Hey there. I'm Katie. 

At my core, I'm just a small town Southern girl raised in the Appalachian mountains of North Carolina. I grew up in a tight-knit community where everybody knew everybody, acts of kindness were common, and you never missed a Friday night football game.

 

But my humble hometown roots have never held me back from traveling the world, expanding my mind through higher education, and pursuing my childhood dreams of becoming a journalist. I've lived all over the country thanks to a creative, competitive career in television news - spending nearly seven years reporting for newspapers, websites and nightly newscasts. 

I've spent many days doing live shots in the midst of crazy weather (rain, wind, snow, hail, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes - you name it!), interviewing interesting people (including Kevin Bacon, so I'm just one degree away in the Six Degrees game!), and being welcomed into the homes of hundreds of strangers as they celebrate, mourn and share their incredible life stories. 

 

It's surprising how such a unique career can shape the person you become. Reporting the news exposed me to struggles I've never had to endure, heartache I'm not sure I could ever bear, and resilient strength that still inspires me years later. It's forced me to face the most devastating, hateful, senseless acts - while also revealing the unwavering, selfless love and kindness that always prevails.

It's a job that breeds empathy and emotional connection. It develops thick skin, street smarts and storytelling chops. And it equips you with a unique set of skills that enabled me to seamlessly switch career fields when I finally decided I needed more stability, a wider trajectory and a better life balance. 

 

I'm now challenged in new, exciting ways as I carve out my place in the advertising and marketing world, joining the ranks at VML's Kansas City headquarters in June 2017 as an Associate Director in Content Systems, an emerging practice within the Experience Design department. 

I'm still a storyteller - just in different ways, as I now work alongside the most talented people in the ad world to transform brands through a connected consumer experience. We ideate, develop and launch audience-centric, innovative digital transformations for global Fortune 500 companies and big-name clients. I also tap into my journalistic expertise as I help internal teams figure out what they want to say, how to say it, and when to say it - through content strategy, editorial planning, data-driven insights and ongoing optimizations. 

What I love most about my job now is that it's still all about building a strong human connection - by telling compelling, emotional stories that engage and inspire.