Kate Heward is an account manager, business owner and player in the Hoopla Impro House Team Michelle.
Read on as Kate talks about giving herself permission to be big when it comes to ideas and how improv helped her to create an LGBTQ+ clothing brand.
Hi Kate! Tell us a little bit about your work as an account manager.
In my role I end up working with different companies and help them with their marketing campaigns. I’ve had a diverse client list, including Facebook, VISA, video game companies and various others. Often the challenge is working with very different companies who work with a different range of demographics.
How has improv impacted your job role as an account manager?
I’ve found with a lot of account managers, as soon as you tell them ‘you can do anything’, their mind goes the opposite way and they end up playing things too safe. As a consequence, they often end up rejecting interesting ideas and propositions. It’s understandable why. Being told ‘you can do anything’ is intimidating when the possibilities are endless. However, I’ve found improv gives you the freedom to muse.
It’s easier to go big with ideas and come in, rather than starting small and trying to push out. Without tooting my own horn too much, I’ve found following this has held me in really good stead and allowed me to do projects that are massively outside of the box. My improv training has meant I don’t have to say no to my clients, instead I can say: “what if we go down this path and see where it leads?”
It means I frequently get asked “How did you come up with that?” It’s because I give my brain the freedom to go ‘fuck it, just see what happens’. I’ve given yourself permission to be big.
Speaking of giving yourself permission to be big, you’ve started a new business, ‘The Pink Triangle’. Can you tell us about that?
The Pink Triangle is an LGBTQ+ clothing brand but for everyone. I feel that at the moment, all of the LGBTQ+ clothing available is either pride specific or politically motivated. I wanted to create a hybrid.
For example, Levis were originally associated with American cowboys. However, as time has moved on, the brand has branched out and it has gotten mainstream to the point that anyone can wear Levis.
When I say The Pink Triangle clothes are for everyone, it’s essentially for anyone who aligns themselves with what the community holds as sacrosanct: equality, love is love, support and defiance in the face of something that shouldn’t be. So it’s not just for people that identify as being LGBQT+, it’s for anyone that strives towards those same principles. it’s a brand for them too.
How has improv impacted the way you approach the running of ‘The Pink Triangle’?
I don’t think I would have had the confidence to start the company before improv.
I think what stops people from making bold decisions like starting a new company is a fear factor. I’m an over thinker anyway. I can talk myself in and out of something in a matter of seconds.
However, improv allows you to be braver and also kinder to yourself. When we perform on stage, everyone in the room understands that there isn’t a script to follow and no one knows exactly what direction we’re going in. We follow each offer as it’s given in the scene. We listen to the offer and build off of it. This is the same in business.
When the pandemic hit last year, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset that it changed my plans for where I wanted to take the company. I could have freaked out but instead, we regrouped. We took a moment to breathe and to think. What else can we do, where else can we go?
Improv has shown me you don’t just have to rely on yourself. Before I did improv, I would find myself speaking very quickly and loudly whenever I would get nervous. I thought it was the way to be heard in a room. However, my focus should have been on the team, rather than myself. It allows you to be kinder to yourself by focusing on the team as opposed to shouldering the entire burden.
Want to know more?
A huge thank you to Kate Heward, check out her clothing brand here:
To look at some ways you can build better with your team: https://www.hooplaimpro.com/business-improv
Want to find ways of giving yourself permission to be big? https://www.hooplaimpro.com/brainstorming-tools-ideas-and-exercises
To get more information on improv techniques for business: https://www.hooplaimpro.com/improv-techniques-for-business