Leading Queensland businesswoman Kate Middleton knows all about challenges. In between medical challenges and personal potential setbacks, the feisty, focused 35-year-old go-getter, built an enviable portfolio of business achievements, which she has continued to add to after learning to walk and talk again, a legacy of her illness.
It’s been a whirlwind journey for the Brisbane entrepreneur, particularly over the past few years.
Last year Kate earned the distinction of being the only female CEO of a major player in the Australian Insurance Adjusting and Engineering industry, Censeo, at the time an embattled structural engineering and building consultancy firm.
Already the founder and CEO of Career Oracle, an employment services start-up, Kate took the reins of Censeo, securing investor backing and instigating a management buyout in June 2016, becoming its CEO and major shareholder, positioning herself as a formidable female trailblazer #SheInspires.
When Kate established Career Oracle in 2014 it was with a goal to help woman, and all ambitious job seekers to land promotions and pay rises- through online resume writing and career consulting services.
Kate has accepted that because of Dystonia she had to reduce her daily working hours and effectively do her CEO job part-time.
Despite this, Kate admits she has “never been stronger”
“It was when I accepted that Dystonia was part of my life that I was able to move forward and start rebuilding my career and sense of self,” said Kate.
“I decided that I wanted to be an encouragement to people that have suffered; whether that is emotionally, physically or economically.
“Even if you do have limitations – there will always be elements of your life that you have complete control over. I am evidence of that – if you choose to, you can create success but you have to be resilient enough, focused enough and brave enough to build upon your unique capabilities, deliver results and stop focusing on the parts of life that aren’t great.
“If you want to be a CEO by the age of 35 you have to hustle and you have to learn to get out of your own way.
This resilience, which defines Kate, began very early and as a result of that birthmark which covered her right eye. It was removed surgically when she was 16.
“I was deeply sensitive when I was young and always cared a little too much about what people thought of me,” said Kate.
“Up until recently this has continued to be my biggest area for improvement.
“It’s interesting because sometimes people give themselves labels; while I knew I didn’t really fit in at school- I have also always known that I was clever and have some very natural capabilities.
“So despite my fears and sensitivities, I have always given things a go. Deep down, I knew I could be a success and dreamed of big things.
I wasn’t going to let other people’s cruelty and negative labels define me.”
SheBrisbane asked Kate what advice she would give to aspiring young women creatives living in Brisbane and she answered:
“Even if you’re a creative you still need to understand your worth and commercialise your product. The best way for creatives to do so – given you know there is often times a bit of a gap between creative contracts – it’s really important that you leverage your time as much as they can. So get on to as many of those online marketplaces as they can – like Viva, Upwork and freelancer – set their price, don’t be afraid to come down and compete with some of the cheaper alternatives overseas even if they’re one of the more expensive freelancers on the sites, people will be willing to pay for good quality local work. And then that can act as a baseline and a substitute for more frequent pay while they’re waiting to get larger creative contacts.”
Q: What are your favourite Brisbane cafe’s you like to visit when you are craving your morning coffee?
Oh this is easy! My number one is Plum Tucker on Enoggera Terrace in Red Hill. I go there almost every day for my coffee and my green smoothie. Second favourite is the Paddington Deli and Rotisserie on La Trobe Terrace. They do really great, strong European coffee, so that’s usually my Saturday morning kick-starter – particularly if I’ve had a few cheeky vinos the night beforehand.
Q: Summarise Brisbane in 3 words
Liveable, underrated, gorgeous.