Current age: 29
Where are you currently situated on the planet: Back in Durban, South Africa.
Last time we spoke with you, you were in Cape Town editing a magazine or was it Durban??…fill us in on what has happened since: Initially I started editing the HIP2B2 magazine in Durban, when it was being published by Atoll Media. HIP2B2 was a brand started by Mark Shuttleworth and its key ambition was to make STEM (Science, Technology, Entrepreneurship and Maths) appealing to the youth. As such, developing media platforms was integral to communicating just how important these subjects are and why it’s worth investing time and effort into them. When the publisher was changed to New Media Publishing in Cape Town, I was given the opportunity of becoming the Communications Manager of the brand, meaning that I would oversee all media teams (magazine, television show, web and mobile) as well as the PR agency and all brand activities and initiatives.
Your career has progressed, would you say that is went according to plan or you just went with the flow…was there any surprises on the way: Honestly, I never had a grand plan for my career. When I finished my Masters in English, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do, but knew that I wanted to use my skills in a way that was personally and financially rewarding. I have always loved writing, and editing came as a natural extension of this. The detail of exactly WHAT I was going to do wasn’t always clear. I first worked for myself in a freelance capacity, editing for various publishers and clients (e.g. an advertising agency). I then worked for a communications company, for which I compiled a newspaper for a big exhibition. I did everything – decided the content; interviewing; writing; editing; basic layout etc. That particular project was a big part of my being hired as the first editor of Mark Shuttleworth’s magazine, HIP2B2. Now, I am my own boss, and my business offers editing, predominantly to students. (FirstStep.me says: good stuff!)
Since we last spoke to you has there been any major or career highlights which have happened: Definitely. I resigned from HIP2B2 to go solo and start my own business, and moved back to Durban. (Great to be able to swim in a warm ocean that isn’t infested with Great White sharks!) Being your own boss really has its perks – in terms of having flexible time and in that the sky is the limit regarding how big to make or small to keep things. Initially, I was editing in my own capacity, but now am doing less and less editing and am subcontracting to other editors from PEG (the Professional Editors’ Group), playing more of a facilitative role with clients, and focusing on the business aspects (marketing etc.). While the business is still young and still has plenty to achieve, Pragmatics Support Services has grown tremendously and we now work with students in the UK, Australia and South Africa, with a view to tapping into the US university market at a later stage. I believe that the business makes a valuable contribution to students in helping to shape their written ideas, which is why it has been so positively received. It is naturally useful to international students and those who do not have English as their first language.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time and what will you being doing during time to get there: This business is a lifelong commitment, and in 5 year's time I anticipate permanent staff versus a satellite office (although the latter keeps operational costs down!). To get there will require hard work and developing strong relationships with key universities. Personally, I would like to have done the ‘Inca Trail’ in the next few years, as I have a strong desire to explore other cultures and have a keen interest in antiquities. (FirstStep.me says Inca Trail is super cool!)
What’s the plan for 2010, are you going to rock the boat and have a big year: Absolutely!
Okay as always serious questions take too much time…so let’s throw in some cool and chilled out ones:
How many countries have you travelled through in the last 5 years: Two – the United States and SA.
What is your favourite movie, website and book: I don’t really have a favourite website – I google things as they take my fancy. I am totally out of the loop with facebook, having lost my password and changed email address (the developers still haven’t helped me out; not that I was good at updating it anyway!). I have so many books that I love and reread. Latest favourites include Atonement, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, any vampire-type stories as well as the Harry Potter series (can’t wait for the next movie). I can’t think of any movie that I have absolutely adored, but I enjoy watching some of the older flicks from time to time.
If you could live on and have your very own planet, what would you name it: Oh my word, I haven’t a clue. My name is not cool enough to call it after me. (FirstStep.me says Planet Kate is cool, we like it!)
Do you have any role models past and present who inspire you:
I can’t think of anyone without giving a clichéd response (Nelson!). I admire people that succeed in the face of adversity. I admire people who can keep a smile on their face when it would make a lesser person cry. I admire people that are grateful for what they have, even when they only have a little. (FirstStep.me notes: Nelson as in Mandela, not the ex formula one race car driver Nelson Piquet!)
What message do you have for the youth of the world:
Follow your interests as they will shape your career. Recognise that you can do anything you want to, but that people are different and have different levels of ambition.
You can find out more about Kate's company on http://www.pragmatics.vze.com/
Dont forget to read Kate's previous interview on FirstStep.me!