Karen Bolton

CEO, Nettitude

Doug Woodburn
clock • 4 min read
Karen Bolton

What has been your business highlight of 2022?

Since being acquired by Goldman Sachs Asset Management, as part of LRQA, we have had the opportunity to invest in accelerated growth. The acquisition of CREST-accredited ATvanGarde has definitely been a highlight in 2022. It has provided us the opportunity to bring onboard in-depth local market expertise and experience in South East Asia, enabling both Nettitude and ATvanGarde to offer a more comprehensive suite of cybersecurity services across a wide range of industries. We certainly have ambition to target further acquisitions in the future where they fit in our vision and purpose as research-led globally trusted cybersecurity experts.

If you were ruler of your own country, what law would you introduce first?

It would definitely be laws with respect to equality and inclusion for all. As the parent of a child who uses a wheelchair, I spend significant time advocating for her and others who face off to the world in different ways to their peers. We spend so much energy categorising people for race, religion, background, sexuality, disability and so on, instead of seeing a person for who they are. If we could create a country where people are seen for who they are and not what they are, that would be a great gift to humankind. The "I See You" Law!

Which channel or tech leader (outside of your own company) has impressed you most in 2022?

Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, has always impressed me. She is clear and articulate in what she values and where she places her focus. Leading a growing organisation of around 700,000 colleagues is a very significant challenge and her impact on that organisation has been very interesting to follow. I very much appreciate her stance on diversity and equality, not surprisingly given my response to question 2. I also enjoy following Vala Afshar on Twitter. He is the chief digital evangelist at Salesforce and posts a lot of interesting facts on a variety of topics including technology and innovation, as well as other topics that make you stop and think.

If you had a warning label, what would it say?

"For best results, please, say what you will do and do what you say." It's more of a mantra for how I like to conduct myself. It gives clarity and understanding of what I commit to in professional relationships and what I can be counted on to deliver. I think it builds a level of trust and reliability and in turn sets an expectation from others.

What was your first job?

My first job was as a software development trainee. I was living in Australia and couldn't afford the luxury of going to university full-time to study. I was fortunate to be selected by an insurance company in Australia to join their combined work and study program, where I worked full-time in a variety of roles in their IT department while attending university in the evenings plus one half-day per week. It was a great introduction to the information technology industry, and I quickly gravitated to software development, specifically in actuarial systems. It also quickly taught me how to juggle multiple priorities!

What was the last book you read, and was it any good?

I am presently reading Zero to One by Peter Thiel. The book has been around for a number of years, however it is as relevant today as when it was written. He really gets you to think about how to generate ideas, innovate and create value.

What's the most important lesson you've learned from another business leader or mentor?

There are so many that it's hard to single down to the most important one! If I had to pick one, I think it would be around authenticity. Being authentic to who you are and transparent about where you stand on something creates clarity and understanding. It's also important to appreciate that whatever message you deliver or action you take, its impact will be watered down as it passes through the organisation. So, amplifying for impact is important. If you want people to hear what a great job they are doing, be loud and repetitive about it. If you want a sense of urgency around something, be very clear and transparent about that too.

Who would play you in a movie of your life?

Well, my youngest daughter loves to perform on stage. It would be very cool if it could be her one day, assuming of course that she would want to do it!

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