Katie Williamson’s journey to becoming the Product Content Manager at Calendly is truly a unique one. So much so, you’d be surprised to learn that she actually got her undergraduate degree in Art, Journalism and Anthropology, with the end goal to become a reporter.
“My plan was to tell stories, traveling around the world. In school, I was taught how to be a ‘backpack reporter,’ which included learning how to take the right photos, how to write the stories, and how to edit video footage. In those situations, you are the standalone person who has to be ready to cover it all. I was ready for the call from National Geographic.”
From Reporter to Marketing Director
Fresh out of college, Katie found herself as the only Reporter at a small town newspaper. Although she appreciated the experience, after some time in the field, Katie realized that growth opportunities seemed scarce, and started feeling burnt out from the long hours and tragic assignments. A new opportunity arose as the Marketing Director at the University of Mississippi, and Katie felt it was the perfect time to switch things up.
“An opportunity came up to become the Marketing Director, which was a great pivot that let me use my skill set in a new way. I realized in this role I could still tell stories about people. I interviewed people, took photos, and designed layouts; all things I enjoyed doing as a Reporter.”
Katie moved back home to Oxford, Mississippi to be the Marketing Director at the University of Mississippi. The position was a contract position, and once the contract was up, she decided this was the path she wanted to take and enrolled at The Savannah College of Art and Design. Katie found herself moving to Atlanta to get her masters in Advertising at SCAD. With her sights set on one day becoming a Creative Director, Katie started working as a Copywriter at a large corporation in Atlanta. “That was a pretty funny and unique job. I was writing the copy for coupons that you’d get if you emailed a complaint to us. The work was a little boring but I got a five year supply of free toilet paper. Worth it!”
Realizing coupon copywriting wasn’t for her, Katie found herself at a crossroads. “While looking for a new job, I got two job offers.” One from a large human resources software company that would have Katie sitting on the Product team, and one from a large airline company, which was going to be a job on the Advertising team.
Katie had a hard decision to make, but what ended up becoming the deciding factor for which job to take? The hiring managers. “I’ve always been told to choose your manager, not your job. Although the airline sounded like a dream, Susa [the hiring manager for the HR software company] had a similar background to me, and she saw my potential with the skills I could bring to the table. She told me ‘I could make you a Content Strategist.’ Ultimately, Susa is what made my decision an easy one.”
In that role, Katie saw major growth in her role during her time at the company. “ I was presenting to all sorts of big wigs, even the CEO, telling product stories and bringing my skills to the innovation team as a UX team lead.”
Finding her way to Calendly
While things were going great in her role, Katie found out some news that changed the path of her career; her manager, Susa, was leaving the company to join a new company, Calendly. “Shortly after Susa left, we met for dinner and she poached me to join her team. I wasn’t going to turn down that opportunity.” Working for Susa again was an easy decision, along with knowing that working at Calendly meant she would have an impact on the final product. This led Katie to join Calendly as the Lead Product Content Strategist in January 2020.
“At Calendly, I had the opportunity to really focus on content strategy. Since Calendly was a much smaller company, I felt I was able to make more of an impact and continue working for my mentor. Although Susa no longer works at Calendly, she led me to the position I’m in now, which is where I’ve always wanted to be.”
Katie not only realized that she could focus on helping those around her grow, but she herself would have unique growth opportunities at Calendly. “It’s incredibly exciting to be a part of a company that is putting more women in more leadership positions. I grew from the Lead Product Content Strategist to the Product Content Manager, thanks to being at a company that invests in it’s employees.”
What it’s really like working on Calendly’s Product team
“At Calendly, I see my work being produced every day, I see my words on the screen, I see my stories having an impact. Working at a smaller company really gives you the feeling that what you’re doing is significant, and that wasn’t something I had experienced in my previous role.”
Katie has also found that working at Calendly means she’s working around some of the best people in the industry. “Everybody is truly doing their best at Calendly. Everyone around you is trying to put out the best product they can, and everyone is rowing together. That’s definitely not the norm, that’s something really special. The people at Calendly are one of the reasons why I love doing what I’m doing everyday.”
How she’s utilized her athletic mindset at Calendly
A unique fact about Katie is that she’s a trained fighter in Shidokan karate and plays professional football for the Atlanta Phoenix. As you can imagine, it’s important for Katie to find the time to do the things she loves.
“I work out every day at 7 PM. One thing that’s pretty great about Calendly is that my time is respected. Everyone is respectful of the time I carve out every day for training and for my football schedule. I can confidently say that Calendly respects your time, no matter how you choose to spend it.”
Katie has found that through fighting, she feels empowered at work by channeling that energy. “Fighting is the most intimidating, nerve-wracking experience I’ve ever had but you have to push through all that anxiety to grow. When I'm feeling anxious at work, going into a big leadership meeting or taking on a tough project, I remember that feeling before I get in a fight and laugh. Why stress, nothing at work can possibly be as difficult as walking on to a mat to fight a woman that wants to kill you. Karate makes those situations feel like a cake walk.”
“As an athlete, I have a strong competitive nature and strive to win in all areas. I enjoy bringing that determination to work. Calendly is one of my teams and has embraced my competitive spirit. I’m taking all the things I learned as an athlete to work, and that’s really helped me be successful. Now I’m taking that to the next level and getting to coach an amazing team. As Product Content Manager, I get to help people around me grow and build a winning team. I’m really grateful that Calendly has put me in a position to be a coach everyday.”