Karen McElhatton

CIO, McLaren Group


Karen McElhatton has 18 years’ international experience in the technology profession, across consumer, retail and automotive sectors, most recently as Group Chief Information Officer at McLaren Group. Prior roles include leading IT at regional and global levels for Procter & Gamble, TJX International and JAB Luxury.

1. Best piece of advice you’ve been given 

My dad taught me to ski and used to say “If you don’t fall down, you’re not trying hard enough”. It’s great advice – it taught me to take calculated risks, to accept when things don’t quite go to plan, and to pick myself up when I fall.

2. Worst piece of advice you’ve been given 

Work Harder. It’s not about putting in more effort, it’s about being smart with where you focus your energy and attention. I’m still learning to focus my energy on the things that really matter to me not the things I think others might want.

3. What would you tell your younger self? 

Don’t take it all so seriously, make time for the people you love, keep learning and enjoy the ride.

4. What excites you most about the future of your industry? 

The pace of development in new technology is staggering, there’s obviously some risk with that, but what excites me is how creatively the next generation has become in finding exciting ways to use and adopt it.

5. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

My grandmother had a major impact on my life – she taught me the value of being curious, to try new things even if they scare you a bit, and most importantly that if my baking doesn’t quite go to plan I can just say “It’s rustic”.

← Read about more Inspiration Women in Business