Katherine Ellis

Katherine Ellis is Chief Operating Officer for WOLF (The World’s Online Festival), overseeing the operational structure of the business and running the app’s user group operations.

Her career in tech spans over two decades which began after graduating from Leeds University with a first-class honours degree in Mathematics.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I’m Katherine Ellis, the Chief Operating Officer (COO) for metaverse social entertainment app, WOLF (The World’s Online Festival). Prior to joining the team nine years ago I spent just over a decade working with a variety of other tech businesses including online pharmacies and insurance companies, and other start-up companies.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

I have always worked with start-up and entrepreneurial companies as I have a real interest in seeing businesses grow and mature.  I was drawn to the tech sector because it is much more fluid and fast-changing, so you must constantly adapt, making each day different. One day I could be looking at the strategic direction of the business for the next three years, the next I could be working on the structure of our WOLFStars programme – a programme which helps our users become more professional with their audio talents and earn rewards and recognition for their efforts.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

From a gender equality perspective, I have been lucky during my time at WOLF in that my male colleagues are supportive and respect me for the person that I am and the skills I bring to the table, therefore on the whole I have had a good experience.

From an industry perspective, this sector is incredibly fast-paced so that has always presented an interesting challenge along the way, but I see that as an opportunity to learn and grow.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Launching the WOLF proposition at the start of the pandemic in February 2020 and helping its revenues grow by millions since launch.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

I think the opportunities and career prospects within the tech sector are fantastic. Not only is the tech sector fast-paced in terms of the development of technology but also in terms of working practices. As a whole, tech businesses were able to quickly adjust to working from home during Covid and to create flexible working practices for their teams. Therefore it gives women and in particular working mums much more opportunities to have a career that fits around their home life and families.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

To just go for it! I am someone with a finance background – not the typical way into the industry but I absolutely love it.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech? If so, how can these barriers be overcome?

I think the industry has changed a lot over recent years and women are becoming better represented. I see women being encouraged into tech from an early age now, which is great. Coding is now part of the curriculum at my daughters’ primary school, so children are getting the opportunity to learn basic coding skills, something that wasn’t available to me as a child.

It’s about giving the next generation the skills and encouragement to do any role that makes sectors that may have been traditionally male dominated more inclusive for females.

What do you think companies can do to progress the careers of women working in technology?

The industry needs to focus on the next generation. Businesses need to focus on making tech roles more appealing and accessible to young women leaving school or starting further education.  Something we’re keen to do more of at WOLF.

There are currently only 21 per cent of women working in tech. If you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

As women we should be calling out discrimination and ensuring that women and men have equal rights.  We work hard at WOLF to ensure that we are creating family-friendly policies so both female and male colleagues can create an efficient and effective work-life balance.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech?

LinkedIn is definitely the best resource for me!