Kate Proto

Marketing Manager, Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Original profile by Chris Serb (MSJ96)

Kate Proto (IMC09) is the marketing manager of public-private interface and markets and customers initiatives at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management. Previously, she was the director of communications at at Chicago International Charter Schools (CICS), a position she accepted a month into her final quarter at Medill. With plans to pursue a career at a nonprofit or in educational marketing, Proto jumped at the chance to spend her individual residency working at CICS.

“They were investing time and money in the internship, so they were hoping to find somebody who would like to take on the role of communications and marketing after graduating,” Proto says.

At CCIS, the goal was generate enthusiasm in the communities it served through creative marketing efforts, not just handing out pamphlets. Profession marketing at CCIS had in the past been something of an afterthought, but the organization had evolved when Proto began working there, and she knew a fresh marketing approach was necessary.

“This mirrored IMC’s emphasis on the value of learning about stakeholders and engaging them before creating messages, before trying to market or communicate about a given organization,” Proto says.

Her prior experience includes work at a public housing agency and other educational organizations. “When I entered Medill, I didn’t know if I’d work in consulting or on the client side, but I decided the client side was a better fit because my work would be deeper and broader,” Proto says.

She also credits her Medill education with preparing her well for a real-world marketing position. “I had a bit of experience from my previous jobs, but I never had the technical, up-to-the-minute understanding of data-driven decision-making,” she says. “I picked that up at Medill, as well as the stakeholder messaging that IMC gets across so well. Those give me a level of confidence in speaking with a colleague or introducing new ideas that I never had before.”

She credits her Medill education with preparing her well for a real-world marketing position