Women in Digital: Kate Bolseth

CEO at HelpSystems, Kate Bolseth, on her career journey, her biggest challenges and from where she draws inspiration

Posted 28 June 2021 by Christine Horton

Has your career path been a smooth transition, a rocky road or combination of both?

It was clear from an early age that my career would lead me down the path of helping people through technology. My father was an engineer, and my mother had a degree in psychology, so I like to think that both had an equally positive influence on my career.

I always had a very analytical problem-solving mindset and remember from as early as the age of five working with my father in the basement fixing motherboards. This mindset has proven to be invaluable in my career and given me an innate desire to solve problems through technology. Through my mother’s influence, I’ve learned how to understand and work with so many different types of people and know that this has undoubtedly help me become the leader I am today.

Prior to joining HelpSystems, I held numerous c-level and executive roles at companies including Amcom Software (now Spok), and HighJump. In 2015, I joined HelpSystems and transitioned between a handful of roles before becoming chief operating officer in 2019. Throughout my career, I’ve helped companies to grow by championing product vision and execution, driving sales, improving time to market for product solutions, improving operational excellence and delivery, and driving significant financial growth and profitability.

A mixture of the culture combined with the technology attracted me to my current role. I think it’s critically important that there is alignment in operating principles and core values, and at HelpSystems the philanthropic nature of the people is considerable and rare. From a technology perspective I like that we are creating solutions that make people’s lives and IT better.

As an organisation we want to remain true to our mantra and “grow at speed with grace”. It’s a standard most organisations don’t hold themselves to and if we can accomplish this it would be extraordinary.

All this being said, both personal and company growth doesn’t come without its fair share of obstacles. However, I’ve been lucky to have support from incredible mentors and the amazing HelpSystems team to overcome challenges and continue moving forward.

What’s the best career advice you can give to others?  

My advice specifically to women entering the tech industry would be to be bold and have fun. It was difficult to find positive female role models in the past but that isn’t the case today. The industry now has a lot more female leaders, so I’d advise young women starting their career in the industry to find a mentor and to not be afraid to ask questions.

If you had to pick one mentor who has had the biggest influence on you, who would it be?

I have been incredibly blessed with mentors and role models from an early age, but one that stands out is Chris Heim, the former CEO at HelpSystems and current Chairman of the Board. He gave me my very first role when he hired me as an intern straight out of college. He threw me in at the deep end and gave me responsibilities that really shouldn’t be bestowed onto a 22-year-old. However, through this method he really taught me to focus on working hard and be results-orientated, and he would reiterate that through this I would be recognised and rewarded in the end – he was right!

From where do you draw inspiration?

I continually find inspiration from our customers. Businesses are growing and changing at exponential rates and are constantly being bombarded with new security concerns and a need to do more with less. The ways our customers are using HelpSystems products to Build a Better IT within their organizations is inspiring to see – this is what keeps us moving forward.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced to date?

COVID. One would never have expected or planned for the impact on our customers, employees, and business. We are incredibly fortunate to have such a fantastic team that banned together to help our customers, each other, and our communities.            

What qualities do you feel make a good leader?

I believe the fundamental principles of listening to your customers and employees and providing solutions that solve common problems will continue to be the driving factor in allowing us to change businesses, enable critical growth, and provide a motivating work environment for the HelpSystems team.

What is the biggest challenge facing your customers today?

I’d say the pace of change and the sheer prevalence of data these days makes it incredibly difficult to remain current in their security posture. There has been an explosion of consumer data available to businesses and this shows no sign of abating, so it’s imperative that organisations ensure their sensitive data is safe and secure and that no matter where it is stored or moved, threats are minimised and the organisation remains compliant.