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#HumansofWMP - Kath Barnard, Associate Project Manager

#HumansofWMP | This series of Humans of WMP showcases empowering women who work at West Midlands Police. 

Kath Barnard, Associate Project Manager
Kath Barnard, Associate Project Manager

"If I take myself back to 1987 when I joined, I think - especially for women – there are a lot more opportunities now.

I started as a supervisor in the very first admin support unit, whilst in the role I got really into IT, so when a job came up in the IT&D department, I jumped at the chance. In 1997 I became an IT Support Specialist being one of only a few women in this role, soon becoming the only female IT Support Specialist and that made it very challenging at times.

However, that was nothing compared to the next challenge I would face. In 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer. To be told you have cancer and that you now have to fight for your life is devastating, especially after my mom died of the same disease.

But it taught me a lot, like appreciating the things that are really important to me, my family, friends and colleagues.

One of the worst things about fighting my cancer was the gruelling chemotherapy and radiotherapy, completely losing my hair and undergoing a mastectomy. It affects you as a woman both emotionally, mentally and physically and then there was looking in the mirror after my operations. I now live with osteoarthritis caused by anti-cancer medication but my disability does not define me. I don’t have barriers only opportunities to be explored and harnessed. Of course I have good days and bad days but I always come to work with a smile on my face because that’s so important.

I’m a survivor and I’m pleased to say that I have been cancer free for 10 years. I now use my experience to support those in need within the organisation who have been diagnosed with or impacted by cancer.

I am really proud of the work I do, my current role being within the Business Transformation Team, I get to work with the most amazing people every day. So what’s it like for me being a Woman in West Midlands Police? It’s absolutely fantastic!"