Meet Kate Elliott, Project Communications Specialist
I was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and raised in Ames, Iowa. When I was growing up, my family would spend a few weeks every summer driving big loops around the U.S. to camp in and explore our national parks. I was about ten when I first visited the Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park, and I was blown away by the moss hanging on the trees, the banana slugs, and the cool temperature in the middle of summer.
In that same trip, we visited Seattle and ate clams and oysters, and drove through eastern Oregon (at the time, I did not appreciate the tumbleweeds and the Wild West atmosphere). I decided on that trip that I would move to Seattle as soon as practicable. After college, I made good on my goal and moved out to Seattle to start my career and put down roots. I’ve been out here for a decade now and it is still one of the best decisions I’ve made!
What do you do at MFA?
I help MFA and our clients communicate with and engage with stakeholders about complex projects. I also help municipalities and organizations evaluate their communications efforts, and I provide recommendations for improvements. Sometimes I have the pleasure to serve as the official cat herder on big projects—which I really love doing!—to keep everyone focused and on task so we can get the big, complex project done!
What’s rewarding about your job?
I love that I get to work with a variety of people. Everyone seems to have a completely different experience and perspective, and I find it fascinating.
Why is what you do important?
I believe that people have a right to know what’s going on in their community and to have a voice on what they think about it—good or bad. I make sure they get the information necessary to get up to speed and a venue in which to ask questions and provide their feedback. And then I make sure that their comments are accurately reflected in the project documentation.
What skills do you bring to your work?
I really enjoy working with people, and many of my colleagues and clients are also my friends. I’m incredibly focused (I’ve been told it’s like I’m wearing an invisibility cloak when I’m working—but mostly I can’t see or hear you when I’m in the zone). I’m passionate about the work I do, and I don’t take myself too seriously. I love to laugh and have a good time. Some of our work is really tough and you can’t take yourself too seriously or you’ll never make it through!
What do you like to do off the clock?
Anything outdoors! Like your typical Washingtonian, I love to be outside in our oft-mild weather, soaking up the views and smells and all the good nature things! When I’m not backpacking in the woods or digging clams on the beach, you can find me reading all types of books, but mostly books about wine!
If you were not a Communications and Outreach Specialist, what would you be?
Perhaps I would never have left my job as a summer staffer at Tuscarora Lodge & Canoe Outfitters in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. It was hard work, but the easy access to the Boundary Waters made it so worthwhile!
What’s on your bucket list?
Currently, running a half marathon through the vineyards of Oregon wine country, through-hiking the Enchantments, and sailing around the world!