Mar 8, 20203 min read

Interview with Victoria Watmough, Commercial Director at Klarna.

Emily Thomas

by Emily Thomas

Where did you start your career, did you always know what you wanted to do?

I wanted to wear a suit and work in London – the second part came true, however it’s more trainers and jeans working for a fintech! I was offered my first job post-uni, following an internship for a PR agency in Liverpool. I worked on accounts ranging from hotels to The Prince’s Trust. It was super fast-paced and I had to learn quickly and be creative. My boss Jane, was results driven – this was instilled in me.

What are the greatest challenges or frustrations you face as a woman at the top (if any)?

A cliched response, but I am constantly disappointed to see so few women holding the top-level positions in businesses. There is positive change happening at a mid-level but still a tiny representation at the top. I think this is a huge opportunity for companies to benefit from having talented women contribute to the strategic decisions.

Who is a woman who inspires you?

It will always be my Mum, who recently lost her brave battle with cancer. Mum was a nurse for over 30 years and her entire life revolved around random acts of kindness. Even in her final weeks in hospital, she somehow managed to unite another patient’s family. I have childhood memories of being chucked out of the car at bus stops, so she could drive the elderly home and we would visit care homes to accompany those without families of their own. She told me to never forget, kindness is the most important trait.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

First woman to join the Klarna UK team, back when we had a tiny room in a Regus office, Klarna’s colour scheme was blue and we were trying to break into retail with a Swedish checkout product, yet to be optimised for the UK market. Five years later, I couldn’t have imagined we’d be working with so many huge retailers and Klarna’s pink marketing placements would follow my entire journey home (from Oxford Circus – Brixton). I think my friends and family are even prouder of Klarna’s UK success and I constantly get messages when they spot us on their favourite site.
Also have to mention my team – very proud to work with such smart individuals, who make each day at Klarna a joy, with a lot of laughing!

What’s the riskiest move you’ve taken in business?

Linked back to my proudest – joining an unknown Swedish payment company on the back of a chance meeting I had with the HR Director at a Las Vegas conference!

What 3 traits do you think are most important when running a successful business?

1. Do what you say you’re going to do! You’re only as good as your word.
2. No, never means no! Find another way – be creative
3. Don’t find problems. Find solutions.

What’s the best business advice you have ever received?

My CCO Michael Rouse told me “hire the brightest, smartest people and get out of their way”.

Any advice to future female leaders?

Do something you love. Have fun. Surround yourself with the best talent. Make mistakes, recognize them and learn. Constantly challenge yourself. Always ask – or you may not get.