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International Women’s Day – Getting to know Karis

As part of International Women’s Day at Garic, we are sharing a series of articles focussing on women from across the business, and how they spend their day. First up is Karis, who is Head of Strategic Finance and is based at our Bury depot

Starting the day

What is your morning routine?

Weekdays I get up at 5.30am, get myself ready and start work at 6am. Work until 7am when I get the girls up, battle for the next half an hour to get them dressed, hair plaited & teeth brushed! Sit down together for brekkie and then get them off to school and nursery for 8.15. Back home, throw some washing in, make the beds and get back online for 8.30!

With Alivia & Alberta

Are you eating a full breakfast, smoothie, or is it a grab and go?

I tend to have a bowl of porridge with berries and a cup of tea, albeit it’s a bit of a rush!

Are you working from home or the depot?

I have worked from home since March 2020, however my team and I are now going back into the office one day per week. I have a 30-40 minute commute each way depending on traffic.

Your working day

What’s your first drink when you start work?

I love to drink water with lots of ice (apologies to those of you who are on calls with me and notice me munching away on it!!). I like sugar too much so I’m trying to stay off hot drinks as I can’t have them without it!

How do you schedule your workday?

I try to use the early morning hour to get through emails, plan my day and look at things that I need to really focus on. There is very little distraction at that time, so I find that it works well. When I get back online, I then have a focus for the day and can get started straight away.

What do you enjoy about work?

I have been at Garic for a long time (13 years this year!), so I have many people around me who I enjoy working with. I have a good team too. I have seen Garic grow and change over the years, and it is good to be part of a successful business, with a team who care about their staff. It’s the small things that go a long way.

Is there anything Garic could do to encourage some more women into construction?

Ultimately, it is down to individuals to prove that they have the right training, ability, and qualifications – in the same way that men do too. I think that the industry is definitely becoming more accessible to women though.

During the Covid lockdown

Your working day

What do you do when you get home?

As I am predominantly working from home, I try to do the school/nursery pickups each day, I get dinner in the oven and then do homework with my eldest. I try to give the girls an hour of play/focus time and then we sit for dinner at about 5.30. It’s like ground hog day in our house in the evenings…Bath time, reading and bed for the girls by 7.30 (that’s the plan in any case!). I then jump back online to run through emails and finish off anything that I couldn’t get done earlier.

What are you having for dinner tonight?

I’ve not thought that far today! I have bought a few cookbooks for inspiration but mid-week it is normally a lasagne, chicken fajita wraps or something along those lines! I try to cook from scratch as much as I can but only if I have time the night before to prep! Fortunately, the girls love pasta as a backup!!

Do you have any hobbies or exercise routines?

I am becoming much more involved with horses again (I used to have two and now the girls are obsessed!) so I spend time at the stables with them, as much as possible.

As a family we always go for a meal out at the weekend as we love our food! Holidays are always a big thing for us too so we try to get away as much as possible.

I was running 2-3 times per week in the evenings/early mornings at weekend but since having Covid I can only just about walk upstairs without being out of puff! I will get back into it when this weather improves!

What book/TV show/film are you currently reading/watching?

I’m trying to read Holly Willoughby’s “Reflections” book, but I keep falling asleep when I eventually start to read it so I’m not very far in!

I like to watch Netflix series’, especially the ones by Harlen Coben.

How do you wind down?

Martin & I

I get about an hour from 9.30pm to sit and watch a bit of TV, although at the moment that time is filled with interior house design, as we are currently building a new house.

Some final facts

Who is your favourite artist/album?

I enjoy listening to a variety of music. When I am in the car, it tends to be something like Dermot Kennedy/Jack Savoretti/Ed Sheeran, although it is quite often taken over with something from Annie/Encato/Frozen (you get the picture) when the girls are with me!  

Do you have a favourite saying/mantra/quote?

As long as you’re doing your best, then that’s all that matters. I have to remind myself of that quite a lot though.

With my Mum

Who is your female hero (past or present)?

My Mum – she works hard, juggles life, supports us and does her best, something I strive to do myself.

Who is your Favourite businesswoman, and why?

Catherine Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. She always appears to be so composed, elegant and happy. She clearly holds a very high position and I imagine there is a lot of pressure on her and her immediate family, however she always does such a fabulous job and looks to be a great mum too.   

What does International Women’s Day mean to you?

Recognising the difficulties that women have faced in the past trying to get equal opportunities in life. It feels a long way away from where we are now. 

What are you most proud of in your life?

Riding on holiday in Portugal. I’m not too sure that Martin’s horse was very impressed!!

Having a happy family life (overcoming some difficult points too, it’s not all plain sailing!), working hard and having a good job, building our last home (now doing another) and hopefully still being a nice person to those around me.

Where have you experienced or overcome bias?

I haven’t really. During my career I have always found that I have had an equal place in the workplace.

What has been a difficult choice in your life?

My career path as I always wanted to be a vet, but I didn’t think that my science grades would have been good enough. In fact, they were, but I had already changed direction into Finance.

If you could change one thing to improve bias, what would it be?

In some workplaces there is very much a sense that women aren’t capable of doing as much as men due to childcare requirements, however I think that because women are conscious of their required workload/flexibility they actually go above and beyond to ensure that it doesn’t affect their working life/ability to do a task. This isn’t an issue at Garic, however I have seen it in other employment where women really struggle with this, and I think that it should be appreciated and supported more.

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