In the little free time Katherine Tattersall has around raising a two-year old and working as a Process Engineer, she likes to sew. So, she knows the sense of achievement that comes with designing a garment in the fabric, fit, and fashion of your own choice. But the only thing better than having your own customized clothes, is having an employer that offers the same ability to tailor your career development.
Finding a passion for STEMM
Katherine always enjoyed science subjects in high school. A quiet, introverted person, she relished the introspective challenge of solving difficult technical problems.
“That’s why I love engineering. The fact I had great teachers for math and science in high school helped too. They made the subjects really enjoyable and made me want to pursue more in that field.”
She recalls with fondness her chemistry teacher as being especially inspiring, which makes sense seeing as she went on to study chemical engineering at university.
The start of a brilliant career
Hatch too had an early positive influence on her career path.
“I did my practical work with Hatch in my second year of uni. I really liked the culture and people I worked with. To me that’s the most important thing. That and the work is interesting. Clients come to Hatch with big problems, and I love to work on challenging problems.”
Her first impressions with the company were so good in fact, Hatch was the first place she applied to as a graduate.
“When you start as a graduate at Hatch, it’s not a structured rotating program like some other places. You get straight into a real project. I started working on a lithium project that lasted a few months, then I was able to hop straight onto another new lithium project.”
As time went on, Katherine became quite the authority on lithium. Slowly taking on more responsibility and more leading tasks, until now, six years after starting with Hatch, she’s gleefully taking on Process Lead roles.
“I’ve always been offered more experiences, more responsibility, and more diverse roles. I’ve been able to take some of my knowledge of lithium flow sheets, and apply it in other ways, with other elements.”
Space to grow
Besides being offered encouragement from managers and team to build her technical strengths, Katherine has been given the space to grow in other areas too. For instance, to foster her communications skills and general confidence.
“It was a goal of mine since starting at Hatch to present at a conference. I told my boss and he put me forward for Chemeca [an annual conference for the Australian and New Zealand community of chemical and process engineers and industrial chemists to share industry knowledge, experiences, ideas and insights that help the industry continue to grow]. My talk was about lithium processing for the battery and electric vehicle market which is what a lot of my work has been focused on.”
Katherine admits to quite a lot of nerves and feelings of imposter syndrome in the lead up to her presentation, but that overall, the experience was fantastic, and a huge milestone in her career.
Providing benefits that matter
In the last six years Katherine has seen some changes in her home life too. She now has a two-year-old son, and here too Hatch have provided support to tailor her career in a way that provides plenty of balance.
Katherine returned to work from parental leave in 2019, starting back part-time. She now works full-time, but flexibly to manage work and family.
“I work from home 2 days a week. It’s helpful in terms of catching up with life and house admin. Which can be difficult on top of life with a two-year-old.”
It’s also easy for Katherine to vary the hours of her work commitments. She says, Hatch are really understanding if her son is sick, that she can care for him during the day and then catch up on work at night when he’s sleeping.
A future that promises more
Through her love for sewing, Katherine knows that in the long term, we have a different relationship with the clothes we have made for ourselves than those we have purchased. While custom garments often cost more in fabric expenses, they have more intrinsic value, and are less disposable.
Katherine’s career with Hatch too has more value to her than she could find with any other employer, thanks to the way they have allowed her to evolve and grow in her professional and personal lives.
“I’m not willing to sacrifice the support and culture I’ve found here. My values lie in balance and enjoying my work. And Hatch have an abundance of both.”