Kath Haines 5 Oct 2017 12:00pm

As I see it: Kath Haines

Kath Haines, chief executive at Caba, puts people at the heart of an approach that has served her well in the charity, public and private sectors

Caption: Haines believes in a holistic approach to wellbeing

I always had a passion for maths. I came from a family of teachers so it was presumed I’d do that, but I wanted to do something different. I thought accountancy sounded boring, and the job that really caught my attention was air traffic controller.

During work experience at the Inland Revenue, I worked with an accountant who really inspired me. I trained in accountancy as it would allow me to work with a variety of businesses, people and places.

One challenge at Coopers & Lybrand was being a woman in a man’s world. I felt I had to do twice as much or perform twice as well to prove myself and be recognised – and I did as I’m very determined.

I found the transition from practice to business quite easy. My people management skills translated well. My audit background meant I knew the questions to ask, and I could engage and motivate a diverse team.

A key skill I picked up from working in the charity sector is the ability to listen and see the bigger picture, so I can help my team make the difference they want to. Accountancy provides you with lots of transferable skills; it’s how you apply them. My commercial experience was helpful too, as while many think the charity sector is an easy option to work in, it’s not.

Wellbeing means different things to different people. You need to look at the whole person to understand the wider picture. Taking a holistic approach to understand all elements that affect a person’s wellbeing (physical, emotional, career, finances, relationships) can help identify the issues – be it how they feel or think.

I keep myself active by swimming and walking, but also by getting involved in my church, particularly working with the young people. While that can have its challenges, it’s very rewarding and inspiring to see them develop into our youth leaders of the future.