Celebrating International Women's Day
with Kate Durband
In this insightful interview, we caught up with Kate Durband, our Managing Director of Calvary Care Services. With her extensive experience in the care sector, Kate shares her thoughts on the challenges faced by the next generation of women in the workforce, the importance of building and maintaining relationships, and the key qualities needed to succeed in this field. She also discusses the significance of creating a strong company culture and the sense of pride that comes with seeing team members grow and achieve their goals.

Why is it important to celebrate International Women’s Day ?

It’s about recognising the talents and skills of women across all sectors, but more importantly, it’s also a tool for us to recognise the work women do within our sector. At Cavalry, we’ve recruited many talented and skilled women, and it’s important to celebrate their successes and set goals for their development in the future. The team has been growing over the last year, and we now have an abundance of skilled people. It’s good to recognise the women on the team for IWD2024 and pay tribute to their incredible work. 

All organisations should embed a culture that values women, not just on their website or in training sessions, but in day-to-day operations and business reviews. At Cavalry, it’s all about people’s experiences, ideas, and contributions, and ensuring everyone feels invested and equal. We welcome people with experience and skills in the sector to join us to contribute and grow in an exciting and new approach to providing care to people. 

Why is equality so important ?

I believe equality in the workplace is crucial. I think what I’d like to encourage is for everyone to be able to work with the idea of equality in the back of their minds all the time. It’s important for women with experience to give others confidence and direction. 

I believe women should be given the support and the room they need to grow and receive clear feedback so that they know what they need to focus on to improve and understand what they are doing well. Everyone has something special that they can bring to the table, and mentoring is really important, especially to support our younger managers and their progression. 

I’ve got women in my team who are amazing, and I know that one day, based on what I’ve seen and the excellent work they do, they will be promoted and able to take on senior roles and responsibilities. However, they sometimes still question their potential, and I tell them, “You don’t need to ask me these questions – you’re great and you already know the answers.” 

I think mentoring is one of the things I get most excited about – guiding young professional women through their journey, letting them test the waters out, and watching them grow and realise their own worth and potential. 

What is your proudest achievement ?

I’m proud of the fact that I have four boys, aged 4 to 19, and that I’ve been able to manage a busy home life while actively chasing my career and dream, even though it seemed nearly impossible when I started out as a support worker… I remember seeing someone in a leadership role and thinking, “How do I get that job? What does she know and how do I find it out?”  

I took four years out of my career for maternity leave, but have still managed to get where I am today, directing a care services division in a new team, with people at work and at home that support me. 

I believe there’s a misconception that you can only have either a career or be a mum at home. As long as you’ve got the right support and planning, you can make both happen. I’m proud of my four beautiful, happy, and loved boys, who never feel like I’m not around or they haven’t got what they need, and I still manage to achieve everything I need to in my job. 

My partner has been a godsend, he never puts pressure on me and allows me to do what I need to do. I hope this is inspiring for other mums out there who think they can’t do things. It’s all about the right balance and support.  

Which woman or women have inspired you most ?

It would have to be my mum – she was a great woman, raising us with passion, love, and compassion. She was fun, family-orientated, and bold. She was also very adventurous and immigrated to South Africa in the 80s with my two brothers before I was born. 

When my brother had a spinal injury at 21, while we were in South Africa, my mum had to adopt a new focus as his carer. She was so strong and a fabulous character, and a great role model to have growing up.  

Mother’s Day is coming up, and it it’s always a reminder of her and her great spirit. She was a fabulous character, an amazing woman and mum. It’s always a time when we remember and celebrate her life – she’s made me what I am today! 

What do you think will be the biggest challenge for the next generation of women ?

I think because the world now is all about equality, a lot of people think that women have achieved equality. The focus on gender diversity has been lost compared to 20 years ago. 

Take the chances that present themselves and don’t be scared of making mistakes; you’ll learn more from situations where things go wrong.  

I would encourage women to push themselves, in the best way, to keep evolving, learning, and finding those people who bring out the best in you. Find ways to prove how passionate you are. It’s so important, especially in our sector, where we get a lot of negative stereotypes around social care, to acknowledge the great people and the care we provide.  

It’s really important that you acknowledge your achievements and take a minute to celebrate. My team here often celebrates each other’s successes, including the small things, that really do make a difference. 

What message would you like to share with other women starting out in their career ?

In the health and social care sector, the essential skill is about people and building relationships with them, like commissioners and families. Qualities like empathy, passion, and being comfortable with whatever situation you are faced with are crucial. If you’re a woman with these qualities, people skills, and industry knowledge, I would encourage you to progress and climb the ladder. 

Everything works better when leaders understand the individual and collective team and how everyone works together. Get to know everyone, as individuals, find out what motivates them, and how best to support them to succeed. Give them room to think, come up with ideas and solutions, and support their implementation. A team with diverse ideas, experience, and skills works really well, but remember one thing out of sync can affect the whole team. 

What does it mean to you to be a director at Cavalry ?

I can already see how much we’re achieving today as a team, and I’m so excited when I picture five years from now, to be able to see individuals grow, progress and be successful.  

It’s such a positive culture here, everyone is given a warm welcome, and everyone says how inclusive they feel; they feel part of our team and that we’re working together to achieve amazing support for people across the region (and hopefully the rest of the UK, in future). 

I have a fantastic team – I just want to thank them for everything they do and recognise their hard work. I know we’re capable of great things – I’m so proud to be part of that – and I feel a sense of achievement and immense pride every day.