Spotlight on Kasia Wojciechowska

Introducing the sensational Kasia, who talks to us about negotiating, how to overcome career barriers and what it takes to be an amazing leader.

Kasia is Regional Head of Client Accounts at Peregrine (formerly Capita) and is based in Brighton, England. As the Lead for her company’s Neurodiversity Employee Resource Group, and a frequent volunteer for amazing organizations like Cajigo, her commitment to creating a more inclusive world is clear and commendable.

What quote inspires you the most?

Success is a journey, not a destination” – Arthur Ashe


What has been the most significant barrier in your career to date?

One of the biggest barriers would be the lack of clarity and transparency around career paths. I strongly believe that career development paths provide employees with an ongoing mechanism to enhance their skills and knowledge that can not only lead to mastery of their current jobs, but also to promotions and potentially transfers to new or different positions. Line managers often get used to what workers do but ignore their aspirations.

Typecasting, being stereotyped or pigeonholed by the boss is a real predicament and can be discouraging and harmful to career development as well as the business on the whole. Lack of recognizing the individual value and recognition. In addition, lack of flexibility post maternity somewhat left my career development stagnant.


What is the best way to negotiate salary and scope of work?

Women and men negotiate differently for either pay raises, promotions and salaries, or even flexibility. In addition, this is also based on our personality and cognition (neurotypical vs neurodivergent). A negotiation is a bit like having a difficult conversation. We negotiate because we want to get something that matters to us; therefore, the stakes are often high and the risks have to be mitigated, which may trigger negotiation anxiety.

Many people are very nervous about negotiations, so it is useful to have a strategy for reducing anxiety and handling our emotions. Preparation is key to success in negotiations – know your leverage, be observant and know who you’re negotiating with (their personality and style of communication), set some specific goals for the outcome but have a few options available. Ask yourself – what is my best outside option if I don’t reach a desired outcome?

In all, it may take more than one conversation to get what you want so make sure to leave the discussion on a positive note and start thinking about booking another meeting in the future. Keep your eyes on the prize.


What do you think are the three most important characteristics to be an amazing leader?

Emotional intelligence (EI), being straightforward and having attitude of openness to learning resonate with me. EI allows you to be ‘present’, to address any gaps between how you see yourself at work and how others see you.

Being true to your word builds loyalty and trust which is critical in taking people on the journey. Good leaders foster trust and open communication by being authentic and transparent.

Have curiosity and be willing to change your mind. Keep listening and asking questions, leaders don’t have all the answers. I identify my style with the Situational theory, which focuses on adapting ones style based on the situation.

Leadership is an ongoing process of interaction, awareness, experimentation and adaptation to unleash the Organizational energy (OG Index).


How have you built confidence and/or resiliency over the course of your career?

Building resilience both in life and in the workplace is an ongoing process to help us successfully navigate through challenges, adversity, and difficult situations. Resilience is the ability to not just survive, but thrive despite uncomfortable situations around us. There are two elements that influence my approach to it – having mental fortitude and having your ‘tribe’.

My inner strength is based on a concept in Greek philosophy of Heraclitus from Panta rei “everything flows”, everything changes, nothing stays the same, all things are in flux. Plan for the worst, hope for the best and ‘carpe diem’ – making the most of the present moment.

It is also important to be surrounded by trusted people. Find your tribe and have people around you who will hold your hand when you need it the most.


Why do you think companies would benefit from having more women at the top?

When it comes to achieving true equity for women in the workplace, much work remains to be done: women earn less than men, get a motherhood wage penalty, and experience occupational segregation. Great strides are being made to encourage diverse perspectives in the workplace, yet we’re still not giving women opportunities to truly lead within the tech sector or business.

We are still seeing deeply held gender stereotypes. As a UN Women UK Delegate to the UN CSW67 achieving gender parity is critical for our society. A diverse workforce inspires and fosters innovation. Women make up half the world’s population, and an increasing number of women are entering the workforce every year.

In order however to foster leadership potential of women, organizations need to be genuinely responsive to their needs this includes flexibility. Female leaders bring a new range of skills, create higher employee engagement, and overall promote solid roles models which should reflect our society.


What is the role mentorship and sponsorship have played in your career?

I have been fortunate to have various mentors throughout my career. They have all shaped my views of the corporate world. Both formal and informal, men and women, I deeply appreciate the time they have dedicated to mentor me.

My recent experience with Cajigo (mentoring programme), founded by a female CEO Rav Bhumbra, has had a phenomenal impact on many aspects of my professional and personal life. Equally, my current mentor Dr Bijna Kotak Dasani, MBE, is an incredible inspirational role model who continues to inspire me.

Female mentorship can help close the gender gap however sponsorship is key to break the glass ceiling. Sponsorship is critical to progression in an enterprise organization. It holds the leadership accountable too. Cross-gender mentor, sponsor or ally relationships are reciprocal, and mutually growth-enhancing.


As a leader, how do you stay mindful of who’s at the table and who’s missing?

In order for people to thrive leaders should establish and cultivate a culture of openness. Goodwill and openness are key to building strong connections with the teams. Leaders must ensure that all team members are treated equitably, feel a sense of belonging and value, and have the right support to achieve their full potential.

Employee resource groups can help advance companies’ DEI efforts and foster inclusions. Anyone within an organization should acknowledge that we all have different personalities and ways of working, we need to be mindful of people with different needs or these who are neurodivergent. Acceptance is key to ensure people feel respected and can flourish.


What advice would you give to the next generation of female leaders?

Adapt a Growth mindset from the start. Be willing to challenge senior and more experienced people around you. Take risks, network and build relationships across different groups of people so that you can learn from others.


How can women support other women in their organizations?

Senior female leaders serve as excellent role models. Offer your time to either mentor or sponsor a female colleague. Champion their successes, highlight their credentials and accomplishments – whether on social media, in front of others, on your Yammer pages. Show recognition. Look for opportunities to give feedback and encouragement to boost other women’s confidence. Set a good example, be an advocate for speaking up.


Any words of advice you’d like to share?

Find your tribe and lean in. Your motivation will drive your self-determination.




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