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Leaders with Ambition - Katie Cramond

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​​In this episode of Leaders with Ambition, Nicky sits down with Katie Cramond, the current Director of Business Development Europe at McDermott Will & Emery.

Together they talk women in the workplace, being authentic in your leadership style, the importance of coaching and how Katie got to where she is today.

Throughout their conversation, Katie shares how a chance encounter at a festival - and some gumption on her part - initially launched her career in professional services Business Development and Marketing.

Ultimately, this episode is about the importance of making the most of opportunities and how working hard can take you places you didn’t even think possible -in Katie’s case, all the way to Singapore.

Listen to the podcast here ​

Director of Business Development Europe:

How Katie started her career

Katie talks about how she started out studying history and happened to meet the Director of Marketing of Ernst & Young in line at the Edinburgh festival. She boldly asked him if she could send over her CV, which ultimately launched her career in professional services BD and Marketing.

International opportunities accelerated her career

Working abroad in Singapore and New York with Freshfields stretched Katie in ways that moved her career forward.

​"Getting opportunities to live and work abroad - I would really encourage anyone, if they ever get offered something like that, to do so because it was just life changing both for my career but also personally. I really grew as a person and got to do lots of things I never thought I would do."

Grasping Opportunities

Being a driven individual who is family-oriented gave Katie the drive she needed to take the opportunities she was presented and run with them.

Women in the Workplace

Katie discusses why she thinks women don’t need to emulate men in the workplace or be aggressive to get ahead.

An Authentic Leadership Style

Authenticity, kindness and hard work combine to create Katie’s unique leadership style.

Career goals

After seven years with Freshfields, Katie transitioned to her current role at McDermott Will and Emery, talking about how her new position has been one of the best decisions she’s ever made. She was promoted to her current role of Director of Business Development Europe in January.

Although Katie loves her current role, she’s eyeing a C-Suite position as her next step.

Being a Female Role Model

An open managerial style and willingness to answer questions is how Katie serves as a role model to the junior female members of her team.

"I'm all about empowering women and championing women....I think it's really important that we support each other. There's no point trying to get ahead without collaborating with other women. I've never really seen that as advantageous."

Career Challenges

Six months in New York challenged Katie in ways she wasn’t anticipating. She’s proud of herself for listening to her gut and not sticking it out in something that wasn’t the right fit.

The importance of coaching and mentoring

After having a bad experience with a coach, Katie is now more than ever an advocate for having someone on your side to help you achieve your career and personal goals.

Career highlights

The opportunity to work in Singapore was one of the biggest highlights of Katie’s career and helped elevate her in ways she didn’t think possible at the time.

Advice for anyone wanting to get into Business Development and Marketing in a Law Firm?

The three biggest areas to focus on for getting into business development, specifically in a law firm are data, digital, and client account management.

Recruiting outside of the sector

Although law firms and other professional services are still very internally focused when hiring, Katie believes firms are definitely starting to look more outward when it comes to hiring.

The importance of being authentic

Katie’s morals, like kindness and authenticity, are at the forefront of her career and have propelled her into the positions she holds today.

Key quotes from this episode:

  • “That really taught me that when you’re presented with opportunities, it’s really worth taking those with both hands.”

  • “Being a girl from Winchester and studying at Edinburgh, I never thought I would be in China or get to go to Australia even. I really do feel lucky for the experiences I’ve had.”

  • “I think we are seeing in leadership the importance of authenticity.”

  • “You don’t have to emulate those male traits—be aggressive—you have to be true to yourself, and I think that’s the most important thing.”

  • “As women we always feel like we have to tick every box, and we kind of never think we’re worthy of some of these roles. I would say to people, really believe in yourself, it sounds corny, but dreams do come true.

  • “I’m all about empowering women and championing women.”

  • “I think it’s really important that we support each other. There’s no point trying to get ahead without collaborating with other women.”

  • "It’s so important to invest time into your professional development.”

About Katie Cramond:

​Katie is currently the Director of Business Development Europe for leading US Law Firm, McDermott, Will & Emery. She is responsible for leading the strategic direction of the European business development teams to drive high value revenue growth and develop client relationships across the McDermott platform, as well as encouraging collaboration across Europe and Internationally.

With over 10 years of experience in professional services marketing and business development, Katie has an international and cross-industry perspective having worked in London, Singapore and New York. Previously, she worked in BD and Marketing roles at Freshfields and Ernst & Young.

​About the host:

Nicky Acuna Ocana has led high performing recruitment teams for over 20 years. As the Managing Director of Ambition UK, she currently leads a team of highly-skilled recruitment consultants who are experts in their niche specialist areas. With an extensive network of senior and board-level contacts, she is also heavily involved in Executive Search, focusing on Director level appointments across Business Services for a range of Professional Services firms.

If you're a Leader with Ambition from a professional services firm and would like to feature as a guest in a future podcast, please email:

​Listen to more episodes of the Leaders with Ambition podcast here>