Katie Waterson

Vice President, Consulting Services at Motiv Strategies

Degree(s): BJ '01 (Broadcast)

Whereabouts: United States, Alexandria, Virginia

What have you faced in your career path so far?
After graduation, I moved to Chicago to work as an intern for Edelman Worldwide’s “boutique” PR firm, PR21. I was promoted to assistant account executive in September 2001, to account executive in May 2002 and to senior account executive in May 2003. I worked on a range of national and international brands, mostly in the food/beverage and home appliance sectors. In May 2004, I moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to be closer to my husband, Nick Waterson. I was hired as a project director at Brandstorm in Cincinnati, a brand strategy and new product development consulting group. Since then I worked as a senior strategy consultant on the P&G and Lowe’s accounts at Interbrand, the world’s largest brand consulting group before joining innovation strategy firm Motiv Strategies in the Washington D.C. area.

What is the most difficult part of your job?
The most difficult part of my job is business development in this economy. I love being part of a small strategy and consulting team, but leading projects and working to drive new business simultaneously can be challenging. But it keeps me on my toes, and that’s a good thing.

What was the best class you took at J-School and why?
My broadcast journalism classes have taught me so much. I’m not in the journalism industry anymore, but the professionalism and presentation skills I learned have taken me very far in my career. I am consistently asked to present to audiences of high-level executives, and owe those skills to my early journalism career.

What is one of your favorite J-School memories?
The second semester of my junior year I spent in London with the Missouri School of Journalism’s exchange program. I had an internship with a radio station and worked there four days a week. Every morning I would come in and the news director would hand me a press release and a tape recorder and say, “Here, go do this.” And that is all he would say, so I would have to look at the press release and figure it out by myself. I would get my little book out and my map and get on the train and go to these events all over London. One day I got the chance to interview Prince Charles! I would come home and my friends would say, “Who did you meet today?” They couldn’t even imagine. That’s that kind of stuff the Mizzou program can do for you. You learn that you have this big world in front of you. So if you get experience to study abroad, do!

How do you feel about having a career outside of journalism?
Fantastic. I use the skills I learned, especially public speaking and the ability to convey a complex thought quickly. I find that so many consultants I meet have journalism degrees. It’s a great foundation.

What woman in the media do you admire most and why?
Christiane Amanpour; I always have. She’s not only a genius and the top war correspondent for the Middle East, but because she’s fluent in Middle Eastern languages, is based out of London, and manages to have a wonderful husband and family. I can’t imagine how she does it!

What is something about you that may surprise people?
That despite living in Washington D.C., politics is not my favorite topic of conversation!

What person has had the most impact on your life, and why?
That’s an easy question – my mother. She’s my inspiration for all things. As I’ve gotten older, she’s become my inspiration between focusing on keeping a work/life balance, while still being able to be and feel successful in your career. I’ve learned so much from her over the years, both professional and personal skills that I know have made me who I am today.

What makes you laugh?
That’s also easy! My husband is my primary “laugh stimulator,” one of the many reasons why I married him. He’s totally goofy and fun, and knows exactly what to say and do when I need a little cheering up. His most humorous side is definitely a side most people don’t see of him very often, so I get his funny side all to myself. (No one would understand our inside humor, anyway!)

What is your favorite day of the week, and why?
My favorite day of the week is Friday. On Fridays, I tend to take things easy. I’ll leave the serious thinking to the beginning days of the week. Fridays are casual, organization, wrap-up days for me, and I cherish that time to get everything aligned so that I can truly disassociate with the office and my clients on the weekend; that doesn’t always happen, but I always have good intentions!

Updated: November 15, 2011