The invaluable lessons I’ve learned about success, ambition, and resilience – Kate Tinsley

Kate Tinsley is the CEO of MKM Building Supplies, Senior Independent Director for The Football Association and an ambassador and Role Model for #YesSheCan.
In this blog, Kate shares the invaluable and important lessons she’s learnt throughout her life and career about success, ambition, and resilience.
From my first paper round at the age of 11 to leading the UK’s leading independent builders’ merchant, my path through the ranks of the UK’s construction sector, and my roles with some of the country’s most recognised brands have taught me invaluable lessons about success, ambition, and resilience. Here are a few:


1. It’s crucial to understand that your journey is uniquely yours. The temptation to compare your progress or milestones with others can be overwhelming but “success” is not a race, nor is it measured by the same standards for everyone. My own journey, from accountant to becoming CEO of MKM whilst acting as an ambassador for #YesSheCan and being on the board of the FA, is different but no better or worse than the next person’s journey.
2. Finding happiness in your work is not just a luxury; it’s a necessity for if you want a truly fulfilling career, pursue what genuinely excites and motivates you. This passion will be your fuel during challenging times and your joy in moments of success.
The pressure to conform or to become a version of yourself that others expect can be strong, yet authenticity is a powerful asset. It allows you to navigate your career (and life) with integrity and build genuine connections along the way. 
Outside the boardroom, my passion has always been football, and I’ve invested a significant amount of time promoting the grassroots of the game, acting as coach for several teams. That passion saw me appointed to the board of the FA in 2017, where I now serve as the Senior Independent Director – a position that enables me to use my passion to enact positive change at the very highest level of English football.
3. When you say you’ll do something, follow through. This builds trust and respect among your colleagues and superiors alike. It’s also a testament to your reliability and dedication, qualities that are invaluable in any professional setting.
Don’t be afraid to take risks. While caution is often praised, calculated risks can lead to significant rewards and opportunities for growth. These experiences, whether they result in success or lessons learned, are invaluable and will shape you into a more resilient and adaptable professional.
4. The power of teamwork has been a constant theme in my career. From my time as an accountant to my current role at MKM, I’ve seen first-hand how the collective efforts of a team can achieve far more than the individual. Embrace collaboration, and value the diverse perspectives and skills each team member brings to the table.
5. Focus on what really matters. In the whirlwind of deadlines, meetings, and projects, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. Regularly take a step back to reflect on your goals, the impact of your work, and the balance between your professional and personal life. This focus will guide your decisions, ensuring they align with your values and long-term objectives.

Read inspiring and motivating career stories and advice from more Role Models here!

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