Stretch your limits: Kathy
Product manager and playwright
Nothing happens unless you make it happen.
As a product manager, much of my role is about problem solving and managing stakeholders. My team works closely with those from Operations, Marketing, Customer Experience and Compliance, so it’s all about relationships, performance and keeping people happy.
Away from work, my passion is writing. I’ve always been drawn to the arts – acting, dancing, singing, writing and directing. I love dance movies but sometimes find their storylines a bit thin. That’s why I wrote Watch Me Dance, a story about an outsider trying to fit into a world where success is measured by looks, and talent doesn’t guarantee success. It’s also a world where love, friendship and acceptance mean more than anything else.
Given them confidence
Putting my story out there taught me about vulnerability. I had to rely on others as well as trust my own judgement. I worked with talented writers who helped me evolve the script. In some ways, this was similar to how we work on projects at ING – being open to constructive feedback is critical to turning something good into something great.
Stage shows like this are produced on a shoestring, so we manage a tight budget. Also, the dancers are usually volunteers, which is probably the biggest challenge of all – how to make them stay, keep them motivated and get them to deliver. There was quite a bit of turnover in the cast, even in the last few weeks before we opened. To add to this, I couldn’t get all the help I needed for the set, so I had to rely on my limited skills.
There were moments when I felt like giving up. But I had to keep going. Even when I had doubts, I couldn’t let me my crew see it. Being confident made them confident.
Come the night of the premiere, I was so nervous I could hardly breathe. There were so many things we were still fixing during last-minute rehearsals. But everything changed when the curtain went up and the performers felt the audience’s energy. They completely lifted the quality of their performances, growing more confident in front of our eyes.
We had four shows in total, and I have to admit I felt very emotional at the end of the last one. There was resounding applause from the audience, and when the performers finished their final bows, they turned and cheered one another. It was great to see!
Part of something unique
I see so many similarities between producing my show and the work I do at ING – most of all how motivating it can be to work towards something unique. Sometimes the detail can distract us from the real reason we’re doing something. If that happens, it’s important to zoom out and look at the bigger goal. Trusting in the outcome can also give you a sense of purpose.
The show was my baby, but I depended on other people to make it a success. This was a reminder that a team is never just about one person – it’s about how everyone works together.
I also learned to trust myself and be confident in my abilities. The biggest failure is to give into doubt and not even try. Nothing happens unless you make it happen.
Kathy’s production, Watch Me Dance, ran at ARA Darling Quarter Theatre in Sydney in September 2019. Find out more at watchmedance.com.au
Stretch your limits
At ING your whole self is welcome. And that’s a promise. We challenge ourselves to continually develop and become the best we can be. In this series, employees share their personal activities outside their ‘regular’ job, and how they help them grow personally and in their role at ING.