Netchex Women in Leadership: Katie Kennedy, VP of Marketing - Netchex
Company News
Mar 8, 2024

Netchex Women in Leadership: Katie Kennedy, VP of Marketing

Netchex Women in Leadership: Katie Kennedy, VP of Marketing


March is Women’s History Month. To mark this occasion, the Netchex Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion Council is honoring the many powerful women in leadership at Netchex who keep the ship afloat. 

In our Netchex Women in Leadership series, we’ll hear from our executives and vice presidents about their career journeys, challenges, inspirations, and advice to others.

First up is Katie Kennedy, Netchex’s VP of Marketing. We talked to her about her career journey at Netchex, challenges she faced, and what she’s learned throughout her career.

Can you share a bit about your career journey and how you’ve reached your current executive position?  

I came to Netchex 12 years ago after a career in journalism. I was the first marketing hire at Netchex because our CEO knew Netchex needed marketing. But at the time, I don’t think anyone knew exactly what that meant. So, the career journey was kind of a choose your own adventure for me for a long time. Throughout my 12 years, my job has looked very different, but it has been a very interesting journey with a lot of fun, new experiences along the way.

How was it for you transitioning from being the one person in marketing to more of a leadership position?

I think a lot of leaders will say that is something that we still have to learn how to do every day. I don’t think it’s in anyone’s nature to want to just stand back and not be hands-on tangibly executing the thing that your skills and expertise are in.

Luckily, I have a great team that I trust—and that’s the biggest part of it. When you create a team that you trust, and you surround yourself with specialized experts, it gets a little bit easier to hand over the reins and say, I know you got this, and I can then focus on the big picture. 

How would you describe your leadership style and the values that guide your decisions?  

The biggest trait that a leader can have is emotional intelligence. You’re going to be put into a lot of high-pressure situations, and you’re going to have a lot of times when people are looking to you for a level-headed decision to be made.  

I think a leader is also always empathetic. I know at the end of the day, I’m a human, and my team is made of humans that have real life experiences and emotions. We are all working towards the same goal, but you can’t let the focus on that goal take away from understanding when you need to pivot or when things need to change.  

Speaking of challenges, what challenges have you encountered as a woman in your leadership role? 

Challenges and opportunities… a lot of times these words can be intermingled. I was the only woman in the boardroom for a very long time—which for someone who had never had a board before, was very intimidating. Luckily, we’ve grown so much since then, and there’s a lot of diversity and representation at that level now. But going into it, that was pretty intimidating.  

A lot of women in leadership, especially in the tech industry, might experience imposter syndrome. Is that self-doubt something you’ve ever experienced in your career? And how did you overcome that? 

Yeah, absolutely. I think that imposter syndrome is a business term for a very normal human emotion of self-doubt or insecurity. You can call it whatever you want, but there’s always going to be moments when you question whether or not you’re the best person for this role. Whether you can do the thing that’s been put in front of you. I’ve absolutely battled through that.

I think you just have to look inside yourself and understand that you have earned your place at the table. Especially at Netchex, when everyone is constantly looking at performance and metrics, and no one’s necessarily sliding by behind the scenes. I wouldn’t still be here today if I wasn’t the best person for the job. You have to remind yourself of that and be your own hype person every so often. 

Are there skills or knowledge areas that you would recommend for professionals aspiring to leadership roles in our industry?

Public speaking skills are a big part of it. You become the representation for your department. You need to be able to eloquently describe what your team is doing. Confidently stand up in front of a board, or the entire company, or even just the one person who controls the budget, to be able to say: this is what we’re doing and this is why it matters.  

It’s also the ability to take a big picture, look at the goals and see the vision, and then take that down to the person’s level to execute on it.

Everybody knows balancing a leadership role with a personal life can be challenging. How do you manage work- life balance? And do you have any advice for others aspiring to be leaders?

This is huge with working from home. How do you shut down the laptop and turn on home life when you still have access to everything that you’ve had access to during business hours?

Managing work/life balance and burnout is all about finding ways to de-stress, decompress, and step away. That can come through daily activities, as well as really using that PTO that we all should be utilizing as much as we can. 

But for me, I’ll hop on the exercise bike. I’ll take my dogs for a walk. I’ve read books about managing stress and burnout. It just comes down to completing a stress cycle and making sure that you’re leaving the day’s work where it is. You’re switching to a new mindset of ‘it is now me time, and that is okay.’ Maximize your hours during the day, but then shut it down.  

How would you say you promote diversity, equity, and inclusion within our organization? And why do you feel like that’s important? 

Especially in marketing, where we are the mouthpiece of this company, it’s essential. You have seen it time and time again, when marketing messages have a complete misalignment with how the public receives them, and that’s because they didn’t have enough diverse voices in the room. 

I try to make sure that everyone’s opinions are heard. Everything is highly considered on all the different people and groups that it can impact. I try to create a good representation of all those groups among the marketing team, as well.

From a personal standpoint, it’s a matter of ethics and morals—something that I take very, very seriously. I want to make sure that the genuine nature of how Netchex treats people comes across in how we are represented as a brand. 

What advice would you give to people wanting to become leaders or women specifically in our industry?  

I would say that you’ve got to be your biggest hype person. No one is going to speak up for your work better than you will. If you are an expert in a field or on a project, or you feel very passionately about something, you’ve got to speak up. You’ve got to make sure that your voice is heard.

Netchex does a fantastic job of highlighting new ideas with transparency and open communication. So there’s many opportunities for people to really make waves no matter what department they’re in.

For women who may be afraid to stand up because they think that someone else has a better idea than them, or they don’t want to be the loudest voice in a room, I would say: do it anyway. 

And for aspiring women in leadership, are there specific skills or qualities you believe are crucial for success in executive roles? 

At an executive level, you’re in the huddle and you’re going to be involved in a lot of really high pressure conversations. You’ve got to have a very pragmatic approach to your responses and ways that you develop a plan based off of those conversations. 

I think it kind of comes back to that emotional intelligence and being level-headed. When different opinions and voices can get a little bit louder than yours, how are you staying centered on your goals? For women especially, the ability to state your goal in a very level-headed way to kind of cut through the noise, will always be one of the biggest skills for a leader.

Discover how your company can empower women in the workplace from Netchex’s women in leadership:

Industry news & tips sent straight to your inbox!

Enter your email below to subscribe to industry news, product updates, and tips.

Related articles

Blog 1
Company News - 03/29/24

Netchex Women in Leadership: Paige Newcombe, Chief Transformation Officer

Read article
Blog 1
Company News - 03/22/24

Netchex Women in Leadership: Elizabeth Schillo, Chief Revenue Officer

Read article
Blog 1
Company News - 03/16/24

Netchex Women in Leadership: Kelly Kennedy, VP of Finance

Read article
Blog 1
Company News - 06/07/23

GrowthCurve Capital Acquires Netchex to Further Accelerate Growth

Read article