Alum of the Month
Aveen (Kelly) Cattan
New York Program
January 2007 Intake
: Head of Policy, Performance & Transformation at Northumberland County Council
What and where did you study before your Mountbatten internship?
I studied Law at Cambridge University.
What made you apply for the Mountbatten programme?
I wanted to get experience of working abroad and visited my university careers service to find out about options. They mentioned Mountbatten and it seemed to offer everything I was looking for.
Describe your sponsor company and your role within it.
I was an associate at a consultancy firm called Chartwell Education. I provided a support role on consultancy assignments, mostly for clients in the education sector. Typical tasks would include preparing bids for new work and researching and writing reports for clients.
What was the highlight/most memorable moment of your working experience during this year?
A trip to Washington DC to visit our company’s other office location. As well as seeing all the famous landmarks in the capital, I got to meet the company chairman who had previously been the US Secretary of Education under George W Bush.
What was the social highlight/most memorable moment during this year?
A weekend away at a music festival in Austin with the amazing friends I made on Mountbatten. Highlights were seeing Arctic Monkeys, MIA and Arcade Fire in the Texas sunshine.
Please share a little wisdom/philosophy that you acquired during your internship
I learned a fair bit about the consultancy world which was useful in my later career. Also the more practical skills of flat sharing and making a pay cheque last!
If you could change anything about your internship, what would it be?
I would be more confident and proactive to make the most out of the fantastic opportunity.
What happened after completing the year - what did you do next?
I started working in local government in London, as a policy analyst. I’ve continued that journey since, with the exception of a 2 year stint out of the public sector working in a local government focused consultancy.
Where are you now in your working life and what do you do?
I’ve just started a role at Northumberland County Council, having done a very similar role for two London Councils (Richmond and Wandsworth) for the last few years. I’m responsible for the Council’s overall approach to policy development, performance management and transformation.
Do you have any future plans that you would like to realise & what are they (career & social)?
I am passionate about public service and in particular local public services, so I’d like to continue on the track I’m on, hopefully making it to the highest level in my sector some day. Having just relocated to the North East from London I’m really excited to get to know the region better and take advantage of the quiet roads and amazing scenery for lots of long country cycles.
What would people be surprised to learn about you?
I originally wanted to be a journalist and did my school work experience with a tabloid newspaper. I still enjoy writing and briefly managed the press office in one of the Councils I worked in previously.
Is there any other information that you would like to be included?
Some of my best friends today are those I met on Mountbatten over 12 years ago - what an amazing legacy.