Alumnus interview: Kathleen O’Malley

Kathleen O’Malley, a former Christ the King Sixth Form College student, shares with us her career success and personal achievements since leaving the College in 2005.

Kathleen, where are you working at the moment?

I work for Network Rail as a Community Relations Executive, creating plans for large projects and works on the Kent route, visiting line side neighbours and holding public meetings for residents to discuss Network Rail’s presence in their local community.

I also respond to enquiries that come in via our National Helpline, liaising with colleagues across the business to provide customers with the most up-to-date and helpful information possible.

Give us an idea of your career path since leaving CTK

Prior to my current role I was a Station Support Assistant working in the Station Management team at Waterloo Station. I looked after manager diaries, organised events and managed charity collections and activities at the station, as well as managing part of the station budget and purchasing responsibilities and compiling relevant reports.

This also involved building and maintaining relationships with South West Trains and retailers for example, and looking after the local graduate placements.

During this time I also held secondments in our Safety and Sustainability team, working on our relationship with our Charity of Choice and our charitable giving schemes.

What have been the most exciting or rewarding moments of your career so far?

I am Chair of a route Charity Panel, and being able to volunteer for this in addition to my day job has proved very rewarding. Hearing about what we have been able to help charities achieve and visiting them to see our funding in action is incredibly heart-warming.

What professional achievement are you most proud of?

Within my first few months at Network Rail, I jointly led a Row the Route event on the station concourse for Children in Need, raising over £8k, and building some strong relationships with my new colleagues in the meantime. It was a lot of fun and I was proud to be thrown in at the deep end and have such great results.

What has been the greatest challenge you have faced during your career?

It took me a long time to get a role within Government and Corporate Affairs, now Communications, and I faced a number of knockbacks from interviews before I got the role I’m in today.

Since then, it has often been a challenge when I have to deliver news to a customer or a stakeholder that they may not want to hear. But for every challenge, there’s a reward!

How did your time at Christ the King Sixth Form College influence your career path?

My college years were some of the most sociable years I’ve had, so it definitely brought me out of my shell and gave me more confidence which I have brought into my career. I also felt like I was given freedom and the chance to be responsible for my own grades, which I think has led to me being more independent and determined to work for what I want to achieve.

What are your fondest memories from the time you attended Christ the King Sixth Form College?

My friends! I met some of my best friends at CTK, and that was an invaluable part of my time there.  I also loved my English lessons with Steve, was proud of getting through the whole of ‘Halloween’ in Media, and will never forget the cookies in the canteen!

If you could give your fellow alumni any advice, what would it be?

Make the most of your college years and keep in contact with the friends you make at CTK.  Other than that, keep challenging yourself and love what you do!