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My Influences: Kat Rodway, Director, First Internet


Kat Rodway is a co-owner and client services director at First Internet, a full-service digital marketing agency based in Altrincham.

Named as Small Digital Agency of the Year at Prolific North Awards in 2020, the agency works with a range of clients including Citation, RGF Staffing, Peak AI, PZ Cussons and Peel Cubico.

Rodway joined First Internet in 2012, spending time working across the agency’s marketing and client services departments. In 2019, she completed the MBO of First Internet alongside fellow directors Scott Baxter and Julaine Speight and is now co-owner of the agency.

Here she shares her top three influences across her career and personal life.

The person who inspires me the most and why

I have to say two people: my co-directors at First Internet, Scott Baxter and Julaine Speight. Working alongside them is genuinely a joyful experience, we work hard, but have a lot of fun doing it! We are growing the business and making it our own with a fantastic range of clients here in the northwest and all over the UK – and beyond.

We were still relatively new to company management when Covid hit, but our personal approach brought everyone even closer through that and we have a really strong team now, which is expanding steadily. We each bring something different: I’m client services, Julaine is marketing and Scott is technical, and seeing how they both manage their teams and specialisms is inspiring to me. We have a shared vision for the future, and I am so proud of what we are building together.

The place that inspires me the most and why

Altrincham. First of all, it’s where we are based: we have a lovely office in the centre of Hale Village, which is a great place to work! But also, I love the atmosphere of the town and I think that the way it has been turned around can inspire any person, working in any sector. It’s not too long ago that Altrincham was being written off in the national media as the town with the most empty shops in the UK – Trafford Centre had taken away all its business, and it was looking pretty bleak!

But over time and through the vision and hard work of some amazing people, it is now nationally recognised as a town that has completely reinvented itself with lots of amazing food, drink and entertainment businesses opening up and of course, that has brought more retail back. But it shows how change is sometimes needed, a complete pivot can breathe new life into a place, or a company, or a brand. I love that. Also, being here means that we have a lot of brilliant places to go on team and client lunches. Always a bonus. 

The thing that inspires me the most and why

I think it has to be freedom. I love running a company without having my wings clipped by large faceless boards or the red tape of over-complicated business structures, which can often get in the way of creativity.

Julaine, Scott and I talk to the team all the time and we genuinely try to give them the kind of company they WANT to work for – I think that shows by the longevity of people’s time with us – but ultimately, we have the freedom and the autonomy to take the company in the direction we want. That gives me such a sense of pride: in all of us. That’s what inspires me the most.

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