Cappuccino’s & Career Cock-ups: Cat Agostinho, Co-Founder, Imagen Insights

24 Jan, 2024

In this candid interview, Cat Agostinho, Co-Founder at Imagen Insights talks to us about the importance of being prepared and speaking up, and how screwing up early on in her career has helped get her where she is today.

Cappuccino’s & Career Cock-ups - Cat Agostinho - Co-Founder, Imagen Insights

1)  In your career, what’s the worst advice you’ve ever been given, and why? 

“Don't prep, just wing it!” is advice I have been given time and again, ahead of client presentations, public speaking and important meetings. The notion of “I’ll rock up and figure it out when I get there” is madness to me.

This is different to going with the flow, which of course can be a good thing, this is about not actively being prepared and in my view, not caring (or having a massive ego) as much about what you are delivering.

2) What’s your biggest ‘Cappuccino Career Cock-up’?

Not speaking up sooner. After a terrible experience in a new company several years ago, I, unfortunately, experienced the most awful time in my career due to the behaviour of some of my colleagues. The experience nearly broke me, and others, and I wish I had had the confidence to fight harder. 

3) What were your lessons from your biggest ‘Cappuccino Career Cock-up’?

Although I speak a lot about my experience now, I wish I’d had the strength to be braver then, as it could have helped others too. What I’m committed to, and advise others to do, is to share our stories in the hope that it could help at least one other person. 

I’m often told about horror stories at work so my biggest lesson is to speak up. And, as these challenging times can lead to self-doubt, it’s really important to remember your worth. 

4) What is the importance of making mistakes when paving your career path? 

I remember being promoted to my first manager role - I was so young and had had very little training so really didn’t know where to start. I can safely say that I wasn’t good at it but wow did I learn that fast! After messing up a fair bit, I enrolled on every possible course and restarted from there. Luckily, I realised this pretty early on so I could adapt and learn. Without having screwed up initially I don’t think I’d have gone on to enjoy managing people, running teams and embracing the joy of guiding and developing others.

5) What advice would you ABSOLUTELY NOT give anyone now?

I would not say:

  • Think about your 10-year plan - who knows where they will be in 10 years?!
  • You have to be an ars***le to get ahead - you can work hard, be successful and still be kind
  • Even if you hate the work, stick at it - I see this so often, if you don’t love it, change it! 

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