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Meet the team with…Design & Marketing Lead, Kat Plant

Our design and marketing lead Kat is back from maternity leave, and busier than ever. One of the driving forces behind our new tech accelerator programme, she is working hard to help technologies reach their full potential. We caught up with her for a quickfire insight into her role…


How did you first get into the world of tech?

I began my career as a designer back in 2005 and have spent nearly 20 years working in both creative agencies and for brands themselves. I’ve been in the tech sector for around seven years and have known IDS group’s CEO, Nick Halliday, for around the same amount of time.

We’ve built not only a strong professional rapport, but also a great friendship.

And how has your role evolved here?

Working closely with our client services director Martin Pownall, I have been involved in virtually every element of the go to market strategy for both IDS and many of our client brands too.

When we launched eviFile, for example, a core part of my role was ensuring that – while my colleagues worked on the technical side of the software design, development and scalability – I brought to life a brand. I worked with the client on everything from the website to sales literature, thinking about the finer details as if it were my own business. I think this very much reflects our approach as an invested resource. 

The Covid-19 pandemic hit around the same time as me heading off on maternity leave – that was interesting! But now that I’m back, my current focus is all-things-IDS. I’m working closely with our PR agency for example, to help raise our voice within the business environment, and ensure consistency across every communications channel. I’m also heavily involved in IDS’ tech accelerator programme.

What do you most like about life at IDS?

It sounds clichéd, but ‘the people’ is my genuine answer. Martin is talented, tenacious and his knowledge inspires me to push boundaries as a designer. Nick is full of ideas, ambition and character, and his passion to grow IDS, is infectious. 

Everyone within the business brings their own style and hunger to do a good job, and that means we attract some seriously exciting projects. The work is challenging, thought-provoking and, often, game-changing. As someone who loves uncovering people’s stories, this is the dream creative role.

It’s not that common for a software development and systems integration business to care so much about design and creative. Why is that so important to IDS?

What gets one of our software architects out of bed in the morning, for example, is the opportunity to solve a problem, fix something or create something new. It’s no different for me as the marketing lead. 

As an organisation, we have the technical skills, funding and contacts to enable a technology or platform to thrive – and design and communications should form a part of that. Whether I’m asked to simply offer some words of advice or take the creative lead, I want to give every client the best possible platform from which to succeed – just like my colleagues in their respective roles.

What’s the biggest challenge in your role?

We work in an extremely crowded industry, so ensuring our voice is heard so that customers know we’re here to help, isn’t always easy. However, it’s a challenge I readily accept!

The breadth of our offering, under one roof, is our differentiator. Very few software and systems firms manage to be a true technical partner to clients, for example – sometimes going so far as to take financial risk alongside them. Telling this story is sometimes difficult, particularly if clients want to keep what goes on behind the scenes, under wraps. But there are ways to market our services and project services respectfully, and we’re really gathering momentum now, across PR, social media and our new website. The launch of the tech accelerator programme generated a vast amount of conversation for example – not to mention a number of applications!

What’s the one quality you need to thrive in this environment (especially at IDS)?

I’d say you need an appetite and openness to work together, collaborate, communicate and take inspiration from often the most unexpected places. I think this is especially applicable to people in creative roles – we’re most energised when we keep an open mind, and aren’t shy of admiring the work of others. 

And your advice to others if they wanted to get started in your world?

Listen and soak up everything you can, like a sponge. Be open, bold, share your ideas, and don’t be afraid of tough decisions. And if you meet people who want to help you, take them up on it – you never know if you’ll come across someone with that knowledge again.

Finally, what do you get up to away from the office?

Before Covid-19, we spent our spare time as a family, heading off on adventures – whether we delved deep into a forest or went to the beach whatever the weather! We’d just get up and go, so it’s a huge relief that we’re regaining some of our freedom. There are four of us now too, so there’s lots for my one-year-old to catch up on. 

I’ve missed my friends as well, so look forward to making up for lost weekends away, meals together and our book club. In my ‘down time’ I run a few times a week – OK, I admit it, I rarely sit still. I also enjoy volunteering at Leeds Baby Bank

I’m a trained hypnobirthing teacher too, so love meeting people that way and helping them have a positive birth experience.

Thank you, Kat. Up next, is IDS Chief Technical Officer Denis Koloshko. See you in June, to learn more about our highly-qualified security expert…


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