founder of naked leader
Time to read: 4 minutes
This month’s Leader Feature – Clive talks to an inspirational young woman, Katie Walker. Katie won the Prince’s Trust Young Achiever of the Year title at the Pride of Britain Awards. Here’s Clive Barrett’s interview with Katie:
KATIE Walker was “shaking” when she went to click ‘send’ on social media and tell the story of the horrific domestic abuse she suffered in 2011.
Not many people having every bone in their face broken could rise up from such depression and anxiety to share their experiences for the benefit of others.
That is exactly what Katie did having started her own hair and beauty salon in 2013 and deciding to live her dream and not let a former boyfriend dictate her destiny.
Her learning point for others is that a positive attitude can see you through adversity and beyond, regardless of how utterly debilitating life can seem.
‘My parents brought me up to know that sometimes bad things happen in life and you just have to get on with it,’ says Katie.
‘My passion for my job meant I was determined to open my own salon. I had worked in good ones and bad ones and learned a lot about how I wanted my business to be. Of course it’s been hard work but being attacked and what I went through has enabled be to deal with things better and not get too stressed.’
Katie made those around her aware of her story, including friends and colleagues who knew nothing of her background, by sharing her awful suffering on the internet. The response was immediate.
‘I had so many people who had suffered a similar situation come in and share their stories and I was able to give advice to them,’ she says. ‘I realised my aim was to make other people feel good.’
In 2017, the inspirational 33-year-old won the Prince’s Trust Young Achiever title at the Pride of Britain Awards. It was a tremendous honour for her and one that made her incredibly proud – and drove her on to achieve more.
Her salon in the Walton area of Liverpool will shortly have two of the three floors converted into a domestic abuse centre and she is fundraising for the transformation. The charity will be named Katiecares, where people can come to seek help via a confidence building course.
‘It’s all about helping women to realise their self-worth,’ says Katie. ‘There will be pampering and counselling, relaxing therapy and scar removal. I have a team of five girls who have been with me for two years and know exactly how I want the salon run so now I can devote some time to this new venture. I want to help people who have been through or are going through what I did and help them overcome the difficulties.’
Starting a charity is typical of Katie’s determination to make a difference.
She used to suffer panic attacks and understandably thought the business was the only thing that mattered.
Now she has learned to relax and strike a healthy life/work balance.
“I used to think the business was everything and even if the smallest thing went wrong, it felt like it was huge,’ she says. ‘I had a lot of self-doubt and I used to over-think things too much. Now I can deal with things better and like to give an equal amount of attention to every part of my life, not just the business.’
Her tip for like-minded business people concerns a mindset and she credits Naked Leader Founder David Taylor with helping her. She says: ‘Don’t let the business control you, make sure you control it. Meeting David on a one-day course at the Prince’s Trust, he taught me how not to let the self-doubt take over. It has made me more confident and has really helped me. It has helped me to deal with different situations and to realise, things happen. It’s how we deal with them that counts.’
Having had a most awful treatment from a fellow human being it would be easy for someone to abandon her natural tendency to be a people person.
However, like the charity name says, Katiecares, and the people in her neighbourhood and beyond can be thankful that one person didn’t.
David adds “I remember Katie well – she is an extraordinary role model of belief, persistence and helping others no matter what was happening to her.’
With my love and best wishes to you all