HEI invites you to get to know our fantastic staff members. Each month, we highlight a different colleague. This month, learn about Kate Potterfield’s expertise and what drives her professionally.
Kate Potterfield is Director of Marketing and Communications. She helps HEI and its clients advance their work through strategic outreach, content, branding, and messaging. She has run her own strategic communications consulting business, Kate Potterfield Communications, and previously served as Director of Communications in the President’s Office at Georgetown University. She has an MFA in writing from the University of San Francisco and a BA in English from Georgetown University.
What first drew you to work in higher education?
Initially, I fell into it. My first love was writing, so a few years out of college, when a speechwriting job opened at my alma mater, I couldn’t pass it up. After several years of working at a university, I couldn’t help but become passionate about equity in college access and college success as I witnessed day after day the power of a college education to open up a person’s world. As a speechwriter at a university, I had the pleasure of regularly communicating about the power of college to help form one’s character and create opportunities through work, thought, and other modes of meaning-making. The power of education to transform one’s internal life as well as their external circumstances remains deeply inspiring to me.
How would you describe your current work/the work you’re most passionate about?
In my work with HEI, I’ve grown passionate about the ability of organizational learning to translate into concrete, on-the-ground differences in both individuals’ lives and the contexts they live in. I’m mostly “right-brain dominant” and am drawn to creative work and processes that hone intuition, but I’ve always had a nagging “left-brain” thought that even the most well-intentioned work can be improved through analysis and strategic learning. I’ve loved seeing how the work of HEI’s incredible research team has helped our clients grow their impact across postsecondary education and the workforce.
What gives you hope in the work you do?
My father drummed into me that “things can always be different”–that it’s never too late for anything and that the rippling tide of change is one decision, one action step away. So I’m heartened by the work of our team and our clients. Seeing how their work translates into growth, strengthened impacts, and change for real people and systems gives me immense hope.
What is your favorite part of working at HEI and with HEI’s clients?
Even in a largely Zoom world, I love the magic of collaboration. My HEI colleagues and our clients are constantly teaching me how to be a better leader, a better thinker, a better doer. I love when we can come together and advance an idea or project and create something more than the sum of its parts.
Is there anything else you’d like to add?
I’m grateful for the opportunity to work at HEI and I look forward to continuing to meet all the amazing people that cross HEI’s path!