The Power of Giving a S#%t: 20 Questions with Kat Yon

In this episode of Plugged In, Switched On, we invite you into the conversations that matter in B2B tech marketing when our host, Barrie Seppings fires 20 Questions at Kat Yon of Harness Consultancy. Kat is one of Australia’s most experienced marketers when it comes to B2B Partner ecosystems and in this interview, she explains how partners and vendors should be treating each other if they want results.

“People just eventually stop trying. they start drinking the mediocre water from the mediocre water cooler. And I don’t even think a lot of people mean to head down that road, but it just happens. They’re just, before they realize they’re singing from the corporate hymn book and balancing perfectly on the company fence. And I found it terrifying.”

The interview format at Plugged In Switched On is very simple: we ask every guest the same 20 Questions and invariably we get 20 wildly different answers. Here are some of our favourite questions from our interview with Kat Yon:

  • What’s the one career move you wish you could go back and undo?
  • What’s the one thing in this industry that has gone on for too long and needs fixing?
  • What’s a long-held belief about marketing that you no longer hold?
  •  How different are you in ‘work mode’ compared to when you’re off the leash? 

About our guest

Kat Yon has over 20 years of experience in the B2B tech marketing industry, including stints with HP and Acer. In her current role as CEO of the Harness Consultancy, she is known throughout the industry as ‘The MDF whisperer’. If you want to see how she helps specialist partners unlock more than just funding assistance for better go-to-market results, be sure to check her out at Harness Consultancy.

About our host

Barrie Seppings is the Executive Creative Director of The Splendid Group and the host of Plugged In, Switched On. Connect with Barrie on LinkedIn.

Listen to the podcast episode 1

Full transcript of the podcast episode 1

Kat Yon (00:06)

I wish I had a secret weapon. I think I’ve got a secret motto more than a secret weapon. Which is: I just give a shit.

Barrie Seppings (00:08)


Barrie Seppings (00:16)

And welcome to Plugged In, Switched On, where we pull you into the conversations that matter in B2B tech marketing. I’m your host, Barry Seppings. And the quote you just heard was from Kat Yon of Harness Consultancy. More from Kat in just a moment. Now if you’re new to the pod, let me show you around. Of course you’re new, this is episode one. We do three things here at Plugged In, Switched On. Firstly, we get some of the most interesting people in B2B tech marketing to tell us how and why they do what they do. Secondly, we look at some of the core skills a marketer needs. We pull them apart; see how they work. A little bit like a curious kid with a toaster. We’re asking if these skills and tactics could maybe be a little bit improved perhaps.

And then finally, we also pull back the curtain on how these teams and leaders operate. We look at their day to day, and we see if we can’t steal a few ideas for our own operations. You are more than welcome to listen in and steal a few ideas for yourself. Now we don’t try and do all these things at once here on the pod. We like to focus, and today’s episode is an interview. We focus on just one person. And we also like rules here at the pod. So, the rules of the interview with this, we ask every guest the same 20 questions and we see how they go at answering them. Let’s go.

Barrie Seppings (01:34)

Kat Yon, you’re the MD and founder of Harness Consultancy and your first Plugged in, Switched on question as always is the elevator pitch. What is your company selling and why should anybody pay good money for it?

Katrina Yon: 01:49

Sure, well I guess at Harness Consultancy, we’re specializing in empowering IT resellers to really elevate their business performance through optimization. So, our focus is guiding resellers towards crafting a customer-centric business model that goes above and beyond expectations. So, we’ll focus on five core areas of the business that are foundations for delivering exceptional customer experience. We’ll review the strengths of a reseller’s go to market strategy, their customer knowledge, strategic marketing plans, sales enablement, and most importantly, particularly for this conversation, vendor management. These strategies really need to be built with the customer at the centre of each of them. And when all of these are firing in perfect alignment, a reseller is really able to cultivate an unparalleled customer experience, which will set them apart from the rest of the industry, ensures they get returning customers, repeat business, gives them the ability to build business on referrals as well. So all that organic growth and all that organic goodness from Great CX.

Barrie Seppings (02:51)

And so would you say that you’re broadly on the partner side or more on the vendor side or do you play that neutral role, that honest broker in the middle?

Kat Yon (03:00)

I’d like to think I’m the honest broker in the middle, I guess, having had a foot in both camps. Particularly my career from an IT perspective being in vendor land. So really kind of bringing that knowledge into the reseller channel and helping the partners really navigate their way through how to get the most and how to optimize their relationships with vendors in multiple different ways but particularly that strategic marketing piece ensuring that they’re getting front and centre for any funding that’s coming through. Making sure that they are optimising the money that they get from their vendors, with the idea of being able to then ask for more. So really making sure that the relationships between vendor and reseller are sticky, but aligned as well to the reseller’s business, not just what the vendor wants, which is the trick.

Barrie Seppings (03:48)

Question number two: the superhero origin story. Kat Yon, did you grow up as a young woman dreaming of being in IT consultancy? Was that the thing that you grew up wanting to do?

Kat Yon (03:59)

Look, the one that really just jumps out into my mind was I always wanted to be a vet. I really love animals, you know, just that willingness of wanting to help animals that, you know, were unwell or needed care or love, all the love. That’s what I wanted to do. I was quite adamant on that until one day I took our dog, we had to take our dog to the vet, and I merely only watched the vet shave my dog’s leg so they could find the vein and I was out.

Barrie Seppings (04:26)

If I gave you a do-over and said you could snap your fingers and be at, at a senior role in any career or any industry, but it couldn’t be tech or B2B. If you had another go at it, where would your sliding doors career be?

Kat Yon (04:38)

If I had the opportunity, I’d really like to run retreats for women of all ages to just really reconnect with themselves. And more importantly, probably just to connect with other significant women in their lives. Mothers, sisters, daughters, grandmothers. I think over the centuries we’ve really lost touch of the importance of being genuinely connected to other women. The whole, you know, it takes a village mentality has been a little diluted, I think, over the years. And women used to, you know, a long time ago, and still do in some cultures, learn from their elders, pass down to their young, rear their children together, share stories, support one another. Now I’m not saying I want to drag women into a cave and shut the door and, you know, we all be one, but that is actually what used to happen back in the days. You know, we’re now just so busy trying to have it all, do it all, be everything to everyone. In the process, we lose touch with ourselves and each other. And we’ve lost sight of the support we should be offering one another as women. So, I would really like to harness that community together.

Barrie Seppings (05:40)

Question three: I do this for free. What part of your job do you just naturally enjoy that you’re drawn to, and you find yourself giving plenty of time to because of the pleasure it gives you?

Kat Yon (05:52)

I think it’s just people for me. It’s the connections, getting to do great things with great people. I love the way that when good people collaborate, anything is possible. And there’s a real sense of achievement in that.

Barrie Seppings (06:04)

And who do you think has the worst job.

Kat Yon (06:06)

Yeah, I think working in a call centre or in customer service is a pretty tough gig. Just being on the phones all day, dealing with constant knockbacks, hang ups, abuse. It just must leave them all a bit battered and bruised. And the regular rejections must take a little bit of talk through. It kind of makes me think the closest I got to that was like back in the early part of my IT career as a BDM, I used to find the scheduled cold calling days absolutely brutal. And it was just something that I wanted to avoid at all costs. But when I think about it now, you know, I think about the uncomfortable nature of it. I also in hindsight, it probably has toughened me up a little bit. I used to have a manager that I worked with who say, “Kat, the ceiling starts when they say no”, that was if they didn’t hang up first. Sometimes they didn’t even say no, but yeah, I guess it does toughen you up a little, but it was horrible.

Barrie Seppings (07:01)

Question four: control, alt, delete. What’s the one career movement or moment you wish you could go back and undo? Was there a moment where it was really clear that you just learned a valuable lesson?

Kat Yon (07:12)

It was a kind of smash between your eyes moment for sure, which I learned quite later on in my time at HP and it was my downfall or the downfall of always saying yes. I’m always taking on more. Far more than my role sometimes required. But it was born really from the frustration of being told no. I don’t like being told ‘no you can’t do that’. Or, ‘no, that’s not how we do things’, or you know hitting that red tape, being slowed down. And always I had a personal quest to want to make a difference to my partner’s experience of HP. So I know just simply wasn’t going to cut it. So as a result, I took on a lot, I tried to fix a lot and I challenged a lot. And this all stemmed from a very great place with the very best of intentions, but very quickly led me to being the go-to girl. You know, so, if you can’t fix it, ask Kat. If you need to find a way to work around it, ask Kat. Oh, if your partner’s pissed off, yep, sure, ask Kat, she’ll fix it. And that was just the mantra that started to evolve within the business. And it was a lot, which ultimately led to complete burnout for me. And everything and everyone close to me really suffered. So, this herein lies the lesson, I guess, you know, learning the importance of choosing what I work on, what I could delegate or quite simply what was not my battle to fight.

Barrie Seppings (08:35)

Question five: shout out. Who have you learned the most from in your career, even if it was perhaps what not to do?

Kat Yon (08:44)

You meet all sorts of people in this industry. Some, probably many actually, of them, I very quickly knew I didn’t want to be like. I think when you work in large vendors, and this is not a slight, this is just a thing, you know, the red tape, the politics is rife. And sadly, it breeds a lot of mediocrity. People just eventually stop trying. they start drinking the mediocre water from the mediocre water cooler. And I don’t even think a lot of people mean to head down that road, but it just happens. Before they realize they’re singing from the corporate hymn book and balancing perfectly on the company fence. And I found it terrifying. And not surprisingly, I knew straight away that I was never going to fall into that pocket. which kind of led me to my issues in your previous question. But I think in that vein, you just find your people. You find the go-getters, you find the cage-rattlers, you find the ones that want to get shit done, and you work with them more. And then hopefully, eventually, if you’re lucky, you find an exceptional leader around that gives you the permission to think outside the box. I had one of those people, I had an incredible mentor at HP, Paul Gracie, who was one of the senior leaders at HP. He gave me the permission to just have a go and see what happens. He supported me, he advised me, he actively challenged me, but he gave me the grace and the space to just attempt to do something different, which was game changing.

Barrie Splendid (10:12)

Question six: the only constant in marketing is cliches. So the rate of change is accelerated. I would argue it’s even celebrated. It’s kind of fetishized in the tech world, but humans actually hate change, if we’re honest. How do you convince yourself to continually just lean into and accept change?

Kat Yon (10:33)

I think change, for me, really is the only thing I know, to be honest. I’ve lived a lot of change in my life, and maybe that’s made me to be a bit of a sicko, but I quite like change. I’m, you know, the unusual one.

Barrie Seppings (10:50)

Do you get bored if things are not changing? Is that the thing?

Kat Yon (10:53)

I get so bored. I mean, even as a teenager, a few weeks would go by and I’d be bored of my bedroom and I’d be swinging furniture around and doing all the things. You know, I like change. I like that opportunity to reinvent, to make things better, to lean into new opportunities. And I’m just like, I’m here for all of it. There’s something probably why, why not quite right. But I think to your point, the rate of change of technology itself in the IT landscape can feel ferocious at times. But the very established IT businesses are typically, it feels like a generalization, not so fast thinking or as fast moving.

Barrie Seppings (11:35)

Question seven: here is to your health. We’ve got kind of brain jobs and S jobs. What do you do to keep yourself sort of healthy and physically active and keep that balance in your life?

Kat Yon (11:47)

Yeah, look, I mean, I will put my hand up. Typically, I’ve been pretty shit at this. The importance of prioritizing that time for myself, the need to set boundaries around, you know, some time for myself. I don’t know if it’s harder when you work in an IT industry, it feels harder because we’ve got this always on, always connected kind of mentality in this industry. and I think it’s become even worse now with the greater uptake of people working from home. There’s just this life and work blur. But the universe, as always, in its very non-subtle way, promptly bashed me over the head with some significant burnout and health issues. So now it’s really not negotiable for me, you know, particularly taking time off between HP and starting work for myself. Even the motivator to being able to start working for myself was just that ability to have a better balance, you know, to put time into me, to be able to put time into the kids. So, you know, now I have a very needy dog who’s right by my feet right now, who likes to walk. So, you know, we’re regularly walking.

Barrie Seppings (12:53)

Alright, question eight: Unique snowflakes. So, every market or industry or territory or job role thinks they are different. Which one really is, in your opinion?

Kat Yon (13:07)

If I think about industries or markets, what should be a unique snowflake is education. And I don’t know if I’m heading down the right path in, in thinking around, you know, education in this way. But I’m a very strong advocate for education, and particularly from a technology capacity, of making sure that we are helping equip the students of today, who are going to be the workforce of the future tomorrow, with everything they need. With the skills and the confidence and the learnings that they need throughout their time in the education system, particularly K to 12. But you know into higher ed too so that they’ve got every opportunity at their feet. I think you know this for me is just to stand up and giving kids good educations and great experience to everything is just going to make them more well-rounded humans. And hopefully, make our societies much more well-rounded and easier. You know, I think there’s just such a divide. And at the moment in education, the divide is there’s a real knowledge gap. There’s a knowledge gap between what teachers know and how to use technology in their classroom, but how the students need to use technology in their classrooms so that they’re equipped for future studies or future jobs. And it’s really up to the IT industry, I think, the vendors particularly, to kind of really step in and help with that knowledge gap. And help, you know, really facilitating schools and teachers to be able to deliver the learning outcomes in the classroom that they need to, through technology without being frightened by it.

Barrie Seppings (14:46)

Question 10: that really gets my goat. What’s the one thing in this industry that’s gone on for too long? And in the opinion of Kat Yon needs fixing.

Kat Yon (14:57)

In the many opinions of Kat Yon, this one may be controversial.

Barrie Seppings (15:01)

We’re here for it.

Kat Yon (15:03)

Um, look, I think obviously for me, the first bit that jumps out is just women not backing themselves as being worthy of being in the room. I’m not coming in as a bra-burning feminist at all, but I think that, you know, that piece of just why can’t we be in a room and just back ourselves and have confidence in what we’re doing and what we’re delivering. Even me coming on this podcast, you know, there’s that little inner mean girl that’s like, why would anyone want to interview you, Kat? You know, so she gets hushed quite quickly. But probably more controversially and more importantly is what gets my goat is women not backing other women with what they bring to the table. Women are so self-critical, which unfortunately I think can lead to us being critical of other women. And I’m sure there’s some kind of psychology around this. Does it appease our own inner mean girls to deflect and be mean to somebody else? I’m not sure, but it’s not cool. Women really need to support one another. We need to raise each other up. If we don’t, who else will? And just stop judging. I think after some pretty confronting experiences of this myself over the years, I’m really proud of the incredible women in my network who I get to work with and who genuinely give a shit about me, what I’m doing, what they’re doing, and other people around them. And I just think it’s the only way. It’s the only way.

Barrie Seppings (16:25)

Question 11: Truth serum. What’s the one question you’d ask an agency or a supplier of yours if you knew you’d get the truth?

Kat Yon (16:40)

There were many questions that popped into my mind. Some of them I won’t be able to say to you right now. Look, I think just the more sinister one because I always come from a dark place, sometimes a little bit of a paranoid place of like if there are clients that you don’t particularly like working with who are maybe a little bit hard to deal with, hard to please, do you like secretly sabotage the success of their campaigns?

Barrie Seppings (17:09)

Oh my God, you do come from a dark place. That’s really, that’s really good. Um, I’m not at Liberty to say, I can neither confirm nor deny. Wild. All right. You’ve

Kat Yon (17:19)

That’s where my little brain goes.

Barrie Seppings (17:21)

Yeah. Ask me a few other questions of which I will also not answer.

Kat Yon (17:24)

Yeah, I know, that’s the thing, I’m gonna ask all of these questions and you won’t answer. Do you get sick of creating EDMs?

Barrie Seppings (17:35)

Um, yeah, I can answer that. Yeah. Sometimes if it’s, I get sick of anything, if it’s, if it’s a format, if it’s a template and you’re not asked to, to improve or input so from a creative, I’m always just speaking from a creative perspective, from business perspective, the agencies kind of like it because they’re not much thinking, right? You can replicate and automate and make those processes quite efficient. And so they become profitable.

Barrie Seppings (17:59)

Question number 12: better together. How do you make the call between when’s the right time to collaborate with someone or ask them to collaborate with you versus just stepping back, letting them do their thing.

Kat Yon (18:13)

I think in this instance I just rely wholly and solely on my intuition for this, be it ruthless or otherwise. I get a pretty good and early feel for people. I know who I’m going to work well with and who I’m going to struggle with or clash with. And I’ve done plenty of that over time, don’t get me wrong, you know, and I think sometimes you don’t always get the choice. Sometimes you just have to plough through and you can’t always work with people that you see eye to eye with. So I definitely have tolerated that more in the past, but I think to really achieve good collaboration, you have to have that alignment and that connection with the right people and be quite like-minded. So, you know, if someone’s really sticking out very obviously to me or just there’s a bit of an ick feeling, it’s a solid no. In the nicest possible way.

Barrie Seppings (19:07)

Question 13: change your mind. What’s a long-held belief about marketing that you no longer hold? And what caused you to change your mind?

Kat Yon (19:19)

This was a nice reflection of this question. I loved this. So the long-held belief would be that sales and marketing should never be in the same room together. We are from two different and very opposing worlds. That was my long-held belief. But my mind was changed as I sat closer into the marketing team. I’m a sales girl through and through. I’m not quite sure how I’ve ended up in this land of, you know, I’ve definitely, over the years had a solid foot in the marketing camp. I very quickly learned, when I was working at HP and running the channel enablement programs, it’s probably where I became a lot more aligned to the marketing team, just for their needs and their expertise in terms of pulling events together, marketing for these programs, all of the input that I needed from a marketing capacity to get these programs off the ground to the channel. So I really quickly learned that working together is critical to any success and any customer experience, you know, that you want to be able to deliver out to market the two parts of the business need to work together. There needs to be you know, kind of joint goals and understanding and space to be held for both, because both bring so much to the table, you know, the marketing team don’t always understand the complicated facets of sales and you know, how our customers operate and the best way to communicate with them sometimes in the same way that salespeople do not understand the complexities of you know pulling together marketing campaigns and everything that goes into that or how to run events. Salespeople just rock up to events and like ‘oh this is cool’ but you know have no understanding of their thought process and everything that’s gone into it.

Barrie Seppings (21:00)

Question 14: put your money where your mouth is. In terms of effectiveness and ROI, which tactics or approaches are you advising your clients to pull back on? And conversely, what do you think they should double down on right now?

Kat Yon (21:13)

I think maybe what I’m asking the clients that I work with to pull back on is just doing things the same way because I think a lot of businesses that I’m working with currently, they’ve all been startups or, you know, they’ve all been fresh businesses that have taken off at a rate of knots. And in most instances as they’ve been hanging on for dear life, you know, with the acceleration of their business, which has been incredible. And so things and processes and systems just get put in place because, you know, that’s what they need at the time. But it doesn’t mean that they are always fit for purpose. And really for them to realize the next iteration of their business they, actually do need to sort of step back. Not pull back but step back and really take a bird’s eye view of what they’ve got and what they need to get them to that next level how they optimize their business. So, I think that startup mentality, it can be quite hard to shake. They’re always kind of thinking in that mindset, but at a point their businesses get to a place where they’re actually okay to take their hands off the reign for a second and step back and look back and actually now strategically plan for the next part of their business, you know, if they’ve got the right people in place there. I think where I’m really trying to head with these partners that I’m working with is their vendor relationships. So really being more aligned and strategically aligned to the vendors, their key vendors. Do they even know who their key vendors are? Do they know what revenue is coming in? Who’s bringing in what? The products that are selling well, what isn’t selling well? Are they misplacing their time and interest on vendors that aren’t bringing in that return for them? Do they have, you know, vendors that a lot of their business is built on, but they’re not getting the reciprocal kind of partnership? There is a lot of money in VendorLand and vendors are really good at kind of telling you, but not telling you.

Barrie Seppings (23:06)

Question 15: overhyped versus underrated. Our industry is stacked to the gun wells with buzzwords. So, what buzzword or concept do you think gets too much airplay in our industry right now? And what’s the under the radar or maybe even an old-fashioned idea that doesn’t get the love it deserves anymore?

Kat Yon (23:28)

Every time I hear the phrase hybrid work, it kills a little piece of me. It’s everywhere. It’s the main topic still at conferences, webinars, LinkedIn posts.

Barrie Seppings (23:45)

Really? Still now? Like we haven’t moved on?

Kat Yon (23:48)

The truth and the truth is: there’s no magic formula to what the right working model is. There never has been, I don’t think, you know? But I do know that collaboration is key and people vibe best, usually, when they’re in person together. So I guess in saying that kind of leads me onto the old-fashioned idea of face-to-face meetings.

Barrie Seppings (24:12)

Yeah, okay.

Kat Yon (24:13)

…With colleagues, you know, with clients, with anyone in your network. Just that opportunity to meet face to face and just really connect with people. I’ve seen far too many good salespeople fall into the web of Teams calls, with their clients, because it’s easy, or because it’s the norm, or because they don’t want to drive 40 minutes to where their client is based. Rather than just meeting up in person and getting that opportunity to have that genuine connection. That’s how relationships are formed. And that relationships are critical to selling.

Barrie Seppings (24:49)

Question 16: The supermodel question. Linda Evangelista once said she wouldn’t get out of bed for less than 10 grand a day. Kat yon, what do you get out of bed for? What, where do you find your motivation?

Kat Yon (25:02)

I mean I have two young kids. So, you know sometimes there’s not an option you know there’s usually hardcore requests for food or iPads or…

Barrie Seppings (25:11)

Is this where you’d flip it, and you would pay 10 grand to stay in bed?

Kat Yon (25:15)

I’d pay Linda Evangelista 10 grand to come and look after my children in the morning.

Barrie Seppings (25:21)

Look, if that’s her price tag, I’m sure she’s, I’m sure she’s available. Just, just book her up.

Kat Yon (25:26)

I get out of bed in quite a different way, I guess, these days, because I genuinely love what I get to do and what I get to achieve with my clients every day, so I’m incredibly motivated by that. Working for myself and just wanting to get it the day, wanting to do podcasts with you, wanting to get a coffee, that’s always a huge win for me. But also, you know, it’s for my kids. I want my kids to see that their mom is getting to work in a whole new way. I’m not starting my day drowning in email or you know note to self don’t read emails as soon as you wake up because that kind of thwarts your interest of getting up out of bed with a bounce. But yeah, I just I love that the kids can just have that opportunity to just see a new sense of success from me and being more present in their lives as well.

Barrie Seppings (26:11)

Question 17: This ain’t happening. What’s the most unexpected or unusual situation you’ve found yourself in? Thanks to work.

Kat Yon (26:21)

The most unexpected slash unusual, I guess, work related was having the opportunity to take a number of HP partners to the Monaco Grand Prix. I know that’s it’s pretty much the response it gets from everybody.

Barrie Seppings (26:35)

Yeah, okay, you win. Close, close the gate. Holy shit, how good was that?

Kat Yon (26:41)

Mic drop. It was honestly like just a once in a lifetime experience. And that’s what we wanted to do for it. This was part of one of the channel enablement programs we created at HP called the Elite Partner Program, which, you know, had an exclusive group of partners involved in it, focused on selling HP’s elite range, so elite book range and elite desks. And, you know, based on targets and revenues in achieving, we wanted the opportunity in this elite bespoke channel enablement program to offer elite and bespoke bucket list trips. And you know this was really quite the penultimate of all bucket list trips. What I saw as well, I mean it wasn’t just the Monaco Grand Prix, like we stayed in Nice, we drove vintage European cars to Antibes, we had lunch at Eden Le Rock, we took a super yacht to Saint-Tropez, we got a helicopter into Monte Carlo…

Barrie Seppings (27:38)

Shut up! Did you design this trip or what?

Kat Yon (27:43)

I have exceptional an exceptional consultant who works on bespoke travel events.

Barrie Seppings (27:48)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Kat Yon (27:48)

Sophia did all of it for us, but it was just beginning to end mind blowing. But the opportunity to spend that time with partners really was exceptional. But also seeing the partners interact with one another, you know, who are typically on the streets competitors you know. It was such a great group of partners, and it just bonded us like we’re just that group now. And there is love and appreciation between all of us anytime we trip over each other and it’s like: do you remember Monaco? Or every time it pops up on someone’s Facebook memories, the conversation starts again. But yeah.

Barrie Seppings (28:21)

Yeah, of course. So, in terms of the effectiveness though, because it sounds like an extortionate amount of money and lots of brands would blanch at it. And I’m sure it was a hard sell to get that.

Kat Yon (28:30)

It wasn’t easy getting it through the hoops of HP.

Barrie Seppings (28:34)

Yeah of course. And do you feel like the result was worth it?

Kat Yon (28:38)

100%. I mean, I mean, we naturally saw growth from a revenue based target, there was growth year on year. Substantial growth, from a dollar’s perspective, but that pales into insignificance of all of the other pieces that it brings in terms of just the relationships and you know, the loyalty and the partnership.

Barrie Seppings (28:55)

Question 18: Home alone. Kat Yon, what was the pandemic and lockdown experience like for you? And how has that changed how you approach work now?

Kat Yon (29:10)

As a Melburnian, even the word lockdown brings up a little bit of PTSD.

Barrie Seppings (29:19)

Trigger warning for all Melbournians, we’re about to…

Kat Yon (29:20)

Yeah, you might need a disclaimer on that question. It was just the most surreal time. Even now I look back on it and just think, did that happen? Was that my real life? But I think when I do look back on it and trying to be philosophical about it, it was certainly time I needed to put life back into perspective. I think it’s time we all needed, hopefully, if some of us used it in the right ways. And I know it was hard for a lot of people, but, you know, just that opportunity to slow down. You’ve got time to realize how crazy life was, you know, the workload, the work travel, the personal life commitments, you know, we were constantly on the go, the kids were strapped to us, we were constantly moving, and you have an opportunity, what I did, to sit back and just think: How were we doing it, more importantly, but why?

Barrie Seppings (30:02)

That the How? is the question, isn’t it you. You look back and you just go like, that seems absurd. Why did we choose that lifestyle willingly?

Kat Yon (30:09)

Yeah, we were missing so much, you know. So the slow down and that reconnection was good for all of us. The homeschooling though was probably the low light.

Barrie Seppings (30:20)

Question 19: All of me. So lots of businesses say they want their staff to bring their whole self to work. Is that true for you and maybe you probably reflect on when you were working in a business and may have driven your decision to be your own business? How different are you in work mode compared to when you’re kind of off the leash when you’re at home with family friends?

Kat Yon (30:43)

I feel like I could ask you this question about myself and we’d probably come up with the same response. I’m pretty much a what you see is what you get kind of person. I’m a main character, so it’s a hard thing to hide. But there were definitely times towards the end of my corporate work actually where I felt like I couldn’t quite be who I wanted to be. Particularly as I stepped into a management role, there was expectations of how I should be, how I should lead, what I should say, the positions I should take. And I couldn’t really get to be the leader I really wanted to be.

Barrie Seppings (31:17)

Was that explicit or you just inferred that from like how other leaders were acting or was anything ever said?

Kat Yon (31:23)

Some things were said. Some things were definitely inferred, and some things were seen, I guess as well, in terms of how other people would lead. To be perfectly honest, that’s when it all just started to unravel for me and just led me to… ideate around working for myself, you know, because authenticity is so important to me. Both for myself to be authentic to myself, but also from others. I want to work with authentic people. For me now, that’s non-negotiable.

Barrie Seppings (31:51)

Question 20: secret weapons. Kat Yon, do you have a secret weapon? And if you do, will you tell me what it is?

Kat Yon (31:59)

I wish I had a secret weapon. I think I’ve got a secret motto more than a secret weapon, which is: I just give a shit. You know, when I think about what’s my secret weapon or what makes me different from other people, it really just is that. Like I just give a shit. I genuinely care about what I do, how I work, who I am, the relationships I get to build, the clients I work for, the work I get to do, you know, on the daily and just the life I get to live. I just give a shit. I give a shit about all of it. I genuinely care.

Barrie Seppings (32:33)

Sometimes too much.

Kat Yon (32:34)

Sometimes too much. 100% Barrie, okay, call it out.

Barrie Seppings (32:39)

Okay. Well, no, I mean, this was from your previous…

Kat Yon (32:41)

What does that mean then when it’s my secret weapon and like, is that like a, not an arch nemesis? It’s my kryptonite as well maybe. A secret weapon and my kryptonite at the same time.

Barrie Seppings (32:53)

And that was 20 questions, the interview game we play with our guests here at Plugged in, Switched on. Now those answers were from Kat Yon who is the MD and founder of Harness Consultancy. Kat also told me her favourite movie of all time is…

Kat Yon (33:10)

Love Actually is right there for me for so many reasons. I love the voyeuristic nature of looking into people’s lives and just seeing how people interact and you know the intertwining that happens in that movie between the various people. But it’s for me, it’s the opening, I think it’s the opening scene and the closing scene at Heathrow Airport.

Barrie Seppings (33:33)

Now, before we unplug with this episode, just a few updates from Splendid Group: the Pure Play B2B tech agency, where I work as the Executive Creative Director and where we make this particular podcast. And when I say where we make it, it’s more of a philosophical where, because Splendid has never had a physical office. Our people are dotted all around the world. Now, recently we’ve been working on a whole bunch of ABM campaigns. We’ve also produced a number of launch videos for clients and also one particular lead generation campaign, which if the numbers had been believed around a 5,000% ROI. We’ll need to check in with our MD Tim Sands on that one.

We have an internal Teams chat within Splendid called “That’s Kind of Cool”, where we post things that catch our attention. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been alternately impressed and or dismayed by reports of tech giants not going back to the office, and the knock-on effect on New York real estate prices. Particularly scathing looking at advertising awards, Cannes in particular. And we were really impressed by a lovely little Subaru USA spot, a TV spot, using the power of sound audio to tell the story of escape in a way that’s not normally done Links for all of those little tidbits are in the show notes. Now, if you want to learn more about Splendid, see some of our work, and meet any of our people, point your interwebs at and we’ll see you over there.

Now I have been Barrie Seppings. I was the Executive Creative Director of Splendid Group. I was talking with Kat Yon of Harness Consultancy in what has been a 20 questions episode of Plugged In, Switched On, a podcast about the conversations that matter in B2B tech marketing. Hit subscribe in your pod helmet and you’ll hear us again automatically next months. Thank you for having us in your ears.

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