Katie Hearsum

Katie is COO at Longview Philanthropy.

While working as an analyst and then associate vice president at Citibank, Katie Hearsum had an inkling that she wanted to change careers. She had previously spent seven months helping to provide for basic needs at the Ritsona refugee camp after she graduated from the University of Oxford. But given the demands of her banking job, she didn’t have much time to explore other career options.

Before talking to us, Katie was considering a few different options:

  1. Staying in her banking role in order to gain more career capital and savings to put her in a better position for a future career change
  2. Transferring into a corporate social responsibility role in the bank
  3. Switching to a research role in a think tank or government role
  4. Doing a graduate degree in public policy

She wasn’t sure any of these were the right choice, and her key uncertainty was whether she should stay in investment banking for now to be in a better position to have an fulfilling and high-impact career later.
Connecting with a one-on-one advisor at 80,000 Hours helped her make that choice. Katie’s advisor showed her that there were many more options to have an impactful career than she’d previously considered. This conversation motivated her to pursue opportunities to work directly on pressing problems in the world.

Her advisor put her in touch with people working in research and operations roles, and speaking with these new connections helped her realise that she had a strong personal fit for working in operations. For example, she had experience coordinating volunteers and creating strong systems to improve clothes distribution in refugee camps; she enjoys thinking laterally and liaising with multiple parties to find effective solutions to problems; and, she enjoyed the fast pace and high variety and volume of tasks in a trading role. Reframing these skills and experiences as an aptitude for operations work helped her realise her fit for those types of roles.

Over the course of a year, she explored her opportunities and ended up receiving two exciting job offers to work at organisations aiming to use evidence and reason to do more good in the world. She handed in her resignation after four years of working at Citibank to take a position as a senior operations analyst at Longview Philanthropy — a role she found on the 80,000 Hours job board. Longview aims to direct philanthropic resources to reduce the risk of a major global catastrophe, focusing mainly on AI, biosecurity, and nuclear weapons policy. These cause areas receive much less funding than typical philanthropic causes like global health and development, so helping Longview Philanthropy succeed by using her operations skill set has put Katie on a much higher impact path than where she started.

Katie told us she was thrilled to be helping an organisation that she believes does important, effective work. After a year working at Longview, Katie became head of operations, and she is now the COO.

To learn more about working in operations, check out our career review of operations management in high-impact organisations and our page about developing an organisation-building skill set.

Do you want to receive one-on-one advice too?

Katie changed her career after speaking to our team. If you need help deciding what to do next, we might be able to help.

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We can help you compare options, make connections, and possibly even find jobs or funding opportunities.