Supporting staff through unprecedented times, making a difference to others’ working lives and fitting in family life with a boisterous puppy – it’s all part of a day’s work for Shepherd Neame’s Head of People.
As part of Britain’s Oldest Brewer’s celebration of International Women’s Day, we asked Kate about her rewarding career and life both in and out of the hospitality business.
Name: Kate Ware
Role: Head of People
Based in: Faversham
Tell us about your career to date.
My first Saturday job was in the restaurant at the Sutton branch of BHS, cooking and eventually running shifts as a Supervisor. I stayed for around eight years, continuing to work there during my breaks during university – I studied Sports Science (Psychology) and IT at Canterbury Christ Church. I then started working in customer services with a mortgage company. This wasn’t for me, so in a moment of fate I took a job working with Scottish & Newcastle Retail (now Greene King) as a Personnel Officer. I held various roles in Personnel/HR and Training, progressing to National Training Manager, but was made redundant after 10 years when the business sold to Spirit group, and I also had my first son in 2003. I then worked for four Mercedes Benz dealerships in Surrey/West Sussex as the HR manager before again getting made redundant as I was having my second son in 2006! After a career gap, while having my third son in 2007, and completing some interim work for six years, I went on to work for a couple of care home businesses, Virgin Active (twice), Fullers Smith and Turner (more pubs!) and MOTO Hospitality.
What attracted you to working at Shepherd Neame?
I love the sector - most of my roles have been in hospitality and leisure. I also love the heritage of Shepherd Neame and am passionate about people, so it was the perfect match!
What qualifications and personal characteristics do you need for your role?
A sense of humour is essential. I like to be able to sleep at night, so it is important to have a sound moral compass with clear sight of what’s fair and reasonable. In terms of technical skills I completed my CIPD qualifications (Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development) when I was with Scottish & Newcastle Retail but continue with my CPD via conferences and network groups to keep abreast of the latest developments within our world.
What does a typical day involve?
It is great for me that no two days are the same. It really can vary from time in pubs meeting teams, board meetings, interviews, policy reviews, coaching, network events and team reviews. There’s never a moment to be bored or without purpose.
What is most rewarding about your job?
Being part of a great team of people professionals and collectively making a difference to our teams.
And what is tough about your job?
Having tough conversations – never great but sometimes they have to be done.
What do you consider your biggest professional success in your career so far?
Working with three businesses throughout the COVID pandemic to help and support the teams and the business in unprecedented times. It has been the most challenging of circumstances, with no rule books and constantly changing government guidance, but I have been lucky to work with people who have shown amazing resilience and determination. I really hope we are nearly out the other side now as it has been tough, but I would not have swapped my experiences during this period with the teams at Fuller’s, MOTO and now here at Shepherd Neame for anything.
What are your hobbies and interests outside work?
Walking with Wally – my 11-month-old Labrador – running (also with Wally), watching my three teenage sons play sport (cricket, rugby and football) and spending time in our very social village with friends, in the cricket club or micro brewery at our local farm.
To find out more about other roles with Shepherd Neame visit https://www.shepherdneame.co.uk/careers