Women in Finance – Episode #3: Commonwealth Champion to Energy Trading – The Pursuit of Excellence

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Kathryn Fowler for Team GB
Kathryn Fowler for Team GB

For certain athletes, the energy they invest into their sport and the heights they reach correlate with other aspects of their lives. That is to say, excellence in sport often means excellence in education, in relationships, and in their extracurricular pursuits. This is amplified when their sporting careers come to a close and they redirect their focus to a working career. The mentality remains: complete the small tasks to the highest degree and the ultimate goal will take form.

This mentality saw Kathryn Fowler reach the top in both her Water Polo career and at university. In 2014 Kathryn and the England Water Polo Team took home the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games, holding off Canada in the final. Kathryn also represented GB at the 2009 European Junior Championships, the 2013 World Championships, and most recently at the World University Games. However, and what perhaps really defines Kathryn’s character, alongside her sport she earned a Bachelors, a Masters, and as of 2019 a PhD, all from the University of Manchester.

Her PhD in Atmospheric Sciences gave birth to a deep interest in the Energy industry and she was keen to utilise the quantitative knowledge and skills she developed towards a career within that space. With her decision to marry the two worlds (sport & academics), determined to reach the top in both, she established an ingrained sense of discipline, adaptability, and commitment. As she starts her new role at a global energy company, in a quantitative capacity within their trading team, she is comfortable being thrown in the deep end and eager to prove her ability to swim.

Fowler helps England win Gold at the 2014 Commonwealth Games

What characteristic/skill have you developed most from Water Polo? And which of those will help build your career in Finance/What cross-overs are there between sport and your new role?


Communication, teamwork, goal setting and a competitive nature.

At a given time you’re often working of a number of different tasks, therefore it is essential to plan and prioritise to ensure that tasks are completed to schedule. For this my experience of goal setting in a sporting environment has been invaluable. To ensure that tasks are completed most efficiently through team work and good communication, both with service users and providers, which are also skills that I have developed through playing high performance sport.

However, a competitive nature that has driven me to work hard at training to improve my performance has also driven me to work hard to learn and understand the systems that underpin marketing and trading within the energy industry. More often then note these skills present themselves when the circumstance requires them, they’re instinctual, and that offers a lot of confidence when embarking on new journeys and challenges.


What do you find most interesting about the Energy sector? Where do you see the industry moving over the next 5-10 years?


The energy sector is rapidly changing because of the changing climate and the focus on the development of renewable energy sources. With this there will be a devolution away from large power plants and towards smaller renewable power sources, which send energy to the grid. From an energy marketing and trading perspective this is both challenging and interesting as we try to understand how this changes both the demand and supply of energy from one hour to the next.

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