Digital Bulletin
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Digital Bulletin

A Life in Tech

HelpSystems’ CEO, Kate Bolseth, is considered to be one of the industry’s top data security leaders. Here, she tells Digital Bulletin about her passion for IT, problem solving and how she motivates herself to compete in triathlons

My father was an engineer, and my mother had a career in psychology, so I like to think that both had an equally positive influence on my career.

Although my primary areas of study at college included psychology, sociology and anthropology, I have always had a very analytical problem-solving mindset and remember from as early as the age of five working with my father in the basement fixing motherboards.

This mindset has proven to be invaluable in my career and given me an innate desire to solve problems through technology.

When I think about the technology industry, a lot has changed and yet a lot remains the same. Businesses need technology to operate and collaborate effectively and securely and the complexity of those requirements has grown exponentially over the years.

In keeping with this challenge, the way in which we solve these issues has accelerated and improved over the past 20 years and even more so in the last 12 months.

In terms of what has remained constant, the fundamental principle still applies that if you listen to customers, understand common problems and provide solutions, you can actually change businesses and enable critical growth.

My advice to females looking to start off in the technology industry would be to be bold and have fun. It was difficult to find positive female role models in the past but that isn’t the case today. The industry now has a lot more female leaders, so I’d advise young women starting their career in the industry to find a mentor and not be afraid to ask questions.

I have been incredibly blessed with mentors and role models from an early age, but one that stands out is Chris Heim, the former CEO at HelpSystems and current Chairman of the Board. He gave me my very first role when he hired me as an intern straight out of college.

Kate Bolseth, CEO of HelpSystems

He threw me in at the deep end and gave me responsibilities that really shouldn’t be bestowed onto a 22-year-old. However, through this method he really taught me to focus on working hard and be results-orientated, and he would reiterate that through this I would be recognised and rewarded in the end — he was right!

In my experience, I would say that being a woman in this profession comes with extra challenges you have to overcome, and this was particularly apparent in the early years. In the late 90s I was responsible for developing the product line for an organisation in the manufacturing and supply chain environment which involved a lot of presenting in front of men.

I’d often hear comments like “wow, you’re pretty smart for a lady”. So, there were always additional challenges for me to prove my competence and there was pressure to achieve even greater results than my peers in order to get the deserved recognition. But for me these comments and challenges never came from the people that mattered, so I’d always encourage women coming into the industry to never let the opinions of others impact your vision of yourself. Never let that create self-doubt in your own ability.

A combination of culture and the technology was what really attracted me to my current role at HelpSystems. I think it’s critically important that there is alignment in operating principles and core values and at HelpSystems the philanthropic nature of the people is considerable and rare. From a technology perspective, I like that we are creating solutions that make people’s lives and IT better.

As an organisation, we want to remain true to our mantra and “grow at speed with grace.’ It’s a standard most organisations don’t hold themselves to and if we can accomplish this it would be extraordinary.

I’d say the pace of change and the sheer prevalence of data these days makes it incredibly difficult to remain current with your security posture. There has been an explosion of consumer data available to businesses and this shows no sign of abating, so it’s imperative that organisations ensure their sensitive data is safe and secure and that no matter where it is stored or moved, threats are minimised and the organisation remains compliant.

Our key goal at HelpSystems is to build on our company mantra and focus on helping exceptional organisations build a better IT. To enable us to make good on that, a big play for us in 2021 is to offer our customers and partners a suite of best-in-class solutions that make security simpler and more effective and consolidate and automate IT infrastructure.

I am an extraordinarily private person and an enormous introvert. I don’t like to be the centre of attention, I prefer to be in the background, part of the team. Therefore, I have to really push up my extrovert side every day at work.

Hence, in my private life, instead of large gatherings and social events I prefer to undertake lots of running and bike rides and the occasional triathlon.

When I’m preparing for triathlons my favourite song is ‘Eye of the Tiger!’ It gets me motivated every time.

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