Passing on the baton

Published: 29th May 2024

It is another period of change at UKRN, as we prepare to say goodbye to Kate Mitchenall, who joined us back in January 2021, we have also recently welcomed Barbara Perata-Smith, on secondment from the CAA.

Transition periods like this offer a fresh perspective and opportunities for growth and as we say thank you to Kate for all her efforts, we also wish Barbara the best of luck in her new role.

We are delighted that both Kate and Barbara have taken the time to share their reflections with us.

Kate Mitchenall

I can’t quite believe that I have been part of the team at UKRN for over three years but now is the time for me to begin a new challenge.

I started my role at UKRN just before the world entered lock down, so it was a challenging time for us all, and since then we have seen huge adaptions in our ways of working. I have been part of so much change within the team at UKRN and for me one of the most satisfying was being part of a team which has matured in the way it works and how we engage with our members and stakeholders.

One of the appealing aspects of a role at UKRN is the diverse nature of work, issues and projects the team tackle with members, which has provided me with so much more learning and personal development than I expected. Through the varied networks I have gained knowledge in areas I could never have anticipated and it’s a part of the role I have really enjoyed; the networks are a brilliant demonstration of how our UKRN team enable our members to collaborate and share best practice.

It has been fantastic to be involved in the launch and development of our unique programme Next Gen NEDS. The scheme offers so many accessible layers to enable colleagues in regulation to network, gain knowledge, understand the NED role and progress their career.

Being part of such a special scheme since the beginning and seeing its evolution and impact on participants careers and has been a privilege.

I look back fondly on my time at UKRN and thank my fellow team members for being
a wonderful bunch to work with.

Attricia Archer, Director UKRN, says;

Over the past three years Kate has been integral in the development and delivery of our exciting next generation non-executive director scheme, a programme that is successfully driving diversity and career opportunities within the regulatory industry.

As well as this Kate has been facilitating complex and topical issues for a variety of networks such as Lawyers, Research and Diversity & Inclusion.

Kate has been an key member of our team consistently demonstrating enthusiasm, professionalism and an acute attention to detail. She is a true team player and will be greatly missed.

Barbara Perata-Smith

Six degrees of separation

I joined the UKRN from the Civil Aviation Authority in April this year, on a phased transition, to take on the role of Manager and Net Zero Lead.

I have, however, a long history of engaging with the UKRN, in different capacities, starting from my first secondment with the Network in 2016. I wanted to improve my strategy and policy-making skills and have exposure to regulation across the sectors, beyond aviation which was all I knew, and the UKRN, at the time a young start-up, fitted the bill.

Fast forward a few years, via returning to CAA, taking on a seat on the UKRN Climate Change Network, graduating to chairing the CCN and now joining as a bona fide member of staff, I feel like there has always been less than six degrees of separation between the UKRN and me!

And there are so many reasons I am proud to work for the small but impactful organisation that is UKRN: it promotes excellence through collaboration, a critical factor that enables cohesive, cross-sector progress; it focuses on topical issues that matter, such as climate change, resilience, vulnerability, sustainable economic growth and effective regulation; and it delivers tangible benefits to its members.

And this wouldn’t be possible without the UKRN’s capable, passionate and tightly knit team, who have made me feel very welcome.

In my first 90 days in post, I have continued to work with government on how to map out the net zero transition in a coordinated, cross-sectoral way, and I have supported the new Chair of the Climate Change Network to maximise the group’s value and effectiveness, as well as collaborating with the team on other activities. And I don’t doubt my portfolio of work will grow as I get settled in my role.

Here’s to the next 90 days and many hundreds more after that.

Attricia Archer, Director UKRN, says;

We are delighted that Barbara has returned to UKRN. She has been an ambassador for excellence through collaboration and brings with her a wealth of experience in strategy, policy and climate change. I’m certain she will have a big impact in achieving our strategic goals and shared challenges.