18 June

Spotlight on Success: Q&A interview with Karen Blackburn, Newly Promoted York Senior Manager

We are thrilled to announce the promotion of Karen Blackburn to the role of Senior Manager at our York office. With a career in accountancy that began at the age of 19, Karen has built an impressive resume, marked by dedication, continuous learning, and a passion for her work.

In this exclusive Q&A session, Karen shares her journey from her early days studying at York College and Leeds Metropolitan University to her evolving role at WDS. She discusses the inspirations behind her career choices, her experiences within the company, and her vision for the future. Join us as we delve into Karen's story, celebrate her achievements, and gain insights into her approach to leadership and team dynamics.

Read on to discover more about Karen's path to success and her plans for her new role.

Hi Karen, firstly congratulations on your new promotion that's a great achievement tell us more about your accountancy career and the journey that led you to where you are today.

My passion for maths, working with numbers, and solving problems has always driven me. I embarked on my accountancy career at 19, attending York College one day a week for two years to earn my AAT qualification. I then continued my studies at Leeds Metropolitan University, where I obtained my ACCA qualification in 2001. Throughout my career, I've continually honed new skills and embraced diverse experiences, which have significantly boosted my confidence. I truly enjoy my work and thrive on the challenges it brings.

What inspired you to pursue a career at WDS, and how has your journey led to your recent promotion to Senior Manager?

In 2020 the practice I had worked in for several years was taken over by WDS. Since joining WDS I have gained more experience with client relations and had more involvement in business management. This has given me the confidence and desire to want to progress within the business.

Can you share a bit about your role as Senior Manager for the WDS York team and what your responsibilities entail?

My new role has only started recently but I am looking forward to working with the York team to improve our service delivery to ensure we provide the best service possible for our clients.

In addition to meeting client needs and demands, and the timely completion of work my new role will also include overseeing the workload of the whole team, planning and allocating this work to ensure we meet deadlines in a timely way and hope to grow the York office.

What do you think sets WDS apart in terms of its approach to client dedication, and how do you plan to continue fostering that commitment in your new role?

WDS try to consider each individual client’s needs and work with them providing a personal and friendly service to fit their business needs.

During your time with WDS, what accomplishments or projects are you most proud of, and how do you see them impacting the future of the company?

Managing to continue to support our clients throughout the COVID pandemic in a time of massive uncertainty in a challenging environment that was rapidly changing. We had to adapt to provide the advice, information and assistance required which was previously unknown.

How do you balance your friendly and approachable personality with the demands of leadership, and what advice do you have for others looking to strike a similar balance?

As I begin my journey in this new role, I hope to be able to maintain close relationships with all my colleagues and develop and support the team to get the best from the York office.

In your opinion, what are some key factors that contribute to a successful team dynamic, and how do you plan to cultivate that within the York office moving forward?

Good communication, collaboration, being able to share concerns and worries and creating an enjoyable place to work.

Can you share a memorable moment or experience from your time with WDS that has shaped your approach to leadership and teamwork?

A memorable moment was when members of the WDS team completed the Yorkshire Three Peaks to raise money for The Yorkshire Air Ambulance. Despite it being the end of June, the weather was cold, wet and windy so it was a very challenging walk. It was great to see all the team work hard to support and encourage each other.

What advice would you give to aspiring professionals looking to advance their careers within their respective organisations?

Hard work and commitment will be rewarded. If you want to achieve something you should have the courage to go for it.

Lastly, how do you plan to celebrate and mark this significant milestone in your career journey?

With a glass of fizz (or two!)



Before we conclude our Q&A interview with Karen Blackburn, let's take a moment to hear from our Managing Director Julie Young, who has closely observed her remarkable journey and outstanding leadership within our firm.

   Julie Young - WDS Managing Director & Equity Partner


"Karen has consistently demonstrated exceptional client servicing skills, making her the perfect choice for the role of Senior Manager. Her dedication to understanding and meeting client needs has been instrumental in her appointment. Karen is also a determined and strong team player and this has been emerging more so over the last year with her underlying approachable and funny personality.  Combine all these traits and there was no doubt that Karen more than deserves her new role.  I look forward to hearing Karen's ideas for her team and watching her grow in her new role."



Karen Blackburn's journey to becoming the Senior Manager at our York office is a testament to her dedication, skill, and unwavering commitment to excellence. Her impressive career, marked by continuous learning and a passion for client service, sets a shining example for all aspiring professionals. We look forward to seeing Karen's impact in her new role and are confident that her leadership will drive the York team to new heights. Join us in congratulating Karen and celebrating her well-deserved promotion. Cheers to her continued success!

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