31, Business Development + Community Relations Manager, The Town Center of Virginia Beach at Divaris Real Estate, Inc.
Contributions to the business community:
CBDA, Member; Town Center Advisory Board, Member
Founder of the nonprofit Blue Jay Wishes, an outlet to show your care and compassion to families that are battling cancer. Through our foundation, you can provide special gifts of encouragement and inspiration to cancer patients and their caretakers. We believe that a positive attitude and pure environment are critical components to battling cancer. We deliver random acts of kindness to touch the hearts of those in the fight and to support their immediate support system. Our goal is to bring those impacted by cancer one smile closer to ending this disease.
How do you define success?
Success is feeling accomplished; having self-satisfaction in the goal that you were aiming to achieve. Once you discover that feeling of accomplishment, don’t stop there; use it to drive productivity which will result in more successes!
What person or experience has made the biggest impact on your life?
There isn’t one person; there is an entire group of women that have impacted my life. You’ll find them all throughout Hampton Roads, the triple threat: the mom, military spouse and career woman. These women are fiercely independent, ambitious, passionate and all around hard working individuals. They are also involved, loving and caring mothers. They often forgo sleep, make enormous sacrifices and juggle demanding schedules. But, make no mistake; they wouldn’t change a thing! They are amazing, selfless, supportive human beings. These special ladies constantly inspire me and occupy a huge place of pride in my heart.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
My biggest professional accomplishment was being selected as “Salesperson of The Year” out of 70+ other highly competitive sales leaders. At the time, I was arguably the youngest director of sales in the company, and to receive their top award was a huge accomplishment.
My biggest personal accomplishment was creating a 100 percent, volunteer based, non-monetized charity: Blue Jay Wishes. We provide donors the opportunity to support pediatric oncology patients, and their families, by purchasing specific items from a Wish List. The giver can see the exact treatment center they are supporting and know that 100 percent of their donation is going to support that individual. I value transparency and am very proud that we can offer people a chance for people to give back without second guessing where/what their donation is going to.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received from a colleague or manager?
The best compliment I received was in the form of a letter my former boss wrote to my dad, unbeknownst to me, complimenting my overall work performance and demeanor. The letter was so sincere. As her employee, I genuinely felt appreciated and was touched that she wanted my family to read her acknowledgments. I saved the letter and re-read it when I need a boost of positivity or motivation.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
An elementary school teacher.
What is your best time management hack?
Make the time to plan ahead and prepare. For me, nothing is more disconcerting than a project that doesn’t have a timeline and clear end goal. Take the time to outline your plan and desired outcome, commit to it, then delve in to the assignment. Keep your eye on the ball, as they say!
What’s your favorite restaurant for a lunch meeting in Coastal Virginia, and what do you order when you go there?
Sonoma Wine Bar and Bistro in Town Center: Beet Salad & Crab Cake!
Is there anything that you would change about your generation as a whole? If so, what?
Yes, I’d like to see us unplug. I’m a typical millennial, guilty of texting over calling and checking my IG account all too much. Technology is efficient and certainly has many positives. However, that being said, I think our generation has developed an unhealthy attachment to it. Phone calls, handwritten letters and authentic conversations are becoming a bit of a lost art. If we could all power-down more, I think we’d live fuller lives because of it.
What do you think is Coastal Virginia’s biggest challenge?
We’re facing one of the nation’s highest rates of sea level rise, and it is expected to continue increasing. We’re already experiencing frequent flooding of low-lying areas and a storm water system that cannot adequately drain the rainfall. If we want our region to maintain its reputation as a vibrant place to work and live, we must recognize these challenges and take proactive measures to reduce risk and increase resiliency.
How can Coastal Virginia better retain its younger population?
This question always stumps me. My peer group has already been retained by Virginia Beach, and we’re not going anywhere. We are well traveled individuals that have had the opportunity to explore or live in other cities, but we’ve all come back to our home, Virginia Beach. We’ve all found work in our preferred fields. We love our city and couldn’t envision living anywhere else. Virginia Beach has it all—all four seasons, beautiful beaches, an urban district with great shopping, an agricultural district, endless outdoor activities: crabbing, boating, fishing, paddleboarding, parks, fabulous new eateries popping on every corner and, most importantly, great people!
From her nomination:
“Katie is one of the most positive, hardworking individuals that I know. She has excelled in every position that she’s held.”
—Stephanie Haynes, former employee