Empowering women in the workplace: Inside Navreet Toor’s 10-year career journey with K2

In honor of International Women’s Day, we’re shining a spotlight on one of our remarkable female figures at K2, Navreet Toor. As we celebrate the achievements and contributions of women worldwide, we take pride in recognizing her exceptional journey and invaluable role as the Executive Assistant (EA) to our CEO.

Join us as we explore her transformative journey within K2 over the past decade. From her beginnings as a junior EA to her current pivotal role, Navreet’s story is one of dedication, growth, and unwavering commitment to excellence.

Read on to hear her story and her inspiring insights:

Can you tell us about your journey with the company, from starting as a young team member to where you are today? 

In the last ten years, I’ve embarked on a transformative journey, initially stepping into the role of a ‘traditional’ EA to our CEO and COO at K2. In those early days, I was young, eager to learn, and somewhat nervous. To be candid, my initial ‘plan’ was to invest my efforts here and ideally transition to a ‘fortune 500’ company within the next three to five years. It’s remarkable how nothing unfolded as planned, but in the best possible way.

Through steadfast dedication and a commitment to ongoing learning, I expanded my role beyond the conventional assistant duties, immersing myself in various aspects of the business. I must confess, initially, expressing my thoughts to the most senior individual in the organisation seemed daunting. I questioned, ‘Why would anything I have to say matter?’ — a belief I soon realised was profoundly misguided. Early on, I discovered that not only was my voice heard, but it was genuinely valued—a stark contrast to my experiences in previous positions.

I realised how fortunate I was to work alongside a leader who believes in continuous learning, self-improvement, and appreciates the unique perspectives different generations bring to the table. Guided by our CEO’s mentorship, I now strategically contribute to various areas within the business, effecting tangible positive change year on year in various departments across the company.

What has been the most challenging aspect of working for K2’s CEO, and how have you navigated through it?

Supporting the CEO and other C-level executives has been a challenging yet rewarding experience. The dynamic nature of the role ensures that no two days are the same, requiring adaptability and a proactive mindset. Immersing myself into the ever-changing needs of the business has been crucial. Early in this journey, I recognised that my responsibility was not merely to passively agree with every situation but to voice my opinions candidly, provide my honest views and use my initiative to better navigate through challenges I was faced with; easier said than done at times.

Another challenging aspect has been the constant reassessment of tasks and priorities based on the evolving needs of the executives and the organisation. While I may have my own plans and priorities, the role demands a high level of flexibility and the ability to swiftly pivot from one task to another, ensuring that I align my efforts with the immediate requirements and strategic objectives of the leadership team. Ultimately, this constant juggling act has not only honed my organisational and multitasking skills but has also provided an invaluable lesson in agility and responsiveness within a dynamic corporate environment.

How has your role evolved over the years, and what are some key lessons you’ve learned along the way?

My role has undergone a remarkable evolution, initially focusing on mastering the fundamentals of being a good Executive Assistant. Over the years, I have transitioned from supporting day-to-day operations to owning key initiatives, including involvement in exciting growth activities such as mergers and acquisitions. I’ve introduced various incentives to the business and have taken a lead role in championing our corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts.

Throughout this journey, I’ve learned valuable lessons. One key takeaway is the importance of not stretching too far—balancing ambition with realistic resource constraints. Prioritisation has been crucial, focusing on incentives that bring the most significant impact, not just for the immediate term but also considering the long-term sustainability of the company. Although I occasionally perceive myself as ‘superwoman’ capable of handling everything, I’ve come to realise that there’s no shame in seeking assistance—even after a decade of experience. There’s always something new to learn and room for growth, and embracing that openness ensures continuous success.

Could you share some insights into your experience attending board meetings, especially in the early days of your career?

In the early days of attending Board meetings, the experience was undeniably overwhelming and intense. Not only was I navigating the complexities of the Private Equity world, but the company itself was also finding its footing. As a young professional and often one of the few females in a male-dominated environment, the atmosphere felt intimidating initially.

Understanding my role and what was expected of me while simultaneously absorbing as much information as possible to contribute to the business’s growth strategy was a challenging task. The dynamics of the Boardroom were unfamiliar, and the pressure to align with the company’s objectives was palpable.

Over time, I realised that everyone in that room, including myself, was navigating uncharted territory. We were all striving for the same overarching goal – the success of the company. Building relationships with Board members, getting to know their perspectives and expertise, was a turning point. As familiarity grew, so did my comfort level. I learned to appreciate the shared commitment to the company’s success, and now, I not only feel at ease in the Boardroom but have come to genuinely enjoy the collaborative and strategic discussions that take place.

How do you balance personal growth and professional development while working in a fast-paced organization?

Initially, balancing personal growth and professional development in a fast-paced organisation posed a challenge as I often found myself engrossed in reactive tasks, allowing days to pass without addressing what truly mattered to me, left with little to no time for myself. After recognising this pattern, I made it a priority to dedicate time to personal development, regardless of the perceived scale of the improvements.

I realised that the symbiotic relationship between personal and professional growth is crucial. Investing time in self-improvement not only contributes to my overall well-being but also directly enhances my professional capabilities. This shift in perspective allowed me to acknowledge that taking time for personal development is not a diversion from work but a strategic investment in becoming more effective and proficient in my job. Consequently, this intentional focus on personal growth has proven to be a catalyst for achieving greater success in a fast-paced and demanding work environment.

As you approach your 10-year anniversary with the company, what reflections do you have on your journey and achievements thus far?

Approaching my 10-year anniversary with the company, I find myself reflecting on a journey that fills me with pride and gratitude. I am immensely thankful for the opportunities provided by my boss and mentor, the CEO of our organisation. Learning directly from the person at the top has been a unique and invaluable experience, one that not everyone gets the privilege of encountering.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have been part of a workplace where my career has taken diverse and enriching directions, from a traditional EA to being the ‘right-hand-woman’ to the CEO and now Global Manager of Executive Operations. The opportunities to contribute to various strategic initiatives have not only broadened my skill set but have also contributed to the overall success of the company.

As I approach this milestone, I am not only grateful for the experiences and knowledge gained but also eager for the continued journey ahead, motivated by the continuous evolution and growth that my time at K2 has afforded me, all of which would not be possible without the year on year support from my boss, the CEO. I am far from being ‘done’; I sense that I have much to still accomplish, contribute, and offer here. Being part of the company during this exciting period motivates me, and I plan to continue my growth in the years ahead.

How do you feel about reaching this milestone while simultaneously preparing for the arrival of your first child?

Reaching the milestone of my 10-year anniversary at K2 is a significant achievement that fills me with a mix of emotions, especially as I prepare for the arrival of my first child. The prospect of impending change is both nerve-wracking and thrilling. Fortunately, the unwavering support I receive from my boss, the CEO and colleagues at K2 has been a source of tremendous comfort, making the anticipated transition to motherhood feel much smoother.

I am grateful to be part of an organisation that places a strong emphasis on supporting mothers in the workplace and embraces flexible working styles to accommodate evolving family lives. This assurance provides me with confidence that my position at K2 is secure and valued. Knowing that I’ll be returning to an environment that not only supports but appreciates the challenges of balancing work and motherhood is truly reassuring. As I embark on this new chapter, I look forward to returning to an even more exciting and thriving organisation.

Can you share any memorable moments or milestones from your career that have shaped you into the professional you are today?

Reflecting on my career journey, several memorable moments and milestones have significantly shaped me into the professional I am today. In the early days, every challenge felt like a test, and earning the trust and respect of the C-levels, particularly the CEO, was no easy feat. I was determined to transcend the traditional role of an Executive Assistant, aspiring to be more than just a ‘typical EA.’

The turning point for me was when I moved beyond the conventional elements associated with my job title and immersed myself in the business, adding tangible value to the organisation. This marked a moment of profound accomplishment. Over the years, I’ve had the privilege of exploring diverse departments at K2, ranging from Marketing to Corporate Social Responsibility, employee incentives, internal and external events, and more recently, mergers and acquisitions.

With each milestone, I found myself learning and evolving, consistently challenging myself to become better. The essence of my professional journey lies in the continuous pursuit of growth and improvement. The thrill of coming to work each day, feeling challenged, and being excited about the possibilities has been the driving force behind my career. It’s these experiences that have shaped not only my professional skills but also my mindset, fostering a passion for constant improvement and a deep sense of accomplishment.

Looking ahead, what are your aspirations for the future, both professionally and personally, especially considering the exciting new chapter of motherhood on the horizon?

Looking ahead to the future, I am eagerly embracing the exciting new chapter of motherhood on the horizon. The prospect of my ‘new normal,’ including the title of ‘mother,’ is met with anticipation and optimism.

Professionally, my aspirations include continuing to add value in the fast-paced industry we operate in. I thrive on the challenges and excitement of my job, and my 10-year journey at K2 has only fueled my enthusiasm. Looking forward, I hope to strike a balance between contributing to the dynamic pace of our industry and managing my personal life. Finding time to be present for my family will be a priority shift as I step into unfamiliar territory as a mother.

By no means do I believe the ‘juggling act’ will be easy but with each milestone, whether in my career or personal life, I will ensure it be met with the same level of enthusiasm and commitment that has brought me to this point in my journey. I firmly believe that with the appropriate support, both in the workplace and at home, women can truly ‘have it all.’ In my perspective, being a mother doesn’t hinder my professional career; rather, it enriches it, providing an additional and valuable perspective.

We’re proud of our commitment to supporting all our female team members in achieving their career aspirations. Through initiatives promoting equal opportunities and fostering a culture of inclusivity, we strive to empower women to thrive. Navreet’s story underscores the importance of such efforts, inspiring us to continue championing women’s leadership and equality at every turn.

If you would like to find out more about working with K2, talk to us today.

Ottilie Wood