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IWD 2022 – Karen Robinson

International Women's Day 2022 -

Q&A with Karen Robinson - Partner, Head of Business Development and Marketing at Jackson's Law Firm.

Career Stories

Please tell us about your background, younger ambitions, interests, education.

I come from a working class background in the West of central Scotland where all that was expected of you was to leave school on a Friday and start work on a Monday, marry the first man you met and have children.  When I was younger I wanted to either be a nun as I spent a lot of my youth with them or a dancer as I took lessons in every dance you can think of.  I left school with 3 O ’levels and didn’t gain my professional marketing qualifications until I was in my early 30s after doing 4 years part time at college and University.

How did you get to where you are today, successful women in business? How did you gain your skills and knowledge to do what you’re doing?

It has taken me a very long time to get where I am today.  As I said above, I studied marketing and business for 4 years and when I qualified as a marketeer, it was really difficult to get a job in marketing as I didn’t really have a lot of experience in that area.  However, I was offered my first marketing role in KPMG and since then stayed in the professional services sector working with law firms and accountancy firms.  I have over 20 years’ experience of working in the sector.  I developed a lot of experience of working in the legal sector climbing up the ladder from marketing executive to marketing manager to partner and head of business development at Jacksons.  I have a lot to thank the partners at Jacksons for believing in me and supporting my goals for the firm.

Have you faced challenging times in the past or any times you have failed at something? How did you face this?

When times are tough in any business the marketing department is usually one of the first areas that the decision makers look at to make cuts, which is really short sighted.  I was made redundant 3 times earlier on in my career which was hard to take but I just went out and found the next opportunity like anyone else would do.

Can you tell us about times that have inspired you throughout your life and where do you get your inspiration and motivation from?

My mum is my greatest inspiration.  She isn’t a career woman, but she worked very hard when me and my brothers were younger to make sure that we were fed, clothed and clean.  We didn’t have any money but all my childhood memories are happy and she made that happen! She has overcome many challenges in her life however, she is still going very strong in her early 70s and one of the fittest people I know.  Her attitude to life is very positive, she dances almost every day!

I am also very inspired when I listen to women talking at events such as the annual IWD.  We often think that we are the only people who have gone through tough times and faced lot of challenges over the years.  However, when you listen to others’ stories and learn that their experiences have been far more challenging than our own and then look at where they are now – there are some really incredible women out there and on our doorstep.

What makes you feel empowered?

Looking back at how determined I was to ‘make it’ – who knew this girl from the most underprivileged council estate in Europe (at the time) would end up a partner in a law firm – if I can achieve what I have, then anyone can. I have over the last year met up with some of my friends from Scotland whom I haven’t seen for years (28 years in some cases) and I feel really empowered by what they have achieved too as they like me, came from the same background.

I have spent the last 10 months mentoring a young girl from Stockton through the Girls’ Network and it has felt really great talking to her about her goals and ambitions and signposting her to organisations for additional advice and guidance.  It is a great feeling to give something back.  She recently wrote a blog about how much she has learned during the time that we worked together.  We are keeping in touch and I will continue to support her as much as I can.

What are your future goals?

To take Jacksons to the next level in terms of our marketing and BD strategy and goals.  We have done so much over the last 6 ½ years and there is still so much I would like to do.

I also want to be the best mother I can be to my 12 year old son and hope that I can give him the guidance that he needs to help him make the best decisions in his life.

If you could give one piece of advice to your 15-year-old self, what would it be?

Ignore the bullies, study hard at school and tell yourself you can be anyone you want to be!

#IWD2022 #BreakTheBias

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