Reframe & Reset Your Career Podcast

Episode 63. Building A Successful Career And Business In TV: Insights From An Insider – Kimberly Gobolt

The TV industry is ultra competitive so how do you break in and build a successful career without any contacts in the media world? Kimberly Gobolt, the joint MD of executive search and staffing company Talented People discussed her journey and how she transitioned from being a Producer/ Director to building her business on Episode 63 of the Reframe & Reset Your Career podcast.

In this episode, we will learn about:

Forgetting your limiting beliefs and just asking: people are more helpful than you think,

In high pressure situations, don’t dwell on the negative,

How she got her big break by following up a random opportunity,

Becoming a director in TV and overcoming people’s preconceptions,

Building your personal brand by adding value and being generous,

The difficulties of being a working mother and juggling her career and family,

Starting a new venture and how a little naivety can be helpful,

What she looks for in a candidate and their CV and

Why diverse voices are so important in the TV industry.


The edited transcript of the interview is at the end. It has been edited for clarity and ease of reading. I hope you find it helpful.


Kimberly is joint MD of executive search and staffing company Talented People – which specialises in TV production and the creative industries. She produces and hosts The Imposter Club podcast – which gives a fascinating insight into the lives of content-makers and welcomes anyone who’s ever doubted themselves in their career (all of us?!).

Kimberly travelled the world as a self-shooting Producer/Director for popular factual series & documentaries on Channel 4, BBC, ITV & Channel 5 before turning her creativity and influence to the world of headhunting.

She saw a way of staffing the creative industries in a more human and inclusive way and so set up executive search and freelance talent company Talented People with Rosie Turner in 2017. Together with their wonderfully diverse and experienced team, they’ve been placing premium talent in behind the scenes roles with integrity and a smile ever since.

Kimberly’s usually talking – either on Teams, on her mobile or gesticulating behind a microphone, and if she isn’t, she’s watching copious amounts of catch up to feed her insatiable appetite for great TV.

Kimberly and I talked about building a personal brand and she told me “You have to work hard at giving generously in terms of content and your personality … you need a presence because if someone wants to look you up and find out about you, or if they’re wondering about whether to give you a role or not, they should be able to find something about you that helps them”.


People & Resources Mentioned

Radical Condor – Kim Scott

Lin-Manuel Miranda


Contact Kimberly






Reframe & Reset Your Career Resources & Contact Info

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LinkedIn Page:

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Thank you for your continued support of Reframe & Reset Your Career, I do appreciate it. The next episode is out on Weds 8th November with Professor Vanessa Patrick, the author of The Power of Saying No, marketing expert and the Associate Dean of Research and Bauer Professor of Marketing at the University of Houston. 

It would be great to hear from you, the listeners, and your thoughts about the podcast, YouTube channel or anything else, it’s always a pleasure to hear your views. I have had some great reviews but not had any way of responding. 


Edited Interview Transcript

Harsha: [00:00:00] Welcome to Reframe and Reset Your Career, a podcast to help if you’re looking for a job, feeling stuck in your career, or just trying to rediscover your why. I am your host Harsha Boralessa, and this podcast came from my passion for neuroscience and psychology and the interaction with career and personal development.

I will be interviewing recognized experts and successful professionals. And asking them to share the insights and strategies that have helped their careers thrive. Implementing change is not easy and does take time, but I do hope that their stories will inspire you on your path to greater success of fulfillment in your career.

Here are some highlights of today’s episode. 

Kimberly: You’ve gotta embrace every opportunity you want. If you really want something, I, I truly believe you can make it happen. One of the, the best things I’ve learned running a company is to understand your weaknesses and get help for those. Being kind, being nice, being easy to get on with for sure goes [00:01:00] a long way.

So walking this line of being understanding and empathetic as a boss, but also being very clear about what you expect and assertive. A degree of naivety is super healthy in any new venture. 

Harsha: Welcome to episode 63 of the reframe and reset your career podcast. Our guest today is Kimberly Godbolt. Kimberly is joint MD of executive search and staffing company, talented people, which specializes in TV production and the creative industries.

She produced and hosts the imposter club podcast, which gives a fascinating insight into the lives of content makers and welcomes anyone who’s ever doubted themselves in their career. Kimberley traveled the world as a self shooting producer director for popular factual series and documentaries on Channel 4, BBC, ITV and Channel 5 before turning her creativity and influence to the world of headhunting.

She enjoys watching [00:02:00] copious amounts of catch up to feed her insatiable appetite for great TV. Welcome, Kimberley. 

Kimberly: Thanks Harsha. Oh my gosh. It is quite mad, isn’t it? When you hear all of your career stuff boiled into about three or four sentences and you sort of feel like you’ve blinked and 42 years have gone by. But also quite proud of all that. So thanks.

Harsha: Exactly. It’s funny, that’s a comment that most people make on the podcast that they think when they hear back their bio, their career, they think, wow, that’s amazing. Is that really me? Did I really do all this?

Kimberly: I know  because when, when do you honestly sit back

and reflect on what you have achieved. It’s not often, or even if you do, it’s the small wins in a moment and then they’re gone. They’re not a whole year’s worth of achievements. So no, that’s pretty awesome. I’ll come on your show again. 

Harsha: And for just in case Lin Manuel Miranda is out there listening, I have a reasonable audience in the US. I think we’ve got to like give it to the universe and say, [00:03:00] Lin Manuel, Kimberly loves you.

Kimberly: Tap me up. I’m nicely stalking his team because I want him to guest on my podcast someday soon. I don’t think it’s unachievable, Harsha. I also think that you can kind of, you can speak things into existence.

So I appreciate your vibes. We share the creative industry space, clearly he’s a lot more successful and famous than me, but I, you know, I’ve got good reasons for getting him onto my show. So yeah, we will come to that. I’m sure.

Harsha: actually that’s an interesting point you raised Kimberly, I think this whole sort of six degrees of separation, you’re actually much closer to people than you realize.

And sometimes if you don’t ask and don’t put it out into the world, you just never know how close you are to people. And I actually, I think a lot of these people who achieve great things are actually pretty decent and they know the struggle that, people like us and other people are going through and everybody just wants a break.

And not because [00:04:00] there’s anything that we can do for them, but I think it’s about paying it forward. 

Kimberly: To some extent, I think if you don’t ask, you don’t get, and actually I think quite a lot of my team and my peers have always been kind of dumbfounded sometimes by my confidence in just asking, because I just think also it’s a numbers game.

The more people you ask in the nicest possible way with it not being a generic mail out, you know, you tailor it. The more people are likely to say yes. And most of the time they just can’t do it because of time. It’s not because they don’t want to. And all you need is one really good name, one really good tip or one really good job or whatever it is you’re talking about. And it works. So there’s, there’s just nothing to lose. 

Harsha: So I’m a big fan of the arts, like you are. Is there a performer, song, book or film, which you’d like to share apart from Lin Manuel Miranda? 

Kimberly: You’ve stolen it, you’ve done that in your intro. I was absolutely going to talk about Lin Manuel Miranda, specifically Hamilton when it first came out.

I heard of it. It’s such [00:05:00] a generic sort of title. It didn’t sound like anything. I didn’t really get it. And then the grapevine started heading my way. And I thought, okay, I really need to figure out what this is. In the meantime, I went to the cinema with my own son, I think then six, seven year old to see Mary Poppins, the second film, which had Lin Manuel Miranda in it.

My friend who had already been to see Hamilton and was a fan of Lin Manuel turned to me and went, that’s the guy who wrote Hamilton. And I was like, what? And he’s playing Dirk in Mary Poppins, surely not what he’s the hip hop guy? Finally got a ticket to go and see Hamilton, life was changed from then on.

So absolutely love it. I know, you know, a lot of you will obviously know and be in awe of it too. I find new things every day and I listened to the soundtrack nearly every day, but I find new things to be. Absolutely flummoxed by, in terms of the levels of talent, clever language, [00:06:00] music and then basically that fueled my desire to go and stalk everything that Lin Manuel has ever done.

And yeah, he, he would be one of my six at a dinner party. As well as one of my many that I would like to call my podcast. So, just going to keep talking about it and maybe it will happen.

Harsha: Hopefully we put it out there. We’ll see what happens. 

Kimberly: Yeah. Just don’t ask me to, to rap. I only do that in, in, in the privacy of my own home, very loudly,

Harsha: Very good. So it’s funny, I know very little about the TV business, but funny enough, I was actually interviewed live on Blue Peter when I was very young and for our, for our overseas listeners, Blue Peter is, or was a very big children’s TV program where they did interviews and silly things about making toys.

Yeah, yeah. And I actually loved that experience. And it’s that whole idea of going live. But. I think when, when I, when I did that, I was probably about 11 or 12. And I didn’t really think about the idea of, oh, it’s going live. There are [00:07:00] millions of people watching it and you don’t think about screwing up.

So, but I’m sure if I did that now, I’d be incredibly nervous. You’re just overthinking things. And I think with TV or doing anything live. Or even doing a presentation at work, sometimes when you overthink things and think about what can go wrong it’s, it’s quite terrifying. I mean, what do you think?

Kimberly: Oh, for sure. I’ve worked on a mix of live programming, like sort of Blue Peter style, but entertainment shows, I did things like Big Brother, which I suppose was. well, the live shows were live, obviously, but the actual, the recording of people in the house was, very quick and interactive and sharp, but you know, it was edited and things like Fame Academy, again, which is like a big entertainment sort of music show before I moved into more documentary formats.

And you’ll find in the world of TV, you just have to get a foot in the door anywhere. And figure out what you want to do and try and steer your way that way, you know, in, in the way that everybody does in [00:08:00] their own career, but now in terms of the live thing, I used to love live because it’s so exciting again.

It’s like theater, which as we’ve already established, I love because you only get one shot, you have to do it and then it’s done and you can’t dwell on it again. You mentioned a presentation at work. There’s something really, really exciting/ terrifying about preparing for something and then having to deliver and that feeling afterwards when you’ve done it, even if it didn’t go completely to plan, there’s that amazing sort of adrenaline rush, isn’t there of, oh, thank God I can go and get a drink.

I can go and, you know, just chill on the sofa or at least give myself a pat on the back before I get on with my next thing. And, you know, very much with live TV, there’s only so much rehearsal and stuff you can do and you have to deal with stuff. In the moment, which was always really exciting, sometimes things went brilliantly.

Sometimes they didn’t and you learn every single time and people also forget the last show or forget your last sort of presentation probably until your next [00:09:00] thing. So you kind of always have a chance to, to, to do better, I suppose. And actually that. Versus the creative agonizing of making a documentary over many, many months that there’s something really good to be said about that.

Because although you can hone your arts in a documentary and in many ways it’s, you know, it’s incredibly satisfying. It’s a totally different kettle of fish because you can rewrite, rewrite. Rewrite hundreds, thousands of times. You can recut something in the edit so many times. And the only deadline really is whoever you’re delivering it to, who your client is, whether it’s Netflix or channel four or, you know, NBC or whoever. 

Harsha: Yeah. And I think that’s a, that’s a great point about when you’re going live, you just have to. Always be prepared for the unexpected. And I suppose beforehand when you’re doing the preparation, it’s about thinking, okay, the interview can go this way or that way, and just being prepared, but also sometimes not thinking if something does come up, just almost go with your [00:10:00] gut instinct.

And yeah, hopefully if you have, the more you do it, the more experienced you become. And I think you can apply that to the world of just normal office work. If you’re in a meeting and something comes up.

Kimberly: It’s actually really personal. It’s something that I’ve learned about myself. I’m still learning about myself actually, when it comes to the way I present myself at work, the way I present a candidate when we’re putting them forward, the way I present on my podcast. Actually, I try and I try and work out what’s best. I’ve gone through all the motions, Harsha, of like over preparing and then delivering it down to zero preparation and delivering it and tried to figure out what I’m best at.

And actually, personally, I’ve learned that. I’m kind of better without thinking too hard, like even for this chat now, I know this is a lovely chat between friends and I’ve got some things that, you know, I’m sure that you’ll ask me about that. I can say I haven’t prepped because I think I would have made myself too nervous and I’ve started to [00:11:00] trust myself more that what I, what I know.

It’s kind of good enough, as long as I’m completely myself. And obviously you don’t want to be caught off guard. And if you’re doing a presentation for work, there’s a level of prep you’re always going to have to do. But I, you know, personally, I wouldn’t over do it. But then other people’s brains are wired in a different way and they need to do, you know, tons more.

Harsha: I suppose if you’re budgeting for pitching a TV series, you need to know what the budget is and the numbers.

Kimberly: You actually do. And, and be ready for them to say, and what happens in part three then? Or where’s the jeopardy gone once that person’s left the contest and you’re like, ah, so no, I take my hat off to the developers who do that kind of thing. My job is much easier than that. 

Harsha: So back to the beginning, I believe that you were interested in working in TV from an early age, but you went down a fairly traditional route of studying French and German at Bristol University, which for our overseas listeners is a very good [00:12:00] UK university.

Kimberly: I knew from probably nine or ten that I love the idea of working in TV. I really liked dancing and singing. I was one of those kids who always wanted to be in shows. And then I watched blue Peter that you were on one day and I thought, well, I’d love to be that person. The presenters, they get to do such cool stuff and they get to, you know, jump off cliffs and write reports and talk about climate change. I found that really exciting.


That always stayed in my head that something around cameras in a studio would be an awesome career. And then when it came to work experience at school, so a lot of schools encourage their students to go out and get a job when you’re 16. I did, I wrote loads and loads of letters to, cause that’s how old I am.


I wrote loads of letters to bosses of channels and any contacts I could find anywhere. My family are not. in the media. So I had to just crack on as you do and just figure it out. And eventually one person got back to me and said, you can come and work, have [00:13:00] work experience on a chat show called Esther with Esther Rantzan.

Google her if you don’t know her, she was a legend. And that really consolidated how much I wanted to work in TV because I just found it so incredibly exciting being on a set with cameras. But my parents being incredibly sensible people said you should go to university. Yeah. Great that you want a career in TV, but you should go to uni and get a degree in case it doesn’t work out.

So I started looking up media studies and then actually again, sensible parent, aso I’d like to take some respect for actually listening to them at this age, which you don’t normally do when you’re a teenager, quite a strong idea of what you want to do. I said, actually, it’s a good idea to do a subject or subjects that don’t relate to the TV industry, because actually you don’t need a degree to get into TV.

It’s something that I say to our candidates now. And I think we should be really honest that people from all backgrounds, all walks of life, we need them [00:14:00] in TV to be able to reflect the stuff that we’re making. So you don’t need to go to uni. I just wanted to, and so I ended up doing languages because I liked them.

I was good at them. And I thought maybe I could use languages in TV. Maybe I could be an interpreter for the BBC, or maybe I could work on a place in the sun which is a, you know, TV series about buying property abroad. So I saw it as no bad thing to do languages. And I had a riot at uni.

Brilliant time worked really hard, but also kept getting work experience along the way in TV. So I’m lucky, I suppose, I always knew what I wanted to do and I stuck to that. And I kept sort of adding to my CV even during my university degree. So that at least when I graduated, I had some stuff there that hopefully took me above other people who were sort of all applying for the same runner positions.

Harsha: So would you say your big break was Esther, getting that you’re foot in the door there or something later on, which helped?

Kimberly: Oh, actually, I do have a good story about getting my first paid [00:15:00] work placement. So again, actually, this goes back to my slight audacity of just asking, because if you don’t ask, you don’t get, right?

I was still at Bristol Uni. We went to a rugby match a big group of mates of mine, and it was being filmed for TV. I think it was Sky Sports and at the beginning of the match one of the guys wearing headphones and talk back and, you know, having a monitor sort of yelled up into the crowd. We’re down a sound person.

Is it, would anybody like to hold a boom for like the match? We’ll pay you 20 quid. And all my mates turned around and went, Oh, my name. I haven’t told anyone. So my nickname at uni was bubble because my mom used to yell Kimba bubble. And they thought that was hilarious. So anyway, so we’re like bubble, she’ll do it.

Kimberly will do it. And I was like, what, what? Oh yeah, fine. So I, I clambered over everybody. And over the railing at the front and this guy, I still remember his name, Rich, gave me the big boom, which records sound and [00:16:00] said, right, here it is. You need to kind of side gallop up and down the sidelines because we, you know, they want to be able to hear the kick of the ball.

And I thought this was like the absolute best thing that could ever have happened because I’m not even that interested in rugby. So there was me chatting to the camera guys and sound people pretending I was part of the crew, but 20 quid. And then at the end of it. I went up to the, the bigger team, they thought I was just going to disappear.

I went up to the bigger team, went, I really want to work in TV. Can I take an email address? Has anybody got any other work experience? And from that, I, I kept in touch with one of the exec producers and kept badgering him and eventually got a job as a runner on big brother. And I mean, that is a kind of a very random way of saying.

You’ve got to embrace every opportunity you want. If you really want something, I truly believe you can make it happen with the right approach and the right attitude and right place, right time, of course. But I could have either said no to that opportunity or just not done anything about it. So it was amazing.

And I’m so [00:17:00] grateful for that because then that spiraled on and the TV industry is. It’s a very freelance industry. You don’t often get a staff job somewhere for years on end. You go from freelance job to freelance job. Some of them are one day. Some of them are a week. Some are a month. Some are a year.

And so in order to maintain that sort of network, it’s so incredibly important to make a good impression, talk to everybody and keep contact details. And that’s how you get your next kind of contract. So yeah, a bit brazen. But it worked and I’ve got a great story out of it for you. 

Harsha: Yeah, and actually I think there’s so many great points, Kimberly, which come out of that, the whole idea of, you know, you’re, you’re effectively your own company almost, and you have to effectively build up these relationships with, with other people.

And you can equally apply that to the world of work that you think of yourself as a startup and you’re engaging with, with companies and effectively you’re contracting your services to them. And, you know, the whole idea of building this network and people. know that they can count on [00:18:00] you and they can trust you because a lot of times I think people just want the job to be done to the right standard.

I mean, clearly, if you can exceed those expectations, that’s great. But really, it’s about just getting the job done to time to budget. And I think when you. Build your network and people know, it’s like your personal brand. They’ll know that Kimberly, she’ll get it done. She, she can use a boom. And for people who haven’t met Kimberly yet, you’re not a, like a massive, you know, you’re quite a diminutive person. So, so you’re running up and down the touchline. 

Kimberly: I know. It’s not easy. And actually that’s some, that, that was some some bias I definitely had talking about kind of the way that I look and the challenges and the hurdles that you face. I moved up through the ranks as a freelancer to a researcher, to a producer, to a director.

And by the time I was directing, I was also shooting. So there’s a role in television called self shooting. Producer/[00:19:00] director, which is actually when you boil down to it in the olden days, about three jobs, but because of budgets, it ends up being one. So that means I’m literally holding and operating the camera, thinking about the shot that I’m filming and whether it is going to work in the edit, whether it looks nice, as well as thinking of the questions and the content that I need.

But I would come, I would turn up on shoots. And I worked on stuff as well, like Super Nanny. Oh, that’s a big American show that your global listeners will know. And Super Nanny was you know, massive show, massive talent. But I would turn up in the UK version anyway, and it was just me sometimes with a researcher who was more junior and would help with general staff.

And the contributors, the families that I was filming with would. Especially when it was the guys, the dads would go, when’s the cameraman turning up? And I’d be getting my camera out, assembling it, just thinking hard about my best retorts to that. But generally I was like. Yeah, that’s me. There are camera women as [00:20:00] well.

And actually, I’m really good at this. So, you know, and I used to get that a lot. I’m the team. I am the team. Exactly. So no, I used to get that a lot. Because not many women self shoot or that more than ever, which is fantastic. But there are lots of reasons why they don’t. And also the, the, the sort of traditional gender bias of.

Women do the producing, men do the directing, which is not okay anymore and certainly not right, but it’s a hangover from the days where women didn’t work as much in this sort of industry. 

Harsha: Yeah, I think those are great points. And it’s that whole idea of perception. How do you change people?

Unfortunately, we all have unconscious biases. And, you know, To, to, to some extent, and it’s, you know, how do you get around that? How do you change that? I mean, maybe I suppose with your building your personal brand you know, you obviously you’ve created a lot of great content, you know, you post on LinkedIn.

So even I suppose now if people, somebody was to be Kimberly Godbold, [00:21:00] they would be able to look at all that stuff on the internet and see, okay, Kimberly’s brand is this, we know what we’re getting, et cetera, et cetera.

Kimberly: It’s something that I advise new entrants. To the industry as well as those who are already established, but don’t have a presence online that I really do think you have to work hard at giving a generously in terms of content and your personality on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook and Instagram and all those things, you need a presence.


Because if someone wants to look you up and find out about you, or if they’re, they’re wondering about whether to give you a role or not, they, they should be able to find something about you that helps them realize that you’re the right.

And if they either can’t find anything about you or find stuff, which is inappropriate, then you may, you may well not, not get the job. And, but I also, I think I really enjoy it. I really enjoy having that kind of influence that you know, something that I, I feel [00:22:00] very privileged in my position of talking to brilliant, talented people every single day and hearing nuggets of interesting things every single day and.

Other people in the industry, as you know, I’ve said it’s a freelance industry, are sitting at home or at work feeling very alone, thinking, being only inside their head, worried that their last, you know, their last contract is their best reference. So if anything goes wrong, if they say anything, if they stand up to anybody, or, you know, if they do something wrong, they’re only as good as their last job.

And. Therefore it is a really lonely place to to, to be in a weirdly social industry. So I feel that by posting interesting content or stuff that I’ve heard or things that I’m brave or I can say because I’m not attached to a company and I’m not involved in politics. Yeah. I feel like I kind of should do it.

I mean, I don’t wanna sound like I’m kind of math, no , but that’s ridiculous. But I do feel [00:23:00] liberated in that I can say. I did a post last week about Edinburgh TV festival that got loads of traction because people were like, thank you for saying that. We can’t afford to go there either. It’s not just freelancers, it’s also companies.

And it’s, you know, because I’m not worried about getting the sack because I’m my own boss with my partner. I, I feel like I can say that stuff. And like I say, you know, all the nuggets of information that I hear all day, every day, I feel sort of without breaking any confidences, obviously I feel that.

It’s, it’s a lovely thing to be able to share what I’m hearing and seeing with a wider audience as well as then people getting a feel for who I am because I very much write as I talk. 

Harsha: Yeah. And I think that’s a really interesting point you make about, you know, people being scared to sometimes say things that are obvious, but they’re just too scared to say it because There’s a career limiting move or there’s a risk to their brand or somebody else.

But sometimes these things just have to be said. And it’s interesting. I think [00:24:00] say at work, if you’re trying to get promoted or you’re trying to get a negotiator raise with your boss. If he or she, and it’s, I suppose it’s the men who are probably worse than the women. If they, if they think that you have no options and they’re the only show in town, they’ll treat you really badly.

And they’ll think, Oh, Harsha and Kimbley. They have no options. They’ll just suck it up. We’ll give them, whatever the minimum is to keep them. Even if you’re doing an amazing job. And I think sometimes in life You know, if you can, if you feel you can walk away and I’m not saying that, like, if you have a mortgage, if you have obligations, you can’t just walk out on your job, but I think you should always think, okay, can I like save a little bit of money?

Can I have an, a nest egg? Because you, sometimes there are situations where you just can’t stay. If, if it’s really bad. Illegal or unethical things going on and you just don’t want to be associated with that. And I think it’s, it’s quite powerful to be able to have the ability to say, fine, I’m just, no, I’m not like, I’m [00:25:00] going to quit now and walk out.

Sometimes you’d like to do that, 

Kimberly: but in reality, 

Harsha: Also I think human beings they’re like animals in a way they can sense if you’re desperate and you know, if you’re not desperate and you can walk, people just treat you so much better. I mean, what do you think? 

Kimberly: Yeah, I think having belief in yourself. And a certain confidence about you and making sure that you’re not, all your eggs are in one basket can only be a good thing. So, and by that, I mean, making sure that you’re kind of, you’re, you’re giving generously on LinkedIn or you know, in your career in other ways, whether that’s as a mentor or by volunteering somewhere.

I mean, there are only so many hours in a day, obviously, but by adding value to your own CV, but also to your own self worth. That can only be advantageous and do good things because definitely my industry and I know in others that [00:26:00] goodwill and networking is going to get you ahead of the game and, you know, bonus points if it’s all genuine and not just, you know, sales spiel all the time.

So no, I think having value in your connections and yourself and therefore being able to have options should something go wrong at work. Yeah, it’s very sensible indeed. 

Harsha: And also, I think that whole thing about being nice to people getting people to like you, you can’t force people to like you, but I do think that you know, if you’re, you’re straight with people, you do your job, people will like you and I think you can build.

Pretty decent careers on just the fact that you’re a likable person and you’ll get things done. And I think people shouldn’t ever underestimate that. That’s a very powerful thing. 

Kimberly: Yeah. I think being kind, being nice, being easy to get on with for sure goes a long way. Although I was just thinking some people in the TV industry may disagree with that because there are still quite a lot of big egos [00:27:00] knocking about who can act any way that they like.

And still get hired, but I I’m, I’m happy to report that, you know, with the sort of work that we’re doing and also the general state of, you know human and kind calling these things out more, I think we’re on the, on the right side of of those personalities and slowly sort of phasing them out or certainly jumping up and down and feeling more willing.

To call people out or to not work for that company again, or that person again if that’s happening, but no, I’m, I’m awful being nice. There’s, it’s a really interesting book, I’m sure some people have read called radical candor. Do you know that?

I’m going to explain it really badly now. So you probably should go and get the book, but I always think of this chart in it that is on the one side, you’ve got being sort of overly aggressively honest. And on [00:28:00] the other side is being what, what she calls ruinously empathetic.

And the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle. Because if you are way too empathetic and you know, let anybody do anything and feel sorry for everybody who has a sick day or needs to do something or, you know at personal circumstances, then you probably won’t have a successful business because people might walk all over you.

However, if you are too aggressively honest, then. That is also a bad thing. And you become a, you know, you get reputation for being a horrible boss. So walking this line of being understanding and empathetic as a boss, but also being very clear about what you expect and assertive is very important. And it’s something that certainly I have had to learn since running a business because everybody wants to be nice, but if you’re getting your.

Two, if there’s such a thing as too nice, I don’t know that that’s a discussion in itself, but you certainly need to know how to lay down your rules or what you need or sell as a business anyway to cement [00:29:00] that work. But I believe you can also do that as a good human being with, you know, All the right personality of a nice person too.

Harsha: And also, I think if you’re transparent with your staff and tell them, look, you know, maybe if income is coming down, we have to cut back on, you know, like going to Edinburgh or parks and we have to just. Tighten our belts, I think people are more reasonable than you realize. And also, I think they’re more intelligent about understanding the business and how these things work, especially in a small business.

They can see, look, if you don’t have loads of candidates coming in or loads of new opportunities, then clearly the income is going to go down. So we have to think about how can we adapt accordingly. 

Kimberly: Absolutely. Yeah. Yeah. I think being inclusive as well as an employer is really important. And I kind of can’t help that because I’m an overshare anyway, I have to sort of hold myself back sometimes saying too much.

But no, I definitely think that, you know, sharing and involving people also gives them [00:30:00] a real loyalty to you and a real respect for their boss. And, you know, to feel included also means to feel invested in a company and its ethos and its boss.

Harsha: So what actually inspired you to start your own business, Kimberly?

Kimberly: Well, it was less of an inspiration and more of a small human being pushed out of my body. So I have a, I have a love hate relationship with the fact that I moved out of TV production and into talent management because I loved directing and I’d worked so hard. To get to the point I was and starting to get really great films to direct.

But I knew I wanted to have a family and I knew that I couldn’t leave that forever, but I had no idea how it was going to work once I had a baby because not only it wasn’t in just the time out of work, that’s kind of a given you can take chunks of time out of freelance job and it’s fine. It was more about.

How am I going to drop everything and get on a plane to film this documentary or this news piece, [00:31:00] or this show in Azerbaijan tomorrow, and where you don’t know how long you’re going to be away? How on earth do you work out how to do the childcare surrounding that? So I went back after my first. Child, I went back to work in TV still as a development producer, which is the person that is coming up with ideas for new TV shows.

But again, I felt really compromised. I didn’t like the person I was being because I was having to commute in and out of London from Surrey. I was desperate to get back for. bath time, bedtime, but couldn’t quite manage it. And yeah, I also felt like I wasn’t doing my best. I wasn’t doing my best work at work and I wasn’t, I didn’t feel like I was being the best mum I could at home.

So I felt really compromised and really unhappy, even in a job that was more stable and less drop everything and go and film than it was before. So. There’s a role in our industry called talent managing, which is a kind of an in house HR person to an extent or recruiter in, in the production companies itself.

And I [00:32:00] knew a lot of them because I often emailed them or called them up about work as a freelancer saying, have you got anything for me? So I went to a few of my sort of go tos, one of which is Rosie Turner who is now my partner in crime at Talented. People and I called her and said, Rosie I’m sort of struggling to say this out loud, but I think I want to leave directing and do a more stable, ideally part time job in talent.

And she was like, come in right now. I need to interview. I need to talk to you about this. So I was like, okay. But honestly, I felt really, I kind of felt upset about it because I felt like I was sort of throwing away these years and years of career that I’d built to do something that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to do.

So I was really in two minds, but I really like Rosie. I was offered a job with her and we started working together and thank goodness, I never looked back because I loved it so much. And what I found was I had, I had a skillset. From directing and from having come [00:33:00] up through the ranks as well in lots of different jobs that really lent itself to engaging with the people that we were trying to find work for and understanding their job.

I understood the jobs I was recruiting for because I had done them and that felt like the absolute best. Scenario. So I was able to geek out about what kind of camera the person used because I had used that camera. I was able to talk about casting a series because I had done it myself. And equally, when I was kind of selling the shortlist to the in house hiring manager or executive producers.

We would probably call them, then I could, I could do a really good pitch. And I just felt, although it wasn’t picking up a camera and creating content that made me happy, it was, it was a different kind of happy, a different kind of satisfaction feeling like I’m really good at something else. And I haven’t lost all of my skillset and I get to work Monday to Wednesday and go home and have two days with my child, which was like the [00:34:00] absolute best case scenario.

So. I was really thrilled to have found that career that if, although I was doubtful about it actually didn’t feel like a down step or even a compromise in the end, it felt like a new career in the same industry for me. 

Harsha: That’s really interesting you made that point because

like a lot of women, when you’ve had your, your child, you feel torn in two directions. You’ve got your career and you are trying to get to the, the zenith of that. But then also you have your children and you want to spend time with them. And it’s almost like this no win scenario.

And, and you feel terrible as if you’re not, as you were saying, you are not doing well at either thing. 

Kimberly: Exactly. Yeah. I found my feet in that job with Rosie, but we were being employed by a company. And although it was ticking my, yes, I can get home for, for bath time.

And I get a couple of days off in the week with with [00:35:00] Max and I was being, you know, relatively creatively satisfied there was still. An itch for me because I was so used to creating content and really I guess kind of, I’ve come to realize, I think I like the hustle. I didn’t realize that’s what I was doing as a director, but in a way you’re kind of hustling for the best soundbite for the best story for, you know, albeit, albeit you’re putting a.

You’re being a chameleon to work with people and make them feel comfortable. And I never really did very super glossy shows when I was directing. It was much more subtle documentary, but you’re still trying to get to a point and kind of win at something or have the best at something. And then also trying to find your next contract was a bit like hustling as well, but you’re doing your own kind of.

Brand spokesperson. So that was still missing for me. So Rosie and I chatted over the years and I ended up having my second child while I was still employed at that original company. And then we spotted a niche in the market, which was not every, not every TV company can afford to have this role, [00:36:00] this talent manager role in house.

There are lots of small to medium sized companies that just kind find their own people when they get a big commission. And That’s, that’s really sad because we’ve got all this skill set and we know all these people and we’re really well versed in diversity and inclusion and, you know, we can help them be more responsible than just pick up the phone to the last person they work with their friends.

Exactly. We should be helping them. So we, we, we we sort of swallowed hard, left the job. I left the job. Rosie had left a bit before me and set up the company and we never look back. I mean, when I think now. If I, the other day someone said to me, Oh, wow, you know, you’ve been running six years now.

What, you know, what have you learned? I was like, well, how long have you got? But if I think now, would I have set up the company if I knew everything about what involves, what is involved in running a company and what we were going to face in terms of a pandemic and and the current industry situation, which is pretty, pretty dire at the moment, would I have set up a company?[00:37:00] 

And I’m thinking I may not have. You might not have, but that’s a good thing, right? And I would say this to anybody even considering doing something to for themselves by themselves is again, don’t overthink it. You know, you obviously need to have a certain level of skillset and a level of confidence, but if you overthink.

Then you probably won’t do it. And actually a level, a degree of naivety is super healthy in any new venture and, you know, being willing to make mistakes and learn from them, you know, realizing you’re not going to know everything and you have to figure it out is perfectly okay and acceptable. And it makes you who you are.

And actually, if you share it, if you’re human about it. It makes you inherently likable, I think, and we’ve certainly been there, and it’s been a rough ride over the last few years, but we’ve also had such incredible moments, and we’re really, really proud of what we’ve done and what we continue to do, but who knows what the next sort of 5 to 10 years is going to hold, but I’m just so, so glad that we took that [00:38:00] punt and Slightly naively walked into this world of running a business as two working mums, juggling everything whilst, you know, trying to make some money to to, to, to, to pay the mortgage and feed everyone. There’s a lot of spaghetti hoops that need to be need to be bought in the supermarket. 

Harsha: Exactly. I think that whole point about ignorance is such a great point because. Before starting the podcast, I had no clue about any of the mechanics and it was only by appearing on a podcast with a friend and he was showing me how to do it.

The editing is not as complicated as you think it is. And actually, it’s simply just a chat between friends and hopefully making that person feel comfortable. 

Kimberly: The main thread of my entire career has been about people. I like talking to people. I like stories and getting people to tell their stories has been what I’ve always done from, being annoying at university and wanting to [00:39:00] find out everything of that other person and, working out how I connect with them.

And then going into TV and, and drawing out a story of a contributor who’s either nervous or, we’ve convinced to come on a program to do something really important that is, Hard for them to tell the story, but the right thing and an amazing thing to do for a wider audience, making them feel comfortable, but yeah, getting what you need from them.

And then people again, moving into my career as a talent manager, finding people and matching people. Two jobs is is something that I love doing and that sense of satisfaction when especially for a headhunt for a permanent role, when, you know, it’s a huge process and a huge, it’s something so important for a company.

If they’re gonna invest a year or a permanent salary in somebody, they have, they have to be the right fit because they’re also paying a recruitment fee. So, it is time, it’s money, and if you get it wrong, it’s really costly. So I absolutely [00:40:00] love. I love it when we get amazing feedback from having placed somebody in a role and both parties are happy.

So people and making people happy and story seems to thread everything together for me. So I feel like as long as I’m doing something with all of those. Sort of boxes ticked, then I’ll be happy. Oh, and add a little bit of like being terrified about new things, because there’s some reason I like, I like doing that to myself too, like you in the podcast, I feel like once I get into a groove with something at work, there’s this little itch again, and I’m like, what should I do now?

That’s new and scary. I think, should I just sit down and enjoy it and just bump along like some other people, no, I need to do something challenging. 

Harsha: Yeah. I suppose you’re, in quite an interesting position becausey you’re seeing a lot of candidates, you’re seeing their positives and their negatives.

What are the things that you’re looking for as a talent manager?

Kimberly: In terms of CVs, the actual logistics of a CV, it has to be incredibly [00:41:00] clear. It has to be not very wordy. Again, I think it’d be interesting to see what the sort of the international audience think, but certainly in the UK, you don’t actually want too much of a hard sales pitch about the person at the top.

I mean, a couple of sentences is fine about who you are and what you do, but then in terms of, you know, our sort of style of CV, you want to know what they’ve done and actually not what, not just what they’ve done, but what was involved in the, in the role. I think some, quite a lot of people fall into the trap.

Of just putting the job title and the thing that they and the company they worked out and the years and in our industry, just the title of the TV program and that’s not enough, or it might be a title super nanny, a show where an expert Joe Frost you know, helps. Parents with their problematic children.

It’s like, well that’s, I know what the show is. What did you do with it? What did you do? Yeah, so I think it’s trying to find on a cv, you want to very succinctly get a feel of the person and, and what sort of [00:42:00] level they’re operating at, and then what they have done, what value they have added in every role that they’ve done.

And again, I try to get people to be. Very tangible about the figures or the numbers or the things, cause it’s all very well saying, Oh, I, spoke to some people and found them for this program or I I had to lead a team, a really big team and we had to deliver X, Y, Z, well, how many people on the team, how tight did you have to deliver that project actually being, being as, as specific as you can on your CV is a really good thing.

But also personally. I mean, you probably get this from my chat. I really like a bit of personality. I don’t mean big jazz hands on a CV and I don’t mean big colorful logos. And some people put some people put a big picture of themselves. I’m not a fan of that. I think it needs to be clean, neat, a little bit of color, fine.

Maybe with some dark blue lines or some dates in a different color, but nothing too fancy, but personality. I think you can bring in, in the way that you’ve written it. So I think you [00:43:00] can, you can be fairly informal actually on your CV or like the way that you write a sentence I think is quite telling about the person.

And there’s ways of injecting a little bit of humor or a little bit of something a bit different. And actually I also really like, and this is totally personal and not everybody wants to talk about it, but I do want to know if you come from a different ethnic background or if you are disabled or if you have.

Something about you or you’re from a low socioeconomic background or something which kind of genuinely affects the way you see the world compared to someone else. Not just for the sake of DEI and thinking you might get an interview for it, but. By saying, you know, I’m from a huge family with Sri Lankan origin and, you know, we get together every Friday and have huge family meals.

I mean, I’d love to read stuff like that on a CV. I mean, clearly your CV doesn’t need to be all about that stuff. And the most important thing is your work history. But I definitely like a flavor of that because it makes me, it makes me interested in [00:44:00] you as a person rather than just, okay, this CV versus this CV.

They’re all, they’re all qualified. 

Harsha: I think that’s a great point. It’s, almost like looking at yourself and thinking, okay, what is it that makes me unique? What is it that makes me different? And I think for a good employer, they’re actually looking for different voices in the room.

Whereas probably 20 years ago, they were saying, okay, we want Oxbridge people or, you know, from these big universities. And they’ve got to be a particular type, maybe more men than women. Yeah, the usual. spiel, but you know, nowadays, I suppose things are changing and you need to have different voices in the room because you’ve got to.

Kimberly: The TV industry for certain and everybody needs to do better because the stuff that we are making has to reflect the people who are watching it.

Otherwise, it makes absolutely no sense and also is incredibly patronizing. I mean, [00:45:00] imagine in a whole. room full of middle aged white men who all went to Oxford or Cambridge, you know, brainstorming ideas for the period of Ramadan, you know, that makes no sense. Like why would that, why, you know, that’s, that would be a terrible idea and would produce terrible results.

And thankfully, you know, with a lot of hard work and constant talking about it and, you know, peers and colleagues of mine do loads as well, but, you know. We are getting better at that. The industry is getting better at that. But it’s hard because everybody wants to work with someone that they trust and that they know, and there’s an element of risk of a big element of risk aversion, but, you know, thankfully more than ever, you know, we’re getting people from all kinds of backgrounds in the room and who are being listened to and heard and having influence on the content that you see on TV.

Harsha: I think if you’re just doing the same thing the whole time, you’re just going to get a very stale product. So I think it’s almost like a, a career enhancing move to be getting [00:46:00] these different voices in and not just in a sort of tokenistic way, but actually when they have real input into the, the development and the production and all that sort of stuff, isn’t it?

Kimberly: Absolutely. And there are some broadcasters out there who we’re working with who. I’ve really got that now and that, you know, unless they have people in the room who are not, not junior either, you know, cause there are, there’s never enough, but there are quite a lot of initiatives for people at grassroots level.

It’s the mid to senior level talent that is vital in playing an influential part. Of any sort of film or TV production and that’s going to genuinely bring something to the table that somebody else may not have, you know, whether that’s the way something looks or a contributor that they know or something from their culture that affects the way they write something or do something is, is totally key.

And if you’re not doing it as a hiring manager, if you’re listening, then you are totally behind. The curve [00:47:00] and also massively missing out on a rich, happy team, but not just that, they’re not a much better end product with more voices contained.

Harsha: I just love that. And I’m just looking at the time. We haven’t even discussed like half the things I wanted to talk about, 

Kimberly: You skip ahead wherever you want to go.

Harsha: What I did want to give you the opportunity to talk about was your wonderful podcast. And that seems to be done incredibly well, obviously on Apple Career Podcasts and various top charts. So do you just wanna tell our listeners a little bit about that.

Kimberly: Obviously it’s not as good as your podcast Harsha! It’s done really well. It’s called The Imposter Club. And my thinking behind it was that certainly in the creative industry, and I’m sure in many other industries, we, we get to a point where we [00:48:00] think, are we going to be found out at some point?

I feel like a total fraud. How have I got here? Or I don’t know what I’m doing. How does everybody else know what they’re doing? And I don’t know. And no one’s found me out yet. That’s the kind of premise of actually. None of us know what we’re doing, or there are certainly elements of our career where we do know what we’re doing, but actually there are, you know, some parts that we really don’t and but we’re scared to ask for help.

And so the imposter club is a, it’s a warm. Community and podcast of people who work predominantly in film and TV at the moment, but we’re, you know, we’re going to look at a future series in other industries where super successful people come on and chat to me about the times that they have failed. The times where they have felt like a fraud, the times where they have experienced imposter syndrome and how they handled that and what that has done to shape their career in the hope that anyone [00:49:00] listening who has felt the same can listen to somebody that they know and respect in the industry and go.

Oh, thank God. It’s not just me. And also learn something to take into their own careers in, in TV and film. So no, just like you, it’s a, it’s a fun chat where, you know, I get to kind of pick the brains of people that I respect from my career and talk to them on a level because we’re, you know, we’re in the same industry and give them the opportunity to go.

I know I run a channel or I know I run a company, or I know I’ve won a BAFTA for this thing. I Dot, dot, dot, dot. And there’s something really… Exciting about that. And it feels, I dunno, it feels like you’ve sort of, you, you, people don’t have freelancers in my industry. Don’t have access to people like that, like I do on a day to day basis.

So again, it’s part of me feeling like I want to give back a bit and share the stuff that I hear with some very lonely people who are just trying to make ends meet and be as creative and successful as they possibly can in their own careers.

Harsha:. Yeah, that’s a great [00:50:00] premise. Yeah. And there’s so many good points there because if you can look behind the curtain and see people who you admire, and actually they have the same neuroses and worries is this my last job? Do people still care? Do they like me? So I think it’s really interesting. It’s that whole reframing the process and saying to yourself, look, actually look at the things that you have and sometimes you almost have to be kind to yourself and look at your achievements and almost be a slightly megalomaniacal and say, look, I can’t be a complete idiot.

If like yourself, you’ve directed this stuff, you produce this stuff and it’s there, you know, it’s not as if it’s some nebulous thing. These are actually real TV programs.

Kimberly:. Yeah. And let me tell you running a business all my life that, I mean, I honestly don’t think anyone knows what they’re doing when they’re running a business to a degree.

I mean, it’s certainly the stuff that you do for the first time is like, you know, I remember looking at [00:51:00] Rosie and going, so what we’ve, we’ve got to find some legal T’s and C’s about for our first contract with a client. Right. And then, you know, you can’t afford a lawyer. So using these templates and you having to switch your brain into something, you know, That’s not your usual area and go, okay, well, as long as, you know, we are protected to a degree, maybe this is okay.

And then you’re sending or sending your first invoice as an MD of a company. You know, I mean, I don’t mind admitting this stuff because I just think people, people put on a real front and pretend that they know what they’re doing. They really don’t. I remember sending my first invoice almost like, Ooh, please pay it.

You know, are you definitely gonna pay it for the stuff that we, we did do loads of great work for you. Is that okay? Is it okay if we charge you? You know, is it okay? Is my template okay? Does it look pretty? You know, and there’s just been so many pinch me moments where I’ve gone, I can’t believe that person just took me seriously.

Yeah. And, and again, this is, it’s silly because I know I’m good at what I do. Yeah. I know that I can do what I’m saying I can do, but that sort of, sort of, [00:52:00] Imposter monster, as we’ve taken to calling him or her is there going, do you, are they really going to believe you or are you really good enough to do this?

And to a degree it’s healthy because it keeps you in check. Right. And that’s what a lot of my guests on the podcast tend to say, but. You have to kind of push through it and go, no, it is fine. This is just a bit fly by the seat of your pants. And if you make a mistake, you’d be honest about it and figure it out later.

And all these things add up to fantastic experience that makes you more knowledgeable in the long run about what you’re doing, but I refuse. To agree that anyone setting up their own business doesn’t feel like an imposter at various points. 

Harsha: There are always going to be things that you don’t know, because in a way, as an MD, you cannot be an expert at everything.

And I suppose the real skill there is realizing, okay, what are the real risks? You know, if we do, this is the company. Going to go bankrupt. Yes. And I think that’s the real skill, isn’t it? Just thinking, okay, where you really do need that [00:53:00] advice or somebody else, or even just talking about it to somebody else.

Because I think if you keep it in your head it, it always gets worse. Whereas if you actually talk to somebody about it I mean, what do you think 

Kimberly: Definitely. And one of the best things I’ve learned running a company is to understand. Your weaknesses and get help for those or the things that you really don’t enjoy.

And therefore you drag your feet on and then it doesn’t get done. If you can afford to outsource that stuff, then you should identify it as soon as you can and then do it. Leaving you time for the stuff that you love, which is going to show in your end product. And the stuff that you’re genuinely really good at where you should be spending your time.

Harsha: It’s been so much fun having you on the show, we could keep chatting for hours, but one thing I’d like to offer my guests is, is there anybody you’d like to thank? Who’s helped you in your career? Would you like to give a shout out to anybody out there? 

Kimberly: That’s so nice. Is this like a BAFTA speech where I stand up?

Harsha: No, no, just, just, [00:54:00] just one or two. 

Kimberly: Oh, so I can’t reel them all off. I think I’m going to say my mum, she always steered me in the right. Way when I so easily could have just gone and tried to get into telly without any sort of academics. She made me do that. And that was a good thing. And she’s always been there and who else?

My partner, Rosie at work. We’ve got the best working relationship. She actually lives in Australia, which is about as extreme as flexible working as you can get. Because we both work UK hours kind of, but yeah, we have each other’s backs. We know when. We know what we’re both good at now. We totally respect each other.

And we also have lots of fun and there’s no way on earth I would set up this business. Without Rosie. So yeah, I’ll thank her. 

Harsha: And yeah, shout out to all the mothers out there, including mine and my father as well. 

Kimberly: All the working mums out there, you’re doing an amazing job and don’t beat yourself up is what I would say.

Don’t beat yourself up about it, but [00:55:00] stand back and think about what you can control and try and do more of that. But yeah, it’s a tough gig. But we are, we are awesome. 

Harsha: Fantastic. Well, I’m Kimberly. Thank you. Yeah. Once again, for all your time, it’s been so much fun. Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Hopefully your kids are not going to come back and cause chaos. 

Kimberly: That’s a given, It just definitely will happen.

Harsha: Take care  Kimberly. Thank you so much for listening and staying to the end. That was such a fun interview.


*Reframe & Reset Your Career, including any comments made by the host and guests, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute advice of any description, including but not restricted to financial, legal, investing or medical advice.*

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