Me and my job: Take the reins, never give up

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Kat Macmillan, Chief Executive Officer of Tauranga RDA.
Kat Macmillan, Chief Executive Officer of Tauranga RDA.

Name: Kat Macmillan.
Job title/company: Chief executive officer of Tauranga RDA Equestrian Therapy Centre and author.

What does your job involve?

Managing and overseeing the running of Tauranga RDA, a busy equestrian therapy centre that is one of the biggest in the country. We have over 100 riders a week, 14 horses, eight staff and around 70 volunteers.

I've also recently completed my first novel, a horsey romance for adults based in the UK and New Zealand. It's called The Blackwood Mare and is available as an ebook on Amazon. If you don't have a Kindle to read ebooks on, you can download the free Kindle app on to a smartphone, laptop or iPad. I have started working on my next book but my busy life with work, kids and horses means it won't be out for a while yet.

What's the most challenging aspect of your RDA role?

We are always seeking volunteers and rely on them. Without them the place would not be able to operate. Funds, too, are always a worry. We don't receive government funding so rely on the generosity of the community.

What's your proudest work moment?

Probably the opening ceremony of our indoor arena complex in March 2012. The Governor General of New Zealand, Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae, and his wife, Lady Janine Mateparae, came to open the building. Also, being the only charity at the Tauranga CIB Police Charity Luncheon to have been recipients twice was pretty special and shows just how much this community is behind us.

What training/experience have you had to prepare for your role?

I come from a background of non-profit management, specialising in horse- and animal-related charities. I started with a bachelor of science in zoology and then worked for a number of equine welfare charities in the UK before managing equestrian centres in Australia and Malaysia. I have lived in New Zealand for eight years and I'm now a New Zealand citizen as well as being British. I have ridden and competed since childhood and am horse crazy! My main focus is now dressage.

What's the best piece of career advice you've received?

Find something you love doing, then find a way of getting paid to do it.

What's the most important thing your current role has taught you?

I only have to walk outside my office and see the amazing clients we have and what they achieve, and the smiles and concentration on their faces, to make my worries pale into insignificance. They never give up and nor should we, however hard things are.

How would you describe your work wardrobe?

I wear Dublin long leather boots, which are quite stylish but also very "yardy'', for being in and out of the stable block and arena as well as sitting at my desk. I always wear my chunky silver equestrian Jewellery from the Cambridge Collection. I tend to wear skinny fit jeans or a Denham skirt with a shirt or blouse.

In the winter I rug up with a sleeveless puffer jacket, horsey scarf and jersey. It's a weird job as far as clothes go because one minute I could be with the vet helping X-ray a horse and then next I could be in a networking meeting, so I try to span both without having to get changed! I always keep a pair of riding boots and chaps in my office in case I need to hop on a horse.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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