Katherine George: An interview with this year's Senior Leader of the Year winner

 

Social media expert and serial entrepreneur Katherine George, is not only passionate about social media, but also mental health and wellbeing. After suffering from mental health problems as a young adult, and recently being diagnosed with PTSD it made it clear to Katherine that more needs to be done in business to prioritise the importance of wellbeing, both physically and mentally. 

She has implemented this in her own business Oh So Social by creating an open-door policy for all her staff - where employees are always able to talk and discuss their feelings. From her own struggles, to how she has used those experiences to better her business Katherine is a perfect example of how to lead a team through the climate we are currently living in. 

We recently caught up with Katherine to discuss her achievements so far, plans for the future and any tips she would give to other leaders to encourage positive wellbeing in their workplace.  

Discussing how Katherine got to where she is today, and why this award meant so much to her she said, “I am passionate about making sure people know that it’s okay not to be okay, by talking about my own experiences and raising awareness. It’s also extremely important to me that my workplace is a happy one, and I always prioritise my staff’s wellbeing at work. It’s an honour to be recognised for this among so many worthy finalists.” 

One of the main strategies Katherine has introduced into her business is that she always has an open-door policy, encouraging her staff to be open about any struggles they're having, both work-wise and personally. She believes this is incredibly important, as a huge part of her passion for wellbeing is down to her own experiences with mental health.  

From becoming critically ill at 21 and spending a lot of time in and out of hospital Katherin was told she could no longer work. However, she didn't let this stop her, she began working from home, building up her own confidence and gradually getting better. A few years ago Katherine was also diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after going through a traumatic incident.  During this time she found it extremely difficult to take time away from her business and focus on herself, however, she had to take the time away to ensure she got better. 

“These experiences have made it so clear to me the importance of wellbeing, both physically and mentally, and how more needs to be done in business to prioritise these things for both employers and employees. Also, through working in social media, I have seen firsthand the negative effects these platforms can have on mental health, with the constant exposure to perfection and ‘perfect lives,’ as well as the desire for ‘likes’ and notifications. It is important to me to help, not only my own employees, but other social media users, to protect their mental wellbeing.” 

As Katherine continues to run a business that prioritises not only her employee's wellbeing, but those in her industry, Katherine is dedicated to providing support and resources to help improve mental health for social media users and entrepreneurs, through her sister company Oh so Savvy. 

“I am also launching my own podcast which will share an honest account of life as an entrepreneur, the lessons I have learned along the way and the successes and failures I have experienced since launching my own business, and importantly, how I have handled them,” she said when discussing her future plans for creating more awareness around mental health. 

With her years of experience in workplace and personal wellbeing we asked Katherine, if she had one piece of advice that she could give to anyone, what would it be?  

“Switch off notifications! Notifications are distracting,” she said. “ Between all your social networks and works comms such as emails, Slack and WhatsApp, notifications can be constant. This means you are constantly distracted. It’s been proven that every time a notification goes off you lose concentration and the effect it has on your performance and wellbeing can be huge. 

Instead, set aside times each day to go through all your notifications in batches, this allows you to focus on actually doing the job, instead of just replying to engagement. Similarly, try to detox and spend some time away from social media, your laptop and your smartphone at least once a week.”

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