Kristina Kicks, Managing Director at Interpath Advisory.
Cultivating and nurturing relationships with contacts as early as possible in our careers is key to the kind of success and longevity enjoyed by Nicky’s guest on this episode of Leaders With Ambition.
Kristina Kicks, Managing Director at Interpath Advisory, entered a traditionally male-dominated sector that she has navigated successfully, thanks to her work ethic and the robust network she has cultivated throughout her career.
Having decided early on to specialise in insolvency, Kristina never stood down from challenges. To the contrary, she fundamentally believes that there is something positive to learn from every challenge.
This engaging conversation highlights how Kristina has balanced her commitment to family and friends with a robust career path, including nearly two decades of steady advancement and leadership roles at Grant Thornton.
She shares career peaks as well as insights into how best to manage the inevitable stumbling blocks, thoughts on the importance of diversity and her dedication to serving professional organisations supporting the growth of newcomers and established peers alike.
Words of wisdom from this pioneering role model will undoubtedly resonate, as will Kristina’s fundamental commitment to fairness and a values-driven approach that has helped her and the teams she leads to reach ever greater heights.
Listen to the episode here
Key takeaways from Kristina Kicks
Kristina describes her journey from a young student with a talent for maths to a future that came into focus as she studied for a degree in business that paved her way to a highly successful career in insolvency.
After nearly 20 years of steadily working her way through the ranks at Grant Thornton, Kristina moved on to a new role at KPMG, which spun off to Interpath.
Kristina had to negotiate a landscape that has traditionally been very male-orientated.
She talks about the ongoing role of advanced professional qualifications, which provide challenge, growth and career development.
Kristina also reflects on the workplace culture that kept her happily employed at Grant Thornton for so many years: Peers whom she enjoyed, a pleasant atmosphere and ongoing opportunities for career advancement.
Kristina's network shaped her career at every juncture. She particularly notes the cultivation of support among women in a traditionally male-dominated space. She prioritises maintaining and building her network to this day.
The journey to leadership roles at the R3 women’s network and IWIRC London, have provided a great forum for Kristina to share her experience and pay forward the mentoring she has received over time.
To everything there is a season
Kristina’s focus on networking has ebbed and flowed over time, depending on circumstances. She has always stayed open to keeping connected over breakfasts or other non-traditional ways of meeting up.
Five year Planning
It may be informal, but Kristina has adopted a flexible framework for assessing stages of her life and career, acknowledging milestones and setting goals.
What drives her?
A strong work ethic has fuelled Kristina’s impressive career, as has her genuine love of challenge, the feeling of achieving and making a difference.
Kristina’s career highlights:
Her current role and the calibre of her team at Interpath.
Staying true to her authentic self in every role she has undertaken.
Ensuring a sense of fairness and inclusion among her teams.
Peer recognition and solidarity in working with professional organisations, including building membership, a commitment to diversity and other inroads.
Helping to build a supportive network for newcomers as well as those established in the insolvency and business recovery sector.
Kristina’s career challenges:
Positioning herself as a woman in a male-dominated industry that only recently has become more diverse. It has been an opportunity for resilience.
Establishing and maintaining core values at every stage and in all situations.
Words of Wisdom:
Be committed and opportunities will come.
Find the path you want to take and then work hard!
Turn challenges into positives.
Build networks – and start having fun – as early in your career as possible.
Nicky and Kristina wrap up their conversation with a reflection on the power of investing in people and teams as a source of inspiration, camaraderie and optimal results.
“I enjoyed the challenge of the work. The personalities involved, some would say, can be difficult at times but also can be rewarding.”
“We’re at work so much of our week and our lives, so for me you have to enjoy what you’re doing, enjoy who you’re working with.”
“You learn so much from others around you … There are inspirational people that I like to look to and listen to throughout my career, so if I find I can help someone else in their career then that is really important to me.”
“There are so many negatives that came out of the pandemic that you forget sometimes that there were positives like the fact that we’ve been able to communicate effectively with people that are all over, not just the UK but further afield. It’s really helped move that agenda forward.” (Nicky)
“I’m focused and need to feel that I’m moving forward to something always.”
“It’s really important to me to achieve the best I can and put 100 percent in.”
“I really believe in fairness and believe I have always and continue to make that a real focus.”
“The diversity element that you are passionate about fits very nicely with fairness and making sure that people are able to achieve regardless.” (Nicky)
“I am a positive person so I do like to find the solutions. If there is a challenge, it’s a time of reflection on how we can turn it around.”
“Playing to people’s strengths is always the key!” (Nicky)
About Kristina Kicks:
With over 20 years’ working in contentious insolvency, asset tracing and recovery in the UK and overseas, Kristina has experience in all types of corporate and personal insolvency procedures, court appointed receiverships, investigations, recovery and enforcement assignments. She specialises in contentious and complex assignments, using the powers of the Insolvency Act 1986 to undertake investigations and bring actions to maximise recoveries for the victims of fraud and creditors.
Kristina also has expertise and significant experience in family and matrimonial disputes and insolvent deceased matters with a focus on resolving disputes, hidden assets and enforcement. She is chair of the R3 women’s network and co-treasurer for IWIRC London.
About Nicky Acuna Ocana:
Nicky has led high performing recruitment teams for over 20 years. As the Regional Managing Director of Ambition UK, Europe and USA, she leads a team of highly-skilled recruitment consultants who are experts in their niche specialist areas.