International Women’s Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the globe. As ladies in all four corners of the planet continue to fight for equality on all fronts, I spoke with two inspirational Evolve Regional Managers about their journey up the career ladder.
Amie Richards is only 24 but already running two regions (West Midlands and Wales) alongside the role of Impact Manager where her results are underpinning the remarkable work delivered by Evolve Health Mentors. Yet it has taken plenty of hard graft for Amie to reach these heights at such an early stage in her career.
After leaving school, Amie studied Sports Science at Swansea University. Like many students, she combined her studies with a handful of part-time jobs, including one as a mascot! However, it was her time at Swansea City working in the performance analysis department that helped streamline Amie’s vision for the future. She explained, “this is where I developed a love for a career in sport.”
Amie joined Evolve in September 2014 as a trainee Health Mentor whilst studying for a Masters degree in Physical Activity, Exercise and Health. Working in a school with male Health Mentors, Amie’s focus was to get more girls into sport whilst mentoring them to boost self-esteem and confidence levels.
The progress was remarkable and she was awarded the Regional Health Mentor of the Year title less than a year after beginning her deployment. By 2016, Amie was promoted into a hybrid Regional Manager role whilst supporting teachers’ PE CPD in school. She quickly became established in a full-time position before taking on a second region and the role of Impact Manager.
Amie also plays hockey at a high level, winning a European silver medal with the Wales Under-18 squad in 2011. However, despite all of her successes, one of her greatest achievements was taking a school dodgeball team to a competition for the first time. Amie explained, “I still have memories of a boy being the last one left in the team and he caught the ball to get the rest of the team back in the game. He was so happy and the smile on his face was brilliant.”
Amie works closely alongside Birmingham Regional Manager Kat Watkin, who has also enjoyed a memorable progression up the career ladder. Kat studied Sports and Exercise Science at the University of Leeds and built up her professional experiences during the summer periods by coaching football in America. It was on one of those trips that she first heard about Evolve.
After completing her studies in 2011, Kat took on a voluntary post with the company, competing for a position alongside other prospective Health Mentors. Yet it was Kat’s passion, determination and attention to detail that secured her the role and the first step to creating a memorable legacy with Evolve.
In less than four years as a Health Mentor, Kat won every award possible. She picked up Learner of the Year and Regional Health Mentor of the Year before winning the National prize just two years after starting with the organisation.
It didn’t take Kat long to make the same impact in a new role as Regional Manager. Kat became the first person in Evolve history to complete the ‘clean sweep’ of titles as she won the Regional Manager of the Year award in 2017. It is no surprise to see Kat, 29, now heading up the Level 4 training course for new Health Mentors when they join the company.
However, winning awards is just part of the process for Kat who recounts different experiences as her most memorable successes. Kat explained, “my greatest achievement outside of Evolve was going to Mexico and helping to build a house for a family. With Evolve, one of my targets as a Health Mentor was to improve after school club attendance and I managed to get 88% of children involved in a club during just one academic year.”
Amie and Kat are leading the way for a number of inspirational female Health Mentors who are making a positive impact on children across the country and they are looking forward to that legacy developing.
Both ladies advised that having faith in yourself is the route to success. Amie explained, “don’t underestimate yourself, have confidence in the decisions you make because everything works out in the end.”
Kat added, “don’t be afraid to look after yourself first so you can look after other people.”
If you are inspired by the journeys of Amie and Kat, visit our Careers page to find out more information about Evolve and the positions available.