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KORE Connections: Louise Winstone, Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resource Officer - International Women’s Day

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In a world obsessed with connections, from fast streaming services, to building personal networks, to even connected cities and homes, it is the personal connections that matter the most – that is why we are proud to introduce KORE Connections. This forum is a Q&A series where our thought leaders and innovators can share their perspectives on life, innovations, and business which could help you in building your own connections.

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, we interviewed our EVP and CHRO, Louise Winstone. 

Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your career background.

A: I am the Executive Vice President & Chief Human Resources Officer for KORE.  I joined in January 2019, having been poached from my last company by KORE’s CEO Romil Bahl and I have to admit although he is the best salesman (could literally sell a fourth-floor elevator button to the owner of a three-story building!), it was the best decision. I absolutely love the industry and the people here at KORE. Since joining KORE, I have implemented many new initiatives to enhance the culture and employee experience, such as career pathing, a high potentials development program, rewards and recognition programs (KUDOS & Living our Values), paid maternity leave, the buddy system, and the mentor program, to name a few.

I began my career in Finance, but after taking on an operational role that encompassed Human Resources as well as Finance, I quickly discovered I preferred Human Resources. I retrained, taking a large pay cut to do so, while I worked my way up the Human Resources career path. After many years of further training and multiple years progressing through the ranks, I took my first Chief Human Resources Officer role in 2016.

Q: What does a typical morning look like for you?

A: When I first wake up, I check my emails to ensure nothing urgent needs my attention, and then I like to take my dog out for a walk first thing, before hitting the gym. Following my gym session and my first Coke Zero of the day (yes, I know, not the healthiest!), I then get to work. My calls/meetings generally start at 8:00 a.m.

Q: What’s one thing most people don’t know about you?

A: I would have to say meeting the late Queen Elizabeth II when my father was awarded the Member of the British Empire medal at Buckingham Palace. It was, as I am sure you can imagine, an extremely prestigious event and a very proud moment for my family. Although, when I was walking up the very grand staircase, each step was lined with full suits of armor, I stepped on one of them in error, which could have caused a domino effect and huge embarrassment for me and my parents, but each suit of armor was actually filled with a real life soldier, so he just stepped back and in the process proceeded to tell me off. I am not sure if I was relieved from not knocking it/him over or upset from being scolded. I am not a Royalist, but the late Queen Elizabeth II was truly an inspiration to so many people and her work ethic was second to none.
Q: How would your 10-year-old self react to what you do now?

A: My mother always said I knew what I wanted from the age of 3 and was exceptionally bossy.  However, I think my 10-year-old self would be shocked I hadn’t ended up as an astronaut, as this was my life-long career goal! Also, the fact I have settled in the USA, as I had never imagined leaving London.  Clearly, I had high hopes for the UK establishing its own space program at that age!

Q: What motivates you?

A: There is nothing more motivating than making a difference in people’s lives. I truly love being able to have the autonomy and flexibility (within reason of course!), to implement initiatives that can change people's lives. Seeing people you recruited and them working their way up the corporate ladder to achieve their goals and knowing you have helped some way in that, is what motivates me most and why I love HR.

Q: When you think of leadership – which female has influenced you the most, and what does leadership mean to you?

A: Leadership to me is about stepping up to a challenge when people need you most, doing the right thing, doing the best you can to foster execution or resolve the situation, and ultimately people having the confidence in you to be that person, either personally or professionally.  

In relation to who has influenced me the most, that would be my mother. Although she left school at 15, she has instilled in me the importance of getting an education and working hard, so if nothing else, you never have to rely on anyone else to live your life. She has faced many challenges in her life, from living overseas most of her adult life and not being able to speak the language in the countries we lived in, bringing up two children practically alone due to my father’s job, living in war zones, whereby my father’s gasmask would hang on the back of the front door and each time the siren went off not knowing if he was leaving as part of an exercise or whether it was for real, but always remaining calm to the point we actually thought it was a game, contracting throat cancer from being exposed to the Chernobyl situation (again due to my father’s job), to despite being terrified of driving and having to drive on the other side of the road to the UK in various countries to take and pick my brother and me up from airports hundreds of miles away as we went to and from boarding school. She always gave us the impression she was a confident woman and while life can be tough at times, you can do anything you put your mind to. She is the kindest, most generous and selfless person I know, but is also one of the most determined.

Q: What is the best career advice you would share to young workers, especially women?

A: Believe in yourself - no matter what anyone tells you. If you are willing to put the effort in, learn from your mistakes, accept feedback and be true to yourself, then only you can prevent you from achieving your goals. Also, when you get that moment where you really feel you can’t do anymore or something has happened to bring you down, do not dwell on it. Worry is a useless and destructive emotion, and life is what you make it. I will end with my favorite phrase, “Carpe diem!”


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