell us a little bit about your background – how did you get to where you are now?
I ended up in marketing by accident really! When I left school I had a place at Strathclyde University to study Chemistry. At the last minute I got cold feet, as I really wasn’t sure Chemistry was what I wanted to do, so I deferred my place and went to live in France for a year as an au pair. I worked for Marie-Therese and Alain, both professional musicians, and looked after their 2 children. When I came back to Scotland it seemed a waste not to do something with French, so I transferred from the science faculty and came out with a joint degree in Marketing and French from Strathclyde Business School.
I have worked in the marketing industry ever since in various roles in both public and private sector, until in 2012 I set up my own independent consultancy business.
2. What has been your biggest success to date? What did you have to learn in order to accomplish this?
This is a really hard question! I loved my time working with Irvine Bay Regeneration Company from 2008 to 2017. I was part of a small team responsible for the economic regeneration of five towns in Ayrshire, attracting jobs and inward investment to the area. I headed up the branding and marketing activity, which was a key element in the area’s successful regeneration. Together with my colleagues we attracted more than £100 million of investment from the private sector; created 1,300 jobs during a recession; engaged with over 19,000 people at various events, and worked with 14,500 young people through a unique education programme, which was exemplified by the Scottish Government as best practice. It was a joy being part of such a dynamic and highly skilled team, each expert in our own area of expertise. I learned how much can be achieved when everyone is unified and motivated by the same purpose, and the ingredients to building a great, positive organisational culture.
3. What are your motivations for taking over from Katy Murdoch in leading the Women in Sustainability Network Glasgow Hub? What do you hope to achieve?
Katy did such a great job of creating a genuinely warm and supportive community in Glasgow, which I benefited from enormously. I always loved the events and enjoyed meeting other women who thought the same way as me, several of whom have turned into friends, associates and even clients. When I heard that Katy was re-locating to Ireland, I jumped at the chance to get more involved with the network. I hope to welcome more women to the Glasgow Hub, and continue to cultivate its open and collaborative feel.
We’re all trying to do the best we can, and by coming together, forming strong relationships, helping and learning from one another, we can compound the positive social impact we make.
4. You’ve recently made a conscious decision to really focus your work on purpose-led businesses. What inspired you to make this change?
2018 was a horrendous year for me, precipitated by 3 deaths in my family including my Dad. I was in a bit of a spin, and it was at that time I came to recognise that I had fallen out of love with marketing and, actually, didn’t like many of my clients at the time very much. All too often marketing is seen as a bolt-on; the gloss; the outgoing communication and promotion. I was tired of working with companies who saw the function of marketing as being about ‘selling more stuff’.
After a lot of personal development and self-care I began to understand that it was in my gift to attract the right kind of clients by being true to myself. Now, I do that for others, and work with purpose-led businesses, helping them to find their social purpose and articulate the impact they make. By building business around purpose, I help my clients to attract the right clients, employees and partners to them through shared values. By working together in this way, we compound the impact we make, and we do well by doing good. My work has never been more fulfilling. And of course much of the sustainability sector is in that social purpose ‘sweet spot’ and have compelling stories to tell.
5. What do you think is the biggest challenge right now to ‘women in sustainability’? What are you insights as to the best solutions for this?
For me, I think ‘women in sustainability’ share the same challenges as all women trying to make a difference in their chosen field. We suffer from crises in confidence, self-esteem issues such as ‘imposter syndrome’, comparison-itis, juggling work and home life, and not least menstrual cycles and menopause. I would love to play a small part bringing women in sustainability together so we can support one another to see and fulfil our potential; take control of our life trajectory and harness our full beauty and power. Working together we can make a bigger impact.
6. What keeps you motivated and positive when things get tough?
I am very fortunate to live in the beautiful countryside of Ayrshire. I enjoy few things better than going for a walk with my partner and fur babies, Bonnie and Kiri. For me staying motivated and positive is always about refusing to be swept up along by the crazy pace of everyday life, but rather intentionally slowing things down, regaining perspective and focusing on what’s important. For me, that’s my family, my relationships, my health, doing meaningful work and supporting others to do the same.
7. Tell us something surprising about you…
I very nearly studied music at the Royal School of Music & Drama as it was known then, now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Instead, music is still a huge part of my life, but as a hobby! I play the piano to relax, and sing with the Glasgow Chamber Choir.
Keep an eye on the WINS Glasgow Hub page as Kirsty develops a new programme of (online) events for this coming Autumn. If you’d like to help Kirsty in any way or would be interested in sponsoring the Hub, get in touch with us here.