Katya Willems

Freshwalking with... Katya Willems

Katya is a social media manager and photographer, specialising in food businesses. After working for ten years at the BBC in a variety of roles, Katya (who now freelances) works with a plethora of businesses, including: Cracking Wine, Olive Strachan Resources, The Cheeseyard, Mike Pye Marketing and Art Battle. Katya is also our reigning Queen of Freshwalks, after placing first on our leaderboard – racking up 348km in 2017. Never one to shy away from bad weather or a big hill, Katya always contributes greatly to the positive spirits of Freshwalks. You can find out more about Katya on her LinkedIn profile.

Freshwalking with... Katya Willems

Freshwalking with... Katya Willems

Tell us about your first Freshwalks?

It was back in July 2015: I was in a full time job and keen to change career, so I went along to a Bleaklow Freshwalks. I was very nervous, but I had an awesome day.

How many have you attended?

I would say I must have attended at least 20. (NB: It’s more than that!)

Why do you come back?

It lifts my spirits every single time. I meet bright, energetic, positive, entrepreneurial and lovely people and form really meaningful bonds…. And I love being out in nature and walking; it’s good for the soul!

What’s your favourite route?

Anything with a big hill and brilliant views (which, I admit, is most of them)!

The something you always bring?

My camera.

Favourite Freshwalks memory?

Colin the overweight corgi refusing to walk the final mile of a recent walk. He just sat down and wouldn’t budge. In the end he had to be carried, which was not easy as Colin is about the size of a 7 year old child! I was in fits of laughter. [See ‘Muddy Paws’ blog for more on Colin].

Has Freshwalks led to any business or opportunity?

I only started out as a freelancer last year, and the support and contacts gained from Freshwalks have been invaluable. Going freelance has been scary, but going on Fresh Walks every couple of weeks really peps me up and gives me lots of ideas.

Recommend three people you have met on Freshwalks?

Mike Pye, Andy Fleet and Lewis Herridge.

How does Freshwalks challenge typical networking formats?

It breaks down the normal awkwardness of networking events. I think being in nature and exercising peels back layers a bit; people become more relaxed and you get to know them better than you ever would at a more traditional networking event.

Freshwalks is a combination of exercise, networking, sharing knowledge and thinking time. How do you balance those components?

I just go with the flow – I know that I’ll meet really interesting people on each walk, so I don’t need to have a strategy. I just enjoy myself and I’m naturally just chatty and interested in talking to people, and that inevitably leads to me getting some good business advice and building contacts, at the same time as having a very nice time!

Suggest one new place for us to go.

North Wales.

Sum up Freshwalks in three words.

Buzzing, Soulful, Inspiring.

How does it feel to place first on the Freshwalks Leaderboard 2017?

I’m so chuffed to be top of the leaderboard. Freshwalks was an important part of making 2017 a special year for me and being ‘first’ really compounds that feeling.

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