Katy Tate

Senior Marketing Officer, Darlington

Sector: PR and Marketing

After using the internet to escape her troubles as a child, Katy Tate has made a living from the online skills she taught herself as a child and today has a successful career in marketing.

Where do you call home? 


Tell us about your role?  

I am a senior marketing officer at Darlington Borough Council.

How did you get to where you are today?

I was around about the age of 11 when we first had the internet installed in my family home and it didn’t take me long to become addicted. I was bullied in school and the internet opened up so many possibilities and made me feel less lonely.

I taught myself html and created my first website, an online diary featuring all the things I enjoyed doing (this was way before the word ‘blog’ became popular). I experimented with SEO and as social networks started appearing, I jumped on the bandwagon taking advantage of them and getting exposure for my site. I started making sales but most importantly, I made friends with other people online – some of whom I still know today.

Many people encouraged me at the time to ‘go get a real job,’ but I was determined to show them that the skills I had taught myself were going to be worthwhile. I managed to get an apprenticeship in a design agency, and it was here my mentor told me about ‘university…’ No one in my family had ever been before and my parents certainly couldn’t afford it, so I set about taking part time jobs wherever I could to save up.

I studied advertising at uni but threw myself into additional classes and internships, taking on PR, marketing, web and graphic design, visiting London and New York getting book crits wherever I could. It paid off as during my final internship in London, I was offered a permanent role and the rest is history! 

What struggles or obstacles did you face along the way? 

Getting to the point I am now certainly wasn’t an easy ride. Coming from a small village, I had to wait for people to really understand how important the industry was going to become. I owe a lot to my mum who supported my decisions and did everything she could to be able to get a computer for me and encouraged me to find my own path in life.

The industry was dominated by men in senior positions, and I often struggled to make my voice heard and have my opinion respected.

Describe the moment you first got a feel for success? 

My job is incredibly rewarding and so there are many successes, from standing back at events seeing thousands of people enjoying themselves, to hearing feedback from freelance clients that small changes you’ve helped support have got them through tricky times.

I’ve had the pleasure of speaking and lecturing at events and colleges previously and these are definite pinch me moments, when I think ‘wow, I’ve actually done this and I’m helping other people get there too.’

Do you have any advice for aspiring young females? 

• Never stop learning.

• Don’t let anyone tell you, it can’t be done. Just keep going and prove them wrong.

• Consider the bigger picture – there are reasons why things don’t always run smoothly.

• Don’t worry so much about what other people might think, be brave and confident in your decisions!

What advice would you give to your younger self?  

Those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.

What three words inspire you and encourage a positive path?  

Empathy, potential, enthusiasm

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