Katie Martin, innocent drinks: Leading with openness and authenticity – Transcript

0:00:12 – Intro

Welcome to Genuine Humans, exploring the stories behind the great marketing leaders of our time and hearing how their journeys have influenced the brands they’ve built. 

Brought to you by The Social Element, here are our hosts Tamara Littleton, CEO and Founder, and Wendy Christie, Chief People Officer. 

0:00:46 – Tamara Littleton

Welcome back to the Genuine Humans podcast. I’m here with Wendy Christie, my co-host. Wendy, how are you doing? 

0:00:53 – Wendy Christie

Good, thank you. It’s a lovely crisp sunny day up here in Aberdeenshire, so I’ve got a smile on my face. How are you? 

0:01:00 – Tamara Littleton

Oh yeah, no, I’m the same nice and crisp here in sunny Walthamstow. Now, I’m very, very excited about our next guest because, actually, one of our missions on the podcast is to meet the people behind the brands, and I know that innocent is a brand that is held in such high regard in our industry. So, we are delighted to welcome the Genuine Human behind the brand, Katie Martin, Head of Marketing Excellence at innocent. 

Welcome, Katie; it’s a pleasure to have you on the podcast.

0:01:30 – Katie Martin

Thank you very much! What an introduction. I feel a big responsibility as the person behind the brand, but it’s very much a team effort. Really chuffed to be here, and thank you for having me. 

0:01:38 – Tamara Littleton

I know it’s always a team effort, and I think it’s that thing about some people like, say, Genuine Humans, but that’s the whole thing. It’s like we’re really keen to give people space to talk about their own stories. 

So, with that in mind, what I would love to know, Katie, is how did you get to where you are now? Do you want to give everyone a bit of a flavour of your early career? 

0:02:01 – Katie Martin


So, interestingly, my career actually started in events, and it started as a summer job during university. I kind of fell into a job every summer working in events, and I loved it, probably why I went back to it every summer. And actually, I was studying English Lit at university, which, as I may or may not be aware, is now a dying degree. I think the majority of people are sensibly choosing to go into STEM, but I loved English, and I didn’t really have that clear vocational “what do I want to do when I grow up” feeling so for me, getting that experience working in events every summer made me realise it was something I really enjoyed, something I was quite good at. I’m very, very organised, and I thought, great, I’m going to give this a bash, I’m going to see how it goes. 

I left university, I went travelling, took some time out, and I came back and started with a job, a job in events, working as a conference producer, which honestly, is one of the hardest jobs I have ever done, and I take my hat off to anyone who works in conference production. But it was during that time that I worked for a publishing company, and I produced a number of conferences on marketing and for different marketing publications. 

So, I learned a bit about marketing, and I thought, oh, this is interesting. So, I did the conference production for a while, and then I left and joined a consumer exhibitions company. So again, very much working in events still, but more in a marketing role. And again, I loved it very, very tough. 

I think it takes a certain amount of resilience and stamina to work in events, and honestly, I was very early in my career, and I think I really experienced burnout at a time when burnout probably wasn’t really a recognised thing. I think in the way it is now and how the mental health and wellness, you know, shift that we have experienced over the last few years has really kind of come to the forefront. 

But I think I really truly experienced burnout and ended up in the hospital and really thinking, gosh, I’m not sure events is really for me, I’m not really cut out for events, so that was a real kind of early realisation of my career. But what I did know is that I really loved marketing, and I also had a kind of niggly feeling in the back of my mind that there was more to life than events there was. You know, I wanted to make a difference and do something a bit different. 

And so, I spoke to a few recruitment agents, and I said, oh, FMCG, fast-moving consumer goods, that’s, that’s a nice area of marketing. And they said, yeah, good luck with that. You’ve not worked in FMCG, you will not be getting a job in FMCG. And I thought, well, interesting, that’s, that’s fine. That’s that, then. But during that time at that events company, I had a very dear friend who still to this day is a very close friend of mine. She’s from New Zealand, so forgive my highly dodgy accent, but every day for two years, she would say to me, “mate, you’re wasted here; you need to go and work for innocent”.

Tamara Littleton

Pretty good accent. 

Katie Martin

Thank you. I mean, she would probably disagree, but thank you. 

And I think there was something about her saying that to me and her belief in me that it almost became a bit of an affirmation, you know, and I think this affirmation sometimes turns into a belief, and then you change your behaviour, and I think, hearing her say that every day for two years and I think it was I still to this day don’t really know why she said it. I think it was partly she thought I would fit in and how right she clearly was.

But also, I think it was that sense of, you know, I had a real passion for copywriting, and at the time, I think innocent was writing a bit differently to how other brands did, and she kept saying, “Just rock up, just go knock on their door. You live just down the road, knock on their door and ask for a job.” And that made me honestly die a little bit on the inside I thought, “I’m not doing that, that’s not me.” But in the end, I plucked up the courage and sent in my CV to innocent, and I had a call from somebody in their people team who said thanks very much; love your experience, but there’s not really a role for you here at the minute, so we’ll keep your CV on file. And you know that was that. And I thought, oh well, that’s nice, that’s a polite no, you know, thanks, but no thanks.

But sure enough, three months later, they rang me back, and I remember it really clearly because I was actually working at one of my events, and they rang me back and said, look, a job’s come up, and we would love for you to interview for it. The recruiting manager has seen your CV and would love to meet you. So, I had an interview. I mean, the innocent interview process was extremely rigorous. I think I had about six hours of interviews. I mean, I cried, there were tears, not during the interview but afterwards, and I’ll talk about that a bit more later. 

But you know, I then got offered a job, and I joined innocent in the customer marketing team as it was then Shopper Marketing team as it is now working in our UK team. And honestly, I think in those days I thought, oh, you know, shopper marketing, customer marketing, I will use this as a foot in the door to get into brand, ultimately brand marketing, because, you know, really, let’s be honest, that’s a sexy side, right.

But, I then found I have this really unique and passionate, you know, really real passion for Shopper. I think it’s that beautifully placed intersection between commercial and marketing, and I loved it and I stayed in that role in that team, worked my way up through that team working on lots of different customers, managing different people, and after probably nearly five years of doing that I couldn’t quite see the obvious next step for me at innocent and I think you know we talk a lot at innocent about being in the driving seat for your career and I think I was quite unique in the fact that I really wanted to build a depth career in Shopper. You know I really loved that specialism. 

I didn’t really want to move into other functions and so I thought, right, if I’m going to keep developing, then I probably need to leave and go elsewhere. So, I left and went to a company called Bare Nibbles, who make fruit snacks, mainly for children, but a lot of adults love them too, and so I clearly have criteria of fruit in a company I work for, you know squashed, dried, whatever. I’ve clearly got a passion for fruit and veg. So, I went over to Bare to kind of set up their Shopper function. They didn’t really have one at the time, and they were tiny. There were probably about 20 to 25 people, and I had a team of about five different people who all were really early in their careers, all working in very different functions that I had no experience in. 

So, whether that was a bit of brand, a bit of events or Shopper, which obviously I did have a bit of experience in or customer service, and I think what I learned in that time was how I wanted to be as a leader and I recognize that kind of sense of you don’t need to know and understand the ins and outs of what your team do and how they do it. 

You can coach and support and lead. And it really taught me so much about myself and so much about the kind of leader I wanted to be. And sure enough, at that time, innocent had a restructure and created the Head of Shopper Marketing role in the UK, which wasn’t there when I left. So, I returned to innocent within a year, and so I’m a proud member of what we call the Boomerang Club people who’ve left and come back, and honestly, I think stepping up into that role, had I not left, had I not had that experience of managing those different people. So, staying in Shopper but having that experience of leading a team of many different functions, I think I wouldn’t have done the Head of Shopper role in the way that I did, and I think it really taught me a lot about myself, a lot about leadership, that leaving and then coming back and returning to innocent. 

0:10:10 – Tamara Littleton

It’s why people who have maybe more of an entrepreneurial approach, of like when you had that experience of being able to sort of see all of the different functions but, as you say, really sort of see how you want to lead things. But it’s such a great experience to sort of just take your head out of where you were and have a new experience. 

0:10:29 – Katie Martin

Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right, and I think I feel really blessed that I have that opportunity because I think many of us will just plough through and never really get a chance like that. So, yeah, I returned to innocent to the Head of Shopper Marketing role, which was a brand new role as well.

So obviously, I knew the team; I knew the history. I’d really kind of been involved in shaping how Shopper was at innocent, but to come back and head up the team really challenging role, and the first couple of years were quite rough and ready, I would say, and again, big, big, big learning curve. And I think the jump from being Shopper Marketing Manager to being that kind of head of / team leader role, as we call it in innocent, was much greater than I anticipated. But that kind of really steep two-year learning curve. I then really found my flow and I did that role probably for five or six years. During that time, I also became a parent, so I had a couple of years out for parental leave and to welcome my two strong, independent young women to the world. 

And then we were, I remember it at the back end of 2020, that delightful time when we were all experiencing the plague, and innocent had another restructure, and in that restructure – and I hope this isn’t a testament to how I did the Head of Shopper Marketing role – but in that restructure the Head of Shopper Marketing role was made redundant.

So suddenly, I found myself in this position where I didn’t know what the next step was. I had a very young family, we were coming out of the back of a pandemic, and I had a day of feeling incredibly upset, angry, in a real emotional rollercoaster, and then I thought, do you know, whatever happens, I’m going to learn something, and something positive will come from this situation.

But I think I also felt acutely aware that I was at that point in my career that I had such depth and specialism in one area that if I left innocent, it would need to be for another Shopper Marketing role. And on the other hand, I had been having great development conversations, development chats with my manager at the time, who was a chap called Nick, who is now our CEO actually, and we’ve been having some really good conversations about what the future looked like for me and had kind of set it on this space of somewhere between generalist marketing and people and when I talk about people I mean both people at the heart of a role, but also maybe something in the kind of HR, learning and development space partnering. 

But at the time, I remember we had these brilliant conversations, and we were really clear on where my future should be going, but there wasn’t really a role there that existed, and at the time, I didn’t know that marketing excellence was a thing.

And anyway, part of the reason that role was made redundant was because we’d had a restructure in the marketing community and that restructure was moving from being very much a collection of regional marketing teams to one European marketing community across Europe. And we also decided it was time to really introduce an innocent Framework for Growth, the kind of marketing philosophy, what we stood for, and a capability program alongside that to support it. And basically, there was a conversation that was along the lines of I think we need somebody to help embed this structure and this new way of working. And so, they said to me, look, can you help? But it’s a six-month contract. So, I remember being at this really pivotal point where it was due and I had offers externally to go and work in shop and marketing elsewhere.

So, did I leave and go and work in shop and marketing at another business, or did I stay, potentially just for six months, but to get a bit of a step in the right direction in terms of that generalist marketing/people at the heart type role?

And, of course, you know, spoiler warning. But I stayed, and here I am. And what was a six-month contract initially turned into a year contract, and then it turned into me stepping up to be the Head of Marketing Excellence, and I’ve now been doing that. It’s about three years now, and that’s where we are today. 

0:14:43 – Tamara Littleton

I see the lure of the fruit was too much. 

0:14:47 – Katie Martin

Yeah, the other opportunities were not squash fruit or dried fruit. So yeah, clearly, that’s it. 

0:14:52 – Tamara Littleton

That’s wonderful, thank you. 

0:14:54 – Wendy Christie

Yeah, thanks, Katie, and I’d love if you don’t mind, for us to go even further back. So, you started talking about from university onwards. Let’s go even further back and talk about what you were like as a child. 

0:15:07 – Katie Martin

So, I think there’s some important context that you need to know about my childhood, which is that I am the daughter of a fighter pilot. My father was in the Royal Air Force, and he flew Harriers, also known as Harrier Jump Jets. But anyway, that’s more about him. We’re here about me. So I was the daughter of a fighter pilot, and we moved every two years when I was a child, and we moved within the UK, we moved into Germany as well, and I think what that meant for me as a child is I was used to kind of up and leaving every few years, but also moving with a wider community that you know. 

People talk about the Royal Air Force family, and I think I did really feel that as you’d move around with families, you’d cross paths at different times, but I think what that meant is that as a young child, in those real kind of formative years, I shaped this ability to create quite deep connections for people quite quickly and quite deep friendships quite quickly. I think I was quite studious, I liked following the rules, and I still do today. I’m quite a geek, and I’m proud of that status. I am a people pleaser by nature, and I’d love to say I’m in recovery, but I’m really not. That is something that is going to stay with me. 

0:16:20 – Tamara Littleton

I feel your pain.

0:16:22 – Katie Martin

Thank you so much. I know I’m not alone, and I think, looking back, it’s really funny. My mum produced a load of school reports from when I was a child, and when I look back to, you know, my earliest years at school, my school reports say, and actually, they’re referring to me as Catherine. I was just aged six. I can’t remember being called Catherine, but Catherine walks into a room and expects everyone to be her friend, and I think that is still something that I live by, and it sounds naive, but honestly, I am, you know, went into my, my adulthood and it still is something that I stand by and live by. You know, you’re kind of my friend until you prove me wrong and it just for me it works. 

The other context that I think is worth noting is that I was, you know, one of the original versions of outsourcing. I was sent to boarding school when I was seven and I think that also in itself meant that I grew up very quickly. I was very independent, very young and kind of self-reliant, and I had my big brother there. You know, I was quite an annoying little sister, so the two of us were there, but you know, my parents would be in Germany, and we would be in the UK, and so I think I grew up quite quickly and became quite independent as well. 

0:17:35 – Wendy Christie

You said I think it was when you were at university that you didn’t really have a sense of what you wanted to do as a career. When you left and you discovered marketing a bit later, what about when you were little? Did you have any big ideas about what you wanted to be when you grew up? 

0:17:49 – Katie Martin

Yeah, so when I said I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I was actually really clear on what I wanted to do, but it wasn’t really a viable career because I always wanted to be an actor. 

0:17:58 – Wendy Christie


0:18:00 – Katie Martin

And I don’t think that ever changed. I think I was Mary and my first Nativity Play. At school I was often given the part of narrator. I think I had a clear voice. All my dad would tell you I was just quite loud and honestly. 

And I think also, you know, my parents really hoped that acting was a fad, but I really stuck by it and actually, honestly, it set me up so well that it paid for my sixth-form education because I was fortunate enough to receive a drama scholarship to a top school, and also the experiences I got from it. 

You know, I got to go on a touring production in California when I was 16. And I performed the Vagina Monologues at Leeds University, and you know theatre and Leeds, and you know it just was incredible. But I think for me, it’s partly why I loved events because there is a real parallel between theatre and events. You know, you’re working towards a kind of end goal, you’re working towards the live performance, and there’s the rehearsing, there’s the hard graft up until that, and then you kind of get to perform in a way. So, I think that’s probably whilst I didn’t quite get to be an actor, I think the events roles kind of satiated that need for me. 

0:19:16 – Wendy Christie

And often, you know, we don’t get to where we get to without the support of other people, other genuine humans. So are there people who, over the years, have given you that extra bit of support or have really influenced you in your career? 

0:19:31 – Katie Martin

I think this is a great question because we’ll all have those people you know, whether it’s a teacher or it’s a family member. But when I was thinking about this podcast and those people who have influenced me, I’ve chosen somebody who I think has had a huge impact on my career specifically, and that is Sarah Jane. SJ, who recruited me to innocent initially, so she wasn’t one who made me cry in the interview, but she recruited me to innocent and has always been such a coach to me over the years, and I think she was someone in my early career innocent that was a real cheerleader for me, you know, really in my corner, really had my back. 

And also, what I love about SJ is that she’s never shied away from the tough stuff. She is great at giving me the pointy feedback that I need to hear to help me develop and she’s always been somebody that I’ve really trusted, you know, and she now is a dear friend of mine. She’s a big part of our lives. She often comes to stay with us here. But the other thing that I think that makes SJ really unique and special and inspirational is actually she’s highly inclusive and always has been, I think, is a real kind of inclusivity pioneer in many ways. But I think also she’s a shining example of somebody who has built a career wall of such breadth. You know she has bricks in every different place. 

So, she has worked in commercial marketing, customer supply, supply, and she now heads up our people team. She is now our HR director at innocent. But she is really somebody who has just supported me over the years, and I remember when I was going through the redundancy process. She was somebody who, you know, I think occasionally I get quite emotional with SJ and just say, you know, you’ve had such a big impact on my life, you’ve had such a big impact on my career and thank you, and you are one of those people who I will look back and always just have a really special place for. But yeah, that would be the brilliant SJ Lovely. 

0:21:34 – Wendy Christie

Thank you, and how nice for her to hear that feedback from you as well. Often I don’t think we tell people, do we? So, yeah, that must be lovely for her. 

0:21:42 – Tamara Littleton

And I think what’s really powerful is how much of a purpose-led business innocent is, and I know that that’s something that’s really important to you personally and sounds like you know a big part of the reason that you have sort of gone, gone back and made it your home. Can you expand on what it means to work for a purpose-led business? 

0:22:04 – Katie Martin

 Yes, I mean, it’s a big question, isn’t it? I think what I love about innocent is that from day dot, we have been a purpose-led brand. When the founders set up our business, you know we had a vision and a purpose right from the start. That was all about getting more fruit and veg into people and, you know, to help them live well and die old. Basically, was the kind of original aspiration. 

And I think for me personally, purpose has always really mattered in my life, and I don’t know whether that’s something that stemmed from my childhood values, but I do remember a very significant and quite an acute shift actually in my mindset when I remember sitting in, I think I was at my mum’s house and it was Boxing Day 2004. And that really horrific tsunami hit and I remember watching it on the news and just from the comfort of my very privileged, very comfortable home and just thinking, gosh, I really need to do something to make a difference. You know, I can’t just sit here and let this stuff happen, and at that point, I started volunteering for Childline in the UK, a charity that actually I was really aware of from a child because I think at boarding school there were Childline posters posted up on the walls everywhere, and I went to some great boarding schools. It wasn’t a reflection of them, but you know I’m being aware of that charity. So, I volunteered for Childline, and I also decided to go and volunteer and the time out after university, I actually moved to Fiji and worked for Save the Children over there doing marketing and fundraising. That was actually a bit of doubling and marketing before I even kind of started my career, in a way. So that was kind of my personal journey with purpose. 

But then joining a business like innocent and seeing how they really live and breathe purpose and everything that we do. We have our core values, and we measure against those we recruit, against those and our, you know, everything we do. Does it get more fruit and veg into people? You know, it’s that kind of single-minded focus of “Are we trying to do something that helps people”? 

And I think also innocent are part of the B-Corp community, which, interestingly, again, on a personal note, you know B-Corp is a movement of businesses trying to use business as a force for goods and a force for change. And I remember when I was going through the redundancy process thinking, what am I looking for in another business and B-Corp being really high up there on the agenda just because of what it represents, what it stands for and how it thinks about you know,, people and planet as much as it does about being a sustainable, profitable business.

But I think you know that balance for me and kind of being the change that you want to see in the world and feeling like you’re part of a much bigger picture that is trying to use business as a force for good and generally leave things a little bit better than we find them, I think is a really powerful thing to be part of. 

0:25:03 – Tamara Littleton

And so, it’s really important that brands are continuing to push in this way, because so many have started to sort of pull away from purpose and also on the sort of wider area. I was at a dinner last night where we, some various agency leaders, talking about the fact that people are pulling back on DEI because of, you know, financial issues at the moment, and it’s it just feels it’s kind of refreshing and reassuring that there are brands like innocent that are still pushing forward with purpose because I think some people have pulled back a bit. 

It makes me very, very concerned for our industry. So, thank you on behalf of innocent, thank you. 

0:25:44 – Katie Martin

It’s really interesting just hearing you say that, actually, because sometimes I think we reflect in innocent that there are times where it feels like everyone’s jumping on the purpose bandwagon, which, you know, in a way, is great. But there’s also a point where we can’t just pay lip service to purpose. If you’re really going to do it, we really have to sign up for it, and I think sometimes that’s hard. Sometimes, you are trying to do a bit of good, and you’ll take a bit of flak for that. But I think you know I’m sad to hear that, that kind of perception that things are going backwards, and I hope that you know we can really don’t get me started on. You know how we need, what we need to do to keep this planet, you know, moving, but I think we can all play a little part to do our bit. 

0:26:26 – Tamara Littleton

Definitely. And let me just talk about leadership because you’ve talked about being very open and these great relationships that you’ve had with different people throughout your career. But what is one of the leadership traits that has served you well? 

0:26:44 – Katie Martin

I’m going to bucket it under the term authenticity, but I want to elaborate on that a bit more because I think it’s quite easy to say I’m an authentic leader. For me, that’s about, and you said, using the word yourself a minute ago, but about being open, and for me, it’s about being open in relation to my emotions. You know, I mentioned that I kind of shaped deep connections. I feel deeply, and interestingly, there’s a pattern in people who went to a boarding school that actually they’re unable to connect with their emotions, and I think I’ve almost bucked that trend. I’ve almost gone the opposite way and really kind of connect with my emotions, and often that presents in the workplace. I mean, I will cry in the workplace. I’ve already talked about it. 

I’ve what mentioned it twice on this podcast alone? 

But I remember my mum saying to me you know you mustn’t cry at work. And my mother-in-law says to me oh, you mustn’t cry in front of your children. And I was thinking, why not? I mean, I don’t just think it, I’m quite straight-talking, and I’ll say, why not? Why shouldn’t I cry? And why shouldn’t I cry at work? 

Because, for me, crying is an expression of my emotions. 

I cry when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I’m frustrated or angry. 

You know, it’s how I am open about how I’m feeling, and I think that my team used to tease me that I cry at the opening of an envelope. It doesn’t take much, but I do think that actually, by showing that vulnerability, by showing that authenticity and being open about that, you enable others to do the same. 

And actually I had some feedback from somebody who was my manager a few years ago I mean years ago now, probably eight years ago, and they said to me, you know, Katie, when you used to cry, I used to think it was such a weakness, and now I think it’s a real strength, and I think that just shows I’m not saying that I was, you know, an early adopter of emotional intelligence or, you know, mental health and well being, or and I also just want to be clear I do not spend all of my time at work crying, but I just think being open about how you’re feeling, being yourself and being able to express that in a way that is productive for you, I think it’s really important and something that in the workplace, so often we shy away from, what we hide. 

0:28:59 – Tamara Littleton

And thank you so much for talking about that, because I know that. You know, I’ve spoken to people who have felt that they’ve been held back in their career because they have had feedback saying they’re too emotional, and what that means is that they’ve, you know, cried at a meeting. And why shouldn’t you cry in a meeting? As you say, it can be to do with stress, it can be to do with happiness, it can be all sorts of things, but if we try and sort of squash that down, what does that say about us? And actually, I think it can lead to very intense and honest conversations when, when you are able to show those emotions. Yeah, I think that’s really important to talk about that. 

0:29:39 – Katie Martin

Yeah, thank you. I think just to build on that as well, surely it shows that you just really care as well. You know you really care, and I think what’s interesting to your point around if they are given that feedback around being emotional, if someone is to raise their voice or express their emotions in a different way, seemingly at times it’s more acceptable in the workplace, and I don’t understand, I have a bit of a bugbear about it, but why? You know, showing emotion in the form of crying or getting tearful is sometimes deemed to be a weakness or deemed to be a kind of a softer skill or, you know, a bit of a history on it in some way, whereas if it was, if it was portrayed in a different way. But I think whatever your go-to is, I think, just being open with that and expressing that and sharing that, because you’re so right, it just leads to those open and honest conversations and moves things forward, right? 

0:30:29 – Tamara Littleton

Yeah, absolutely, in a slightly different segue. We do a lot around leadership in a crisis because the sister company to the social element is Polpeo, the crisis simulation company, and a big part of what we talk about is psychological safety and having teams that do feel free to challenge and free to express emotion and sometimes that is actually crying in the middle of a crisis, but it’s a great sign of a high functioning team that is psychologically safe, where people can express their emotions. So, I think I feel like there’s a movement coming on. 

0:31:07 – Katie Martin

Well, we are nodding away in agreement. 

0:31:12 – Tamara Littleton

What advice would you give to marketing leaders who, perhaps earlier in their careers? 

0:31:19 – Katie Martin

I mean, it’s linked to what we’ve just discussed, but I think that it is fundamental just be yourself because I think there are times in my life, in my working life, where I have probably over-flexed my style the other way and, whilst it’s useful to flex your style in certain situations, if you do it too much for too long it’s not sustainable. 

And so, I think being yourself, and I think you know I’m a practitioner for colour insights and part of what I love about that is really understanding what makes people tick and celebrating difference and how we approach situations differently, and that diversity of thought is what shapes really strong teams alongside you know, psychological safety, as we just discussed, and that kind of foundational trust.

My husband and I are incredibly different people, but I think, as a result, we broaden each other’s horizons. You know, we support each other and kind of give each other perspective, and I think, you know, just really knowing who you are, being open about that and being able to celebrate, you know yourself and doing that, I think, can really set you up for success because you might not realize that you are broadening horizons to someone else, you know, and I think, yeah, it just promotes that kind of authentic leadership piece. Can I squeeze in the second one as well?

0:32:41 – Wendy Christie

Please do 

0:32:43 – Katie Martin

I think I mean there’s so much right, I would be here. I don’t know how long we’ve got, but I would be here well over the time that we’ve got. 

0:32:48 – Tamara Littleton

But also, I know, I know you were a mentor as well, so I know you’ve probably got several nuggets that you’d be really happy to share. 

0:32:54 – Katie Martin

Yeah, and I think you know the mentoring thing for me is a real kind of. Again, it goes down to purpose and paying it forward. Right, you know, having had the kind of support I’ve had over the years and how I can pay that forward. But I think this is something I will often say, and actually, it’s probably a nugget that came from my dad years and years ago. But is that classic? You know, build, don’t burn bridges. And it never fails me too; it never fails to surprise me, sorry, how the connections and the network I have and the people that I’ve met along the way, and, you know, always looking to keep the door open, not closed, and just really, I mean I work, you know I work in a very small industry and you know everyone, knows everyone and you just it can be so surprising how those relationships come back, and you cross paths with people again later in life. But I think one of the things you know, part of the reason I’m here is because the brilliant Ruth Fittock, who I know was featured in a podcast a little while ago, and Ruth and I crossed paths very early in our careers. She was at PopTarts, I was at innocent, and we were having a meeting about dot com. I think I was. 

I was leading some work at innocent in dot com, and they said, oh, can we have a little chat, and could you share some, you know, thoughts, tips, advice? 

So, we had a conversation, you know, at a cafe in Shepards Bush years ago, years ago, and then last year she put something on LinkedIn about somebody, you know, her background, that she wasn’t conventionally trained in marketing. In fact, her degree was in English literature and all this stuff, and I just wrote her a message on LinkedIn, a personal message, and just said, honestly, I read your post, and I could have written it myself, and it resonated hugely and if you ever want to have lunch or a coffee and chat marketing, I am all ears, I am here. And we met up, we had lunch, and now it was really interesting because having that connection and also realizing that as a life stage, we have children of almost exactly the same ages, and I think that kind of sheer empathy that we can have. But also, she’s really someone who builds me up, and you know we’ve really shaped this connection, and it’s somebody who, literally, we had a conversation years ago in a cafe about.com, and yet here we are now, and she’s a real kind of true, valuable support that I have in my life and she’s also the reason I’m here. 

So, thank you very much, Ruth. Yes, thank you very much, Ruth. 

0:35:14 – Wendy Christie

Thank you for that, Katie. So, we’re going to move on to the final section of the podcast now, where we get a bit well; I am going to use the word frivolous and a bit more personal. So, we’ll start with what’s your idea of a perfect weekend? 

0:35:29 – Katie Martin

So, I love the seaside. I think it’s my spiritual heartland. So, a perfect weekend for me would be spent with family and friends on the North Norfolk coast by the sea, ideally in winter. You know we started this podcast talking about the crisp day or experience in England today, and honestly, I think we do winter so well in England. You know, the pub lunches, the rosy cheeks, the crisp walks. You know, even the rain. I’m a weird person that I love winter, so it would be a winter seaside weekend with you know, fresh air, fish and chips, family, friends and merriment. 

0:36:07 – Wendy Christie

I really have a thing about walking along on a crisp, cold day with a bag of chips. It’s got to be outside, got it? Yeah, fish and chips outside. Okay, thank you. So, imagine a movie about your life. What would be the tagline on the poster? 

0:36:24 – Katie Martin

This is such a hard question to answer, do you know? I think it would be something along the lines of a tale of rosy cheeks, family friendship, and the pursuit of jolliness, and jolly is one of my favourite words. It’s the season to be jolly all the way around in my house and I think you know I try and find the jolly in each and every day. You know there’s always something. So I think it would be something broadly around that, but also very much with the kind of family and friends and my rosy cheeks, which are my kind of signature move, always have been. I blush like there’s no tomorrow. So that would be it. 

0:37:01 – Wendy Christie

I’d go and see that movie for sure. 

0:37:04 – Tamara Littleton

Thank you very much. So, what’s one of your bucket list travel destinations? 

0:37:10 – Katie Martin

So, in terms of somewhere I’ve not been before, south Africa is definitely up there. I’ve got a lot of family and friends who’ve been and are very smug that they’ve been. You know kind of. You know, anyone I’ve met who’s been there just raves about it, and I’ve got family there and I’d love to go South Africa, but also somewhere I’ve been before, so it’s less of a bucket list. But I’d really love to go back to Fiji and see my friends who still live there that I worked with all those years ago. You know Tamara, who was my boss in Fiji. She and I exchanged messages recently where England beat Fiji in the rugby, and I was so torn, but I sent her a message, and she replied straight away, even though it was 5 am in Fiji, and I’d love to take my family to see. You know, because they never actually, even though my husband and I were together, there was a coup in Fiji, we had to leave so he couldn’t come and see it with me, and I’d love to take them back to see Fiji. 

0:38:04 – Tamara Littleton

That can be a boomerang bucket list. How would you fare in a zombie apocalypse? 

0:38:11 – Katie Martin

I love this question. I’ve heard you answer it before, and I am honestly. I’d like to think I’d be quite practical and quite calm in a zombie apocalypse, but I would like to say that I would charm them with jolliness I. There’s a film on Disney called Zombies, which is basically, I don’t know if you’ve seen it, no, no, no, it’s basically high school musical meets zombie apocalypse with an underlying I haven’t seen it, and it’s basically. 

It’s got a great soundtrack, and it’s got this really underlying message about diversity and inclusion, and it’s brilliant. So I will be taking all of my tips from Disney’s zombies, but honestly, I don’t. I don’t know if I’d actually fare that well, therefore, in a zombie apocalypse, but anyway, I’ll do my best. 

0:38:56 – Tamara Littleton

I think this is going back to the sort of acting that you’re basically going to put on a zombie musical. 

0:39:01 – Wendy Christie

There we go, absolutely. How would your friends describe you? 

0:39:05 – Katie Martin

I think they would sound quite straight-talking and very thoughtful. I mean, jolly would probably feature in there too, and maybe rosie cheeks would feature in there too as well. But I think one word that comes up that I find quite surprising to an extent is maternal, and that is a word that my friends would use to describe me before I had children as well. I thought you were going to say, but not after. Thankfully, I think they still do. But yeah, one of my oldest friends, her mum, died when we were at school, and I think I kind of stepped into a role, not consciously, but it’s something she said to me, and actually, interestingly, I think I’m the same in the workplace. I had a chap who was in my team for years, and he used to say to me Katie, you are the mother without a child; you just need to look after people. So yeah, I think maternal is probably one as well that comes up a lot. 

0:39:58 – Tamara Littleton

And food. Let’s talk about food. What’s your favourite restaurant or food experience? 

0:40:04 – Katie Martin

 So, I have slightly annoying dietary requirements for health reasons, so ideally, I’d go somewhere that accommodates them without me having to be that really high-maintenance person that says oh no, I’m a pescatarian and gluten-free, but I love sushi as long as it’s got gluten-free soy sauce or a really good curry. And I think curry, for me, is just that kind of sharing everybody tucking in. You know, and I don’t. I’m not sure where the curry is or what kind of cuisine, but I just love curry and spices, and I also love cooking curries. 

0:40:37 – Tamara Littleton

Fantastic Karaoke. Obviously, the last karaoke question Do you like karaoke? Do you have a go-to song? 

0:40:47 – Katie Martin

Material Girl by Madonna every time. 

0:40:50 – Tamara Littleton

I love that you didn’t even answer yes or no. You like it. Yeah, straight in Material Girl. 

0:40:56 – Katie Martin

Yeah, I sang it in a talent competition when I was about 10. And I think it’s always just served me well ever since. 

0:41:01 – Tamara Littleton

Fantastic, I love that. Okay, well, I know that we’re going to be organising a karaoke party at some point in next year, so you’re on the list. 

0:41:10 – Katie Martin

I mean, I’ll just blush a lot at the same time, but I’ll be there. 

0:41:14 – Tamara Littleton

Katie, thank you so much. We’ve covered. We’ve covered a lot today, and it’s been such a pleasure to have you on the podcast. Is there anything that we haven’t covered that you’d like to talk about, or do you have any closing thoughts for us? 

0:41:28 – Katie Martin

I think the only kind of thought I have. I love, and I’ve said this to you before, I know, but I love the fact the podcast is called Genuine Humans, and I think the kind of parting thought that is something that I just live by. You know, never underestimate the power of humanity, and I think, more and more, as we move more into a world of digital AI, you know, hybrid working, remote working. I just think that kind of those random acts of kindness and those little gestures and big gestures that, you know, human beings can make for each other, with each other. You know, I think, never underestimate the power of that and I think we can all do our bit in being those genuine humans that make that happen. Thank you.