The Heart of Bucks ‘Inspiring Buckinghamshire’ series gives local people from a range of sectors a chance to share their knowledge and insights to help inspire others.
Here we are speaking with Kathryn Hobbs, Personal Assistant to the Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire.
Tell us about yourself and your connection to Buckinghamshire.
I have lived in Bucks my whole life. I spent my childhood in Stokenchurch, attended grammar school in High Wycombe and I now live in Aylesbury with my husband and two daughters.
After various working roles at a local National Trust property and in events, I went self-employed, and found great satisfaction in working for a number of Buckinghamshire’s High Sheriffs providing office support and helping to plan their events. This led to an opportunity to be Personal Assistant to the Lord-Lieutenant of Buckinghamshire, the representative of the Monarch within the county, a role that I enjoy immensely and which has introduced me to some hugely inspiring individuals, voluntary groups and businesses which help to make Bucks such a vibrant and inclusive county.
I am also a trustee of a local charitable trust and a proud member of a number of Heart of Bucks grant panels, which gives a real insight into some of the amazing voluntary work going on here in Buckinghamshire.
What personal achievements are you most proud of?
I like to challenge myself, so I think I would have to say taking up football coaching is one of the things I am most proud of. Having no experience at all of the game, and with my youngest daughter wanting to play, I was inspired to volunteer to coach a newly formed local under 9 girls team, which involved a steep learning curve, many hours of home learning to achieve coaching qualifications, update my first aid qualifications and complete DBS and other checks. It has been hugely rewarding to see the team grow and develop in their skills and confidence, and one of the best things I have ever done.
I’ve also discovered at quite a late stage that I am a reasonable runner which is quite exciting! I had the priviledge of running the London Marathon in October 2022. This year I am running the MK Marathon raising money for Action4Youth, a Bucks charity that I have been involved with which provides transformational experiences and opportunities for young people.
What are some of the challenges you have faced, and how have you overcome them?
There have been many challenges, most of which (as my husband will attest) I have brought upon myself! But also others. I use the same tactics to overcome anything that daunts me. I try to break the overall challenge down into smaller manageable tasks and tackle each of these in turn, focusing on giving each my best shot and asking for help when I need it. That has been a skill I have had to learn over time! I’ve never been afraid to admit when I don’t know something though, and I am always willing and excited to learn new things.
I also try to practice self care – I enjoy yoga and running, reading, walking my dogs and catching up with friends and I try to make time for these things even more at times of stress or difficulty. It helps bring balance to whatever is troubling or challenging me.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
To be kind. It really is the best advice anyone can give or receive. I tell my daughters this all the time. Empathy is such a simple and important human quality, it helps promote connection, mutual understanding and tolerance. It is something I try to be very aware of in all that I do.
What is your greatest hope for the future for Buckinghamshire?
Buckinghamshire is such a fantastic county. We have stunning natural spaces to enjoy, a dynamic and resourceful economy and a diverse and talented population. My greatest hope is that we all continue to work towards providing equity across our region wherever possible – reaching out to communities and individuals that have need of support, and offering assistance where we can. There are areas of deprivation here as in any other area of the UK, in spite of Bucks having an affluent reputation. It never fails to bring a smile to my face when I see people helping others, and hear about communities working together to achieve a mutual goal. The world needs more of that.
Read more of our Inspiring Buckinghamshire interviews here.