As the RVP of AIA Worldwide, Kathryn knows the key to problem solving is communication. “I haven’t come across a problem yet that can’t be solved by talking things through.” On her career path, she’s faced plenty of challenges, but Kathryn says they’ve made her a stronger person.
“What I’ve realized is that it’s the toughest situations that you learn the most from. Yes, it’s difficult at the time — but coming out the other side and seeing what you’ve achieved, that’s when you realize how far you’ve grown.”
Kathryn began her account services career path prior to joining AIA. Her journey started as an Account Executive then progressed to Account Manager and Account Director. And though her role has evolved over the years, the elements she learned in her early roles are still the ones she loves today. “I started off doing a copywriting/account handling hybrid role in a small agency. That’s when I discovered what I love doing. I enjoyed meeting clients, understanding their needs and then turning that into a piece of work that they loved.”
At AIA, Kathryn believes the Account Executive and Account Manager roles to be fundamental. “The skills you learn in these roles will carry you forward for the rest of your career, from liaising with clients and suppliers and understanding the fundamentals of what the company does, to working as part of a cross-functional team and people management.”
Kathryn joined AIA in 2008 as a Client Partner and has since advanced to Client Services Director and now RVP of our U.K. office. Each of these roles has taught her invaluable skills that have equipped her for each new chapter.
Take every opportunity that is thrown at you and learn from your mistakes. Be brave — have the difficult conversations, push for the best work – make yourself proud. – Kathryn Kempster, TMPer since 2008
“The Client Partner role is akin to running your own business – you are responsible for team management, budget setting, senior client relationships, securing and retaining business, being a thought leader – the list goes on. The multitudinous nature of the role meant that I genuinely learned something every single day.”
Kathryn attributes her work ethic and the support of her team to helping her advance within the organization. “I’ve mastered my skills by listening and observing, being brave and putting in the preparation.”
Throughout her time at AIA, Kathryn has been a part of many projects that she is proud of. “It’s difficult to choose just one. That said, leading a global retail giant’s TalentBrew project of 71 instances in 35 languages, all delivered in just a few months, was pretty amazing.”
It hasn’t always been easy, but Kathryn knows her hard work has led to more opportunities. She advises new hires to be open-minded and push themselves to do their best work.
“Take every opportunity that comes your way and learn from your mistakes. Be brave – have the tough conversations with clients, push for the best work – make yourself proud.”
In addition to winning client work, Kathryn’s role requires her to deploy effective relationship management and leadership. “I'm proud of how I’ve helped our clients– taking difficult situations and turning them into positives. I also enjoy seeing people I’ve recruited go from strength to strength in their career.”
Kathryn counts her colleagues as a major part of her success. She knows that everyone she’s worked with, and the experience they bring, has played a part in the journey. “I’ve observed how others handle situations, and I’ve taken their advice. At AIA, you're always part of a team – take advantage of that because we're all in it together.”