International Women's Day

"Don't wait for opportunities to come your way".

In celebration of International Women's Day, we interviewed QA's Director of People and Engagement to find out more about her professional achievements.
#BeBoldForChange #IWD2017

Karen Orr | 8 March 2017

In celebration of International Women's Day, we interviewed a number of successful women at QA. We caught up with Karen Orr, QA's Director of People and Engagement to find out more about her, her career journey and achievements. 


  • Who inspired you to strive in your career?
    "I had an interesting female boss many years ago, whose values I didn’t like very much, but who had great passion, focus and determination: she somehow ignited my career focus and provided me with opportunities to progress quite quickly. More recently (almost 15 years ago!), I returned from my second period of maternity leave only to be made redundant.  I subsequently took on a new role which whilst interesting didn’t fill me with excitement.  A year later however, everything changed when we found ourselves in receivership and were bought out by a joint VC.  I seized the opportunity to stay with a significantly smaller business but one where I felt I could make a difference."
  • Has being a woman ever hindered your professional development? If so, how did you deal with it?
    "HR is traditionally a female dominated function, until you get to senior levels, and I have never felt my gender has hindered me.  I have on occasion reflected on how I interact with my male colleagues and lamented at the lack of constructive feedback –and wonder how much this has impacted my ability to develop the skills to more effectively communicate with some. "
  • What advice would you give to other women aspiring to get into your profession and succeed professionally?
    "Don’t wait for opportunities to come your way – proactively seek them out and challenge others to give you a chance to rise to the occasion. "
  • Watch our video showcasing women who have embraced a career in technology.

    Hear more from some inspirational women at QA.

  • Natalia Stayte- Head of Talent Acquistion
  • Mary Sansom- Marketing and Communications Director QA Apprenticeships
  • Jane Akinson-Weller - Head of Office Applications
  • Laura Barton-Hawkins- Business Development Consultant
  • Lucy Cartlidge- Account Director

  • Karen Orr

    Karen Orr

    Director of People & Engagement

    Karen joined QA as Director of People and Engagement in 2016, bringing almost 20 years’ experience leading HR teams across a range of retail, services and technology organisations. She holds an MSc in Management Development and Organisational Change from Bristol University and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Karen is responsible for HR strategy and operations across the group and serves as a member of the executive committee. She leads all employee engagement and development activities in addition to compensation, benefits and HR technology for the group.