Meet the MD: Kate Betts of Capital B Media

Meet the MD: Kate Betts of Capital B Media

Kate Betts, MD of Capital B Media, caught up with BQ to talk being a hands-on managing director, handling stress and plans for the future of the business.

Describe your role in no more than 100 words.

As director I need to see the bigger picture and plan the way forward, but as we are still quite a small team I am also involved in some of the day-to-day running of the company. I am particularly hands-on when it comes to advising clients over reputational and crisis management issues, and carrying out media training, which are my specialisms.


What is it the company does?

We are a public relations and media training consultancy. We help enhance reputations and protect them. We offer traditional PR services, such as social media management, press release writing, copywriting, video production, photography; but our added value is that we also work behind the scenes to minimise negative publicity.


Give us a brief timeline of your career so far – where did you start, how did you move on?

I worked as a journalist for about 20 years, before taking redundancy from the BBC ten years ago. Initially I freelanced for BBC Radio 4 and taught journalism at the University of Sheffield. I slowly built the media training side of the business and then moved in to offering PR services too.


What do you believe makes a great leader?

You have to lead your staff, not manage them. And certainly don’t micro-manage them. But you also have to remember that all staff are different and have different needs for support praise feedback etc – and treat them accordingly.


What has been your biggest challenge in your current position?

When it didn’t work out with a new member of staff and I had to let them go.


How do you alleviate the stress that comes with your job?

I know a lot of business owners say they work very long hours, but I make sure I don’t work evenings and weekends – except very, very occasionally. I find working hard, but having proper breaks is better for me and my business.


When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A police officer, but I was too short. Then I decided I wanted to find a cure for cancer, so I spent several years studying science subjects, including starting at medical school, which was a big mistake. I’d always loved writing and talked a lot, so perhaps it was inevitable I would end up in communications!


Any pet hates in the workplace? What do you do about them?

As a journalist we worked all sorts of odd hours and with the business at first, before I had staff, I used to work odd hours too. But as we are now a team of six in an office, I need to do regular hours. To get round it we have a rule that applies to everyone and that is that we are pretty flexible about start and finish times. And everyone likes that!


Where do you see the company in five years time?

We’re growing about 20% year on year and keep moving in to bigger offices. So the plan is to have taken over most of the building we are in!


What advice would you give to an aspiring business leader?

Get good people around you. You will need advice about lots of different aspects of business right from the start, so a good accountant, business adviser etc.

Also recruit for attitude. As they say – you can train for skills, but not attitude.