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The Alchemy of Leadership Blog

10 minutes with Karen Boswell OBE, Managing Director at Hitachi Rail Europe

Karen Boswell high resolutionv2

What does your typical day involve?
Typical, pleasingly, is not a word I would ever use in describing my day! Commuting daily if I am in the UK means I enjoy catching up with my emails very early on the train and makes good use of the hour journey between home and work. My workday ranges from project status reviews, customer, stakeholder and supplier meetings and visits, strategy, innovation and shaping sessions, board, governance and team support. Video conference is a very important tool in my job to connect in the UK and abroad quickly…you really do get used to it! On a Friday evening, I might treat myself to a Netflix watch to relax (a guilty pleasure!)

If you could choose anyone, who would be your fantasy board member and why?
I would love to have two …

  • Faith Popcorn – Someone who can help predict the future!
  • Ruth Porat – it’s all about the financial returns, so as Chief Financial Officer she would be amazing

What three words would your colleagues use to describe you?
Energetic, Inspiring, Deliver

If you could choose anyone, who would be your fantasy dinner guests and why?

  • David Attenborough: I was recently privileged to see him speak and he is so inspiring, knowledgeable, funny and interesting you want to listen to his story telling all night
  • Capability Brown: I am amazed at his vision and the landscapes and the legacies he has left behind. Would love some gardening tips!

What’s your favourite way to unwind?
A trip out to see and experience something new; whether a walk, eating a great meal, meeting with friends for a catch-up or sightseeing. I do like a good mini-series too!

What advice would you give your 18-year-old self?
Learn to really believe in yourself and know what makes you great. Don’t focus on the negative and, most of all, be authentic and true to yourself

What sporting team do you follow?
Leicester Tigers. The first date my husband took me on over 35 years ago

Describe a perfect day/night/weekend
Being with my family in the Garden on a warm sunny day. The BBQ on and the wine and beer chilled and lots of loud music!!

Who would play you in the film of your life?
Not sure it’s that interesting to make a film, but Sheridan Smith feels a good option!

Where is your favourite place?
Home really is the best place and where the heart is, as they say. Really rings true for me...I instantly relax


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