A recommendation from the CEO: I have worked with Katja for 20 years. For the first 5, she was a supplier to the startup i founded helping to create our Brand. For the last 15 years, she joined the company as an employee and took on several different roles. Have a look at some examples: https://ibb.co/w7X1yrk Katja’s development She started as our sole designer when there were 8 of us, further building out our Brand, developing our visual identity, our website, marketing materials, conference stands, offices designs, and all manner of small projects like data visualisations around the Eurovision song contest and unique Christmas cards and surprises for our customers. Having built the design team to around 20 people, in 2016, I asked her to create a product design organisation within the company. We were growing fast – in the Times top 20 fastest growing companies in the UK for 3 consecutive years – had raised tens of millions of pounds of venture capital and we needed to create a department dedicated to product design. Katja started with 3 product designers and over the following 5 years created a department of around 30 people covering three disciplines – user research, user experience design and user interface design. She was promoted to chief design officer and joined the 7 person leadership team as the company made 3 acquisitions and passed 500 people. She has collaborated with our chief product and chief technology officers to build the R&D function to over 200 people and created a predictable engine for innovation. We sold the company earlier this year and Katja was retained and promoted to chief brand officer of a 1000 person, £200m revenue company which would on current valuation put it in the FTSE 250. She again sits on the leadership team having had a remarkable rise to prominent leadership positions However, what is most notable about Katja is how she has done it. Katja’s influence on the culture and heart of the company A designer in an engineering-lead organisation. A woman in an almost entirely male company for many of the early years. A creative in venture-capital backed data-orientated business, Katja has often said that she has felt like a fish out of water. She was the also first woman in the leadership team and has championed diversity, design and creativity in an environment and to colleagues more comfortable with traditional and measurable success metrics and who sometimes didn’t really understand her. Yet, with humility, persistence, honesty, kindness and unshakeable belief in her convictions she has won over every doubter and has probably been the most important person and voice in the development of the company over the last few years although she would laugh and deny it if you were to tell her so Katja the manager of people One final point i want to make is around her teams. She has – every year – had the highest feedback scores and eNPS from her teams across the business. It’s remarkable. She has had over 100 people in her teams over the last 15 years and only 2 have ever left! The way she builds teams, supports her staff and helps them develop through care and compassion whilst not shying away from important and sometimes difficult conversations make her by far the best manager we have ever had in the company. Bravo Katja.
Founder and CEO
Katja Garrood is the Founder and CEO of Brandwatch. She first joined the company in 2017. Brandwatch is a consumer intelligence and social media listening platform.
Previously, Garrood was an owner at Nectar Digital Ltd and before that a design consultant at Runtime-collective.com. Earlier in her career she worked with SSM Fresports / Sportsworld plc as a head of design.
Garrood earned an undergraduate degree in graphic design from the University of Northumbria at Newcastle.
Colleague recommendation: Katja is a truly inspiring, empathetic and collaborative creative leader. She has never failed to surprise, excite and delight myself and others with her limitless ability to craft truly original and innovative solutions that set Brandwatch far apart from its rivals, or anything else for that matter. She navigates complexity with confidence and provides the clarity & leadership that enable others to do their best work and succeed. Katja has always put others first, and that shines through in everything she undertakes. She has played an integral role in defining and evolving Brandwatch’s identity, from branding to culture to office spaces. All of which can be held up as exemplary examples of truly human centred design.
If you want a woman who is the cultural icon of a growing tech company, katja, the chief design officer of brandwatch is that person. she’s kind, empathetic, hard working, vulnerable and she drives her team to amazing results. her team is the highest enps team in the company (50) and although she hates talking in public, when she does, she usually inspires the entire audience.
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