Happy August! Hope everyone has been enjoying their summer, whether exploring new destinations, visiting family and friends, or keeping cool (especially in the UAE). This month, I am delighted to introduce our leading lady, who also happens to be my new boss. As you may have read, 2 months ago I took a brave step and said goodbye to my hotel career and joined Acorn Strategy which specializes in marketing and PR. So how did I meet Kate? I have heard of her through Abu Dhabi’s close knit community, but officially when she interviewed me – and I knew automatically that I had to be a part of her team. Kate has a diverse background of impressive experiences across the world, but what appealed to me most is her incredible personality.

The more I get to know her, I am fascinated at how she manages to run an award winning company, raise 3 children, and look freaking fabulous every single day! So, here is what she has to say! 🙂

Quick facts:

  • Name: Kate Midttun
  • Profession: Founder and Managing Director of Acorn Strategy
  • Favourite destination: Australia (of course!)
  • Horoscope sign: Virgo
  • Loves: My kids
  • Hates: People who complain

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. 
I’m an entrepreneur and love to help people to grow their own businesses, help them to achieve their dreams and do what they’ve always wanted to do.  I’m a mum of three kids who keep me busy and happy.  I’m originally from Australia, but have lived in Canada, UK and UAE over the last 14 years.

2. How do you handle difficult times in your life? 
I try to take difficult times in my stride.  I try to understand the learnings and take away the things that make me a stronger person.  I’m very process driven, so I need to understand and turn things in to a learning – both in personal and professional life.

3. What is your secret to achieving the right balance between your career, family, friends and doing what you really love?
I think the answer lies in the question, if you’re doing what you really love then it’s never a matter of making time, it happens naturally.  I’m a firm believer in having the right balance and not being overwhelmed by one activity.  So I switch off at 5pm and spend time with my kids, my weekend time is exactly that, I’m not on the phone or doing work.  Of course there’s always exceptions to that and it goes both ways.  Sometimes I’m at a kids performance in the middle of the day and I don’t try to hide it or make excuses, I work hard when I’m working and I am focussed on my kids when I’m at home.  When I do this, I enjoy what I’m doing and the focus means I’m not stressed and distracted.

4. What are your hobbies?
I’ve played tennis since I was 8 years old, so I keep that up and try to play at least once a week.  I enjoy music and time with friends and of course my husband.  I love to travel and explore new places, over the years the definition of that has changed, but the love of travel hasn’t.  But my favourite is always time with my family 😉 they help me appreciate a lot about life and we have so much fun together.

5. What are your tips for happiness?
If you love what you do, then you’ll find the right balance and the joy in what you do.  Work for the right people and keep challenging yourself, learning and being inspired.  Don’t rely on other people to be your source of happiness or to give you the career you think you deserve, you need to work for it on your own terms and seek out the right opportunities.

6. Who is your role model or someone you look up to?
My mum is definitely my biggest role model.  She’s an incredible woman who has achieved so much, done a lot for her family and is confident just being herself.  I really admire her strength and drive.  Although she’s not an entrepreneur by profession, she’s taught me a lot about finances and how to be successful in life and business.

7. What have been the most exciting milestones in your life?
I try to celebrate as much as possible 🙂  So there’s a lot to reflect on, not least my kids and their everyday surprises showing me what they know and what they’ve achieved.  Where we’re at with Acorn Strategy at the moment is a huge accomplishment and the milestones we’re reaching every few months whether that’s awards and recognition from the industry or helping our clients to take their next giant leap, it’s been a great journey and wonderful milestones keep on coming!

8. If you could change one thing in the world right now, what would it be?
I think being the change you want to see in the world is really important, not criticising other people or the world around you.  So for me, there’s a need for big change around equality in both race and gender as well as a reduction in our impact on the environment.  Raising awareness and helping entrepreneurs realise their own role in this in the Middle East and Australia is important to me.

I also wouldn’t mind changing the president of the united states of America, but I’m still trying to figure out how to influence that one 😉

9. There are still a lot of cultures and societies who frown upon successful women. Why do you think that is, and how can it change?
I think it comes down to context and the way they have been brought up and who they surround themselves with.  I think it’s important to listen to everyone’s views and understand where they’re coming from.  Through understanding and tolerance we’re able to develop more rounded views, but also plant the seed of change.  Likewise, boosting up women around me who are successful in their own right promotes change.  I don’t want a world filled with people who have exactly the same view as me, but I do think equality is important.

10. What advice can you offer for men and women, trying to balance a career, family and personal life?
When it comes to balance with family, find a partner who is your true equal, someone who wants your success more than they want their own and someone who truly respects the person you are.  And if you aren’t married, surround yourself by people who challenge you and support you equally.  More than anything, do what you love and do what you can to make a positive difference in the world.

Keep up to date with Acorn Strategy and contact us for any assistance with helping your business to grow!

Disclaimer: Thank you Kate for being a part of this post, you are a positive beacon for all women around the world, and I hope you continue to inspire us.