WIN Spotlight: Katie Burwick
Welcome to a fresh edition of “WIN Spotlight,” our ongoing series that celebrates inspirational women in our community. Each interview features a member of WIN who is championing innovation at her organization. We dig into the diverse perspectives, influencers, missions, drivers, and dreams of these leaders, and of course, share practical tips.
This month, we’re excited to feature Katie Burwick, our outgoing Global Marketing Lead.
In every tribe you have a singular individual who stands out as a pivotal figure in the community’s success — like a gravitational force, propelling its momentum forward with effortless willpower, sheer passion and dedication. For WIN that has undoubtedly been the one and only Katie Burwick.
Those that know Katie Burwick personally know that she lives, breathes and embodies the WIN principles in everything that she does and touches. Katie’s authentic and empathetic leadership style has made a world of difference as WIN evolved and grew from a tiny experiment and dream to an established international nonprofit organization. Where would we be without Katie? We’re confident to say that nowhere close to where we are today. For those that have not gotten to know Katie yet — you’ve probably interacted with her in one of her many roles since the founding of WIN — as our correspondent, our photographer, the voice of WIN.
We’re thrilled to share that Katie is taking the next big leap in her career as she starts her M.A. studies in graphic design at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design. As part of this exciting new chapter in her life, Katie will take a step back from her day-to-day management responsibilities at WIN and will remain engaged in an advisory capacity (#powermove) as a member of the inaugural Founders’ Council, a coalition of women who have built WIN from the ground up in the past three years, and will provide strategic oversight on WIN’s growth in the next few years.
Katie, we are eternally grateful.
With endless gratitude,
Kit, Alfia and Maria
Who are you and what do you do?
Hello! I’m Katie. Until about two weeks ago, I spent my days as an Innovation Strategist at Anomaly. Outside of work, I’ve been fortunate to be part of Team WIN since day one, and have helped build WIN from an idea to a global movement with some of the most amazing women around the world over the past three and a half years.
Starting in July, I’ll be transitioning to WIN’s Founders’ Council and advising Team WIN on strategic growth, as I am making a big, exciting life change: In September, I’m heading off to the Rhode Island School of Design to work toward my master’s degree in graphic design.
Tell us your WIN origin story – how did you first get involved?
When I entered the workplace in 2014, I noticed that while so many amazing women filled the innovation industry in a range of positions, this faded at higher levels. Too few women led consultancies, Fortune 500 companies, and well-backed startups, and few drove thought leadership. I was lucky to start my career with a set of super inspiring, ambitious women at Fahrenheit 212 who shared the belief that amplifying women’s voices and perspectives leads to better innovations.
When I heard the original vision of WIN from Maria, Alfia, and Mel in February 2016, I immediately raised my hand to help. They gave me the platform to play every and any role I imagined in the pursuit of growing WIN, including creative director, designer, photographer, logistics manager, IT director, recruiter and talent lead, executive assistant, membership manager, and most recently and more formally, Global Marketing Lead. Since then, we’ve been working together to advance women in innovation into positions of leadership by giving them actionable tools, resources, and the support of a generous community.
What are you most proud of from your time at WIN?
I’m most proud of the generous community we’ve built. We’re 3000 members strong across the world, and no matter which new city I’m visiting, from Dubai to Dublin, I know I’ll have a kind, open, inspiring woman in innovation to learn from.
I’m also very proud of the leadership team we’ve built. These women tirelessly power WIN in borrowed mornings, evenings, and weekends, and I’m constantly humbled, impressed, and motivated by them.
What was your biggest learning from being involved with WIN?
Every opportunity, no matter the size, is yours to shape. The more you give, the more you get.
Why did you decide to go back to school? Why art school?
Through my experience at WIN, I’ve seen first-hand how design-centered business is a hugely powerful lever for meaningful change, and can truly shift systems and culture. Design has the power to open hearts, alter viewpoints, and eventually change ways of seeing the world. I decided to go back to school to receive tactical training and develop new ways of applying design to solve our most pressing challenges.
How do you stay inspired and creative? Do you have any routines or rituals?
I do my best to thoughtfully consume a wide range of content. Last year, I noticed that I was in the habit of reading, listening to, and watching a lot, but not taking a moment to pause, reflect, question, or discuss, and therefore was not retaining much! (What is the point of my Netflix binge if I take nothing away from it?!) As a solve, my partner and I created a shared spreadsheet to record our favorite content and a few insights on what we liked and learned. This practice has improved my retention, sparked discussion, and has encouraged me to connect the dots between seemingly disparate stories. I also appreciate sharing this space with someone who prioritizes very different content than I do.
What content has inspired you most recently?
Fleabag. I love the hilariously weird, guinea pig-filled world Phoebe Waller-Bridge created.
Which recent innovation excites you most?
I’m most excited by the development of alternatives to animal-derived foods, like Oatly, Beyond Meat (interesting interview with the founder), and Impossible Foods. Not only are these products kinder in terms of animal welfare, but they’re kinder to the planet in a world where sustainable choices are mandatory.
What product, service, or industry do you think is most ripe for innovation? Why?
I can’t wait to see where fem-tech goes in the next year. While women have a unique set of health needs, women’s health surprisingly accounts for only 4 percent of the overall funding for research and development for healthcare products and services in the United States.
Luckily, we live in a time when women are breaking boundaries and addressing the historically underserved moments of womanhood like menstruation, fertility, pregnancy, postpartum, menopause and postmenopause, and more. I’m impressed by brands like Modern Fertility (fertility solutions), Maven Clinic (general health), Cora (feminine care products), Elvie (wearable breast pump), and Rory (menopause management) for leading the charge.
What makes a great innovation?
Impeccable design. Design unlocks the potential of ideas — without compelling design, no one will be curious about your idea, relate, or take action.
What is your favorite book and why?
I could never pick just one :) Here are a few recent favorites that are perfect summer reads (and happen to all be written by and feature strong, complicated women):
Normal People by Sally Rooney
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
The Cost of Living by Deborah Levy
On Beauty by Zadie Smith
What is your favorite podcast and why?
How I Built This is a favorite, because I love jumping behind the scenes with entrepreneurs and learning from their creative strategies, hustle, experiences, mistakes, and victories.
I also regularly listen to Embedded, because I love how they take a seemingly small topic, dig deeper, and reveal an unexpected, mind-opening story.
What advice would you give to the WIN community?
Continue to build your tribe of uplifting peers. Through work, WIN, and life, I’ve been so lucky to join forces with people who constantly inspire, surprise, motivate me to do better, advocate for and advise me, and always have my back — I cannot state the value of this enough.
What is your favorite quotation?
“We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another; unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, or fix us in the present. We are made up of layers, cells, constellations.” —Anaïs Nin
Interviewed by Kit Krugman & photos by Carey Burwick.
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