Q1: What is your name and title?
Cathy McCabe, CEO Proximity Insight
Q2: Briefly (1-2 sentences) describe your role at your company?
Following a diverse 30-year career in retail moving from shop floor to shop tech I am now the CEO of an innovative retail tech startup – I work with an awesome, global team who are passionate about helping brands to get closer to their customers. My role varies every day encompassing sales, marketing and product vision and I love the variety of working with leading retail brands and great visionary people. It is a tough but hugely rewarding role.
Q3: How long have you been in your current position?
Q4: What advice do you have for women who are just starting their career?
I have been lucky to enjoy a diverse career. Finding your path and enjoying what you do is really important and I often put my hand up to work on something that no-one else wanted to do. So never be afraid to try new things.
You absolutely have to work hard, take risks and lead by example but don’t let your career consume you.
My Mum always said “You can never make a bad decision. If something does not work out you simply change track and move forward onto the next path”
Q5: Is there a cause that is particularly close to you? If so, why this cause and how did you get involved?
I am particularly drawn to Africa after visiting my son in Uganda where he was working with a youth trust helping to train young Ugandans to construct water tanks and school buildings with eco-friendly bricks that are sustainable and do not require firing with wood. It was an inspiring and thought-provoking journey in a very beautiful country. I want to continue exploring ways to help out with causes in Africa and I am hoping to join a Building Blitz with Mellon Educate in November 2019.
Q6: Do you serve as a mentor? If so, what does mentorship mean to you?
I love mentoring and I currently mentor a variety of different people – it provides me with a simple way to give back, to help, to guide and to continue to learn about myself and new ways of working.
Q7: What’s the one piece of advice you would give to yourself 5 years ago?
Don’t chase a title or the money – in the end the title and the salary does not mean that much. It is more important to keep learning and trying new things.
Q8: Are you reading anything interesting at the moment? Please share your most recent favorite read!
Super Engaged by Nikki Gatenby – absolutely fabulous book about how to transform business performance by putting people and purpose first – great nuggets that any business can use regardless of size.
Q9: If you could sit down with three women (living or dead) for dinner, who would those three women be (and why!)?
Gosh this is a tough one – so many women I admire for lots of very different reasons!!!
Angela Ahrendts – an amazingly strong, astute woman, ahead of her time and yet super approachable and a great leader. Angela leaves a footprint on your life and the time I spent with her as part of the leadership team at Burberry was truly inspirational.
Mary Portas – I love her frankness, openness and her downright pragmatic approach to revamping retail and her wacky confidence and ability to be just so utterly true to herself.
Jose Powell – my maternal Grandmother – a working woman with four children who had a strong work ethic and amazing family values – she taught me to be strong, inspired me to travel, to read and taught me to be kind and thoughtful. A woman who grew up in the 1930’s and continued to travel until her 80’s passing away in when I was only at the very start of my career.
Q10: What’s something coming up soon (personally or professionally) that super excites you?
Personally, I am writing a book about the future of retail which provides me with my space to reflect and develop my own perspective. It can be a struggle to fit in the research and writing time but the moments I find to take stock and breathe help me to think about how the real principles of retail have not changed yet the purchase path has changed incredibly in the last 10 years.
Professionally we are about to embark on our first round of funding and that will be a completely new and important learning journey for me – a pivotal and exciting moment in my career!
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