We interview Kate Boothman Meier, Head of Comms at Battersea Power Station

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Posted: Oct 2020

Kate Boothman Meier, Head of Communications at Battersea Power Station has flown through the ranks. She started her career at ‘powerhouse’ Brunswick, spent a stint in New York honing her sustainability comms skills before returning to London and shortly after decided to move in-house. We discover that she has braved the 101 metre climb to the top of the chimney, who inspires her and her rather cool hidden talent.

1. Can you give us a brief overview of your career so far?

I started my communications career at Brunswick Group, a top global communications advisory firm, which gave me a strong basis from which to build upon. After three and a half years there, working across many sectors, I headed off to New York for a stint in sustainability focused communications. Shortly after returning to London, I decided to go in-house and landed a job at Battersea Power Station Development Company, the firm managing the £9 billion iconic regeneration project, which is where I am today and head up the communications team.

2. What would you say are your three key attributes that have contributed to your career success?

Remaining calm under pressure is key in our line of work as there are various issues that you have to quickly react to and navigate your way through. Solving problems quickly, building honest relationships and being able to spot a good story have also played a huge part in getting to where I am today.

3. What is the biggest challenge you have faced in your career?

From a logistics point of view, the move to New York wasn’t easy and took a lot of effort and determination but I feel it is important to try and achieve your dreams and goals. My current role has certainly been a positive challenge, ensuring that the team are dedicating enough time and energy to the various demands from different areas of the business. One does feel a great sense of satisfaction and reward when a story about the project lands well.

4. What is your most memorable work moment?

It has to be climbing to the top of one of Battersea Power Station’s chimneys (101 metres off the ground) to do the last pour of concrete with a journalist. It was a significant milestone to be a part of given how iconic the Power Station’s chimneys are and the lengths that the project has gone to, to ensure the new ones replicated the originals which had to be dismantled due to the state of disrepair they were in from their operational days. Luckily I’m not scared of heights and the mind-blowing views across London were also pretty memorable.

5. How are you finding working from home?

It was a relatively quick adjustment but I have missed the buzz of the office and interacting with journalists, colleagues etc. face-to-face, especially as a key part of my role involves educating stakeholders about the site and showing the tremendous progress that is being made on a daily basis.

6. What is the most important lesson you have learned when managing people?

Listen to everyone’s point of view as communications is not binary. It is vital to stop and think ‘have I consider all angles and scenarios?’ This will help save you getting caught out later down the line when dealing with a situation.

7. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve been given along the way, and by whom?

I’ve had two very good pieces of advice throughout my career:

- My mentor taught me the swan analogy - what you see is a swan elegantly gliding across the water but what is hidden from the eye is all the activity going on beneath the water’s surface. Keeping a cool head and projecting a serene image is key, especially in crisis situations.

- ‘Never Assume’ was another mantra learnt early on in my career which has stood me in good stead.

8. What or who inspires you, and why?

There have been many people throughout my career who have inspired me and who I’ve learnt a lot from especially those who are passionate about what they do and are breaking through barriers. I really admire Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s Prime Minister, at the moment and the way she has led the country through the COVID pandemic, terrorist attacks and propelled the country onto the world stage when debating critical issues, all while having a family to look after.

9. If you hadn’t ended up working in PR, what was your plan B?

I’ve always been interested in property and retail so I may have taken a more direct route into it, being it in retail leasing or more on the investment side of things.

10. Do you have any hidden talents?

I trained to be a ski instructor when I was younger– a qualification I never used enough! That may have been my Plan B actually!

Thank you, Kate.

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