It’s International Women’s Day today, a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women across the globe. To mark the occasion, we’ve asked Karen Ogborn, Head of Performance at Crimestoppers, to talk about how she got to where she is today.
Q. What does your role at Crimestoppers involve?
A. I lead on strategy development which means pulling together the plans and projects needed to achieve our goals. I get to work with everyone in the organisation, securing funding for our development team and helping other teams with their plans.
I’m also responsible for reviewing the charity’s performance, which helps inform decision making and shows what a difference Crimestoppers makes to communities across the UK.
On a day-to-day basis I liaise with our CEO and the Home Office as well as other key strategic groups including our trustees and advisory board. I lead on our information security work and I’m part of the new internal communications team.
Q. What do you enjoy most about working with Crimestoppers?
A. I get to work with lots dedicated and passionate people every day. This means that I’m constantly learning and I’m able to feed that into the future direction of the charity.
Q. How did you get to where you are today?
A. I’ve been at Crimestoppers for over 15 years so much of my experience has been here. I joined as the one and only member of the youth team and, over time, I took on more general communications projects from website development to crime campaigns and our international fugitives campaign Operation Captura. I also project managed the set-up of our bureau, where all the anonymous information about crime from the public is received.
But there was life before Crimestoppers; I trained as a theatre designer and worked freelance for about five years. I have made costumes from full period dress to contemporary dance. I’ve worked back stage on Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat; I’ve also directed and designed shows with a company I founded with friends.
Q. Do you have any words of wisdom for our readers or any life lessons you want to share?
A. I’m still very much a work in progress but the thing that keeps me enjoying life and work is the opportunity to keep learning and developing, challenging myself.
I learnt a big life lesson during my early career when I lost a part of a costume and I hid this fact from my boss. I thought it would turn up, when it didn’t I had to fess up just before the dress rehearsal when we couldn’t replace the item. I still feel the shame in that confession, how I’d let down someone I hugely admired.
I realised that hiding mistakes or mishaps never makes them go away, if I’d talked about it as soon as I lost it there would not have been an issue. Now I always try to be honest about what’s going on, what I can’t do, when I’m struggling.
It’s important to be honest about what you can do, to have confidence in your abilities even when you are being stretched. Honesty is essential in building respect. But honesty will get you nowhere if you are cruel, so be kind to yourself and others.