Katy Holmes: Crafting a Purpose-Driven Journey in Dubai

Katy Holmes, the General Manager of the British Business Group Dubai and Northern Emirates, is a testament to the transformative power of passion, community, and meaningful connections in the heart of Dubai’s expatriate hub. Her journey from an aspiring writer in the UK to a catalyst for professional and charitable networking in the UAE is a story that resonates with all who seek to find meaning and success in life.

With a career anchored in strategic communications, client experience, and event management, Katy’s trajectory into the world of business networking has been a unique one. She studied Communication, Authoring, and Design at the university, laying the groundwork for her future endeavors. Her professional journey began with a significant opportunity that set the stage for her career – an early work placement at BP, where she was part of the rebranding project that introduced the iconic Helios (sunflower) logo. The experience taught her the value of branding and effective communication on a global scale.

From her formative years, Katy had an insatiable passion for writing, creating poems, stories, and newsletters. Her self-started project, ‘What Katy Really Did Next,’ was a precursor to modern social media, providing humor and shared experiences with a growing audience. She vividly recalls writing in her school leaver’s book that she would one day have her own company. Little did she know that this aspiration would lead her to Dubai.

Katy’s journey to the UAE began in 2012 when her husband’s career brought her family to Dubai. Armed with two young children and a thirst for new experiences, she embarked on a challenging adventure. The early days were marked by her determination to build a new network from scratch during the sweltering August and Ramadan months. Katy’s unwavering spirit and her ability to connect with others quickly forged deep friendships that have become an integral part of her Dubai life.

Her professional journey encompasses diverse roles, from PR to high-profile projects at Barclays Wealth. During her time at Barclays, Katy contributed to the Project Gamma expansion strategy, focusing on global client experience. This project instilled in her the importance of providing reliable, credible, and consistent service, rather than complex digital transformations or extravagant client perks. The lesson of client-centricity became a guiding principle that she carries to this day.

As the General Manager of the British Business Group Dubai and Northern Emirates, Katy finds immense joy in connecting people and witnessing the tangible benefits of these connections. The BBG serves as an ecosystem where her passion for networking and seeing positive results harmoniously align. She interacts with over a hundred members weekly, actively seeking to understand their interests and needs to facilitate valuable collaborations. With 30% of new members arriving from the UK, the BBG is a bridge for fresh expatriates, saving them time and enabling knowledge transfer and profitable collaborations.

Katy’s worldview and values have been deeply influenced by her commitment to balancing her corporate roles with volunteering. She dedicated her time to various community projects in the UK, reading to school children and assisting at a respite center for children with health conditions. In Dubai, she continued to engage in community work by volunteering as a classroom assistant at the Rashid School for the Determined. Now, she leverages her role at the BBG to give back, including supporting initiatives like the British Community Assistance Fund.

Becoming a mother, Katy asserts, was a pivotal experience that profoundly changed her perspective on life. Her daughters inspire her to focus on the present, and she endeavors to be more present in their lives despite her busy schedule.

To balance her various life aspects, including family, work, and personal pursuits, Katy prioritizes time with her loved ones. She strives to be more present for her family, ensuring that she maintains a strong connection with her daughters as they grow. Walking is a personal passion she values, although she admits it often takes a back seat during busy weeks. She is fortunate to have a flexible work environment that allows her to spend time with her family and attend to her daughters’ needs.

Dubai, a melting pot of cultures with over 250 nationalities, has treated Katy and her family kindly. The city’s diversity and inclusiveness have enriched her life and broadened her horizons.

Looking ahead, Katy’s dream is to continue traveling the world with her family. She remains grateful for the opportunities she has found in Dubai, where she intends to use her platform at the BBG for the greater good by initiating discussions on topics like mental health, the menopause, diversity, inclusion, and ESG.

Katy offers a piece of advice to those aspiring to achieve success: prioritize happiness, find an organization that aligns with your values, and collaborate with colleagues who appreciate your talents. She believes that success lies in happiness, both personally and professionally. Her current role at the BBG serves as a testament to this philosophy, where she works with a dynamic team and an active community.

Katy Holmes, with her passion for connecting people and facilitating meaningful collaborations, is a beacon of inspiration for all who seek to make a difference in the world. Her journey from a young writer to a network builder in Dubai is a testament to the power of perseverance, community, and a commitment to creating value in the lives of others.

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