When we sat down with Bateman Group senior associate Katie Garagozzo for a Q&A, we knew it would be a good time. When Katie’s not too busy working with the clients she loves, you can usually find her bustin’ out her Miley Cyrus dance moves or casually making conversation in jean overalls. Often the source of everyone’s laughter, Katie brings a unique style and genuine work ethic to Bateman, having worked at the agency for nearly three years. We know you’re dying to know more about this talented and brilliant PR girl from San Jose, so here’s Katie’s story.
How did you become interested in PR?
I majored in public relations at Gonzaga University in Washington State. I pursued journalism at first and took your basic communications classes. There was a specific course in PR that specifically piqued my attention because it mixed the influence of media with the creativity and strategy that always intrigued me. I found that PR fused those elements together, and as I began taking more classes that put me in real-world situations where I was practicing PR, it was a great affirmation that I really enjoyed the work. I was able to work with various nonprofits in the Spokane area, and felt accomplished in what I was doing and helping my then-clients achieve. Before I came to Bateman, I was working as an Account Coordinator for Blanc & Otus. It was my first “big kid” job out of college, where I started as an intern and was hired into the company full-time. The learning process was valuable, and affirmed that I wanted to commit to PR.
What made you come to Bateman?
I was at Blanc & Otus for about a year and a half when a former colleague who landed a job at Bateman approached me about the company. During interviews, I met almost the entire team (at the time, there were only about 11 or 12 people!) and it was clear that my style of work and goals would be a fit. Bateman’s culture of collaboration, creativity and strategy shined through, and I admired their sense of community, the work they produced and the client roster. That initial authenticity has carried through as we’ve grown as a company, and today everyone from account coordinators to senior management work together to come up with new and exciting strategies. It’s been truly unique to see the company grow so successfully.
Tell us something about yourself that would surprise most people.
I wear my heart on my sleeve and don’t have too many secrets of my own (though I will always honor an embargo). Most people who know me well know that I’m slightly introverted and need my solo recharge time. You probably wouldn’t guess it if you didn’t know me, since I’m pretty outgoing! An interesting fact people probably don’t know is that my grandfather’s family name is Dickens. We’ve been trying to trace our roots back to Charles Dickens since.
How did you end up in SF?
I’m originally from San Jose and have gradually been making my way up through the Bay Area. At one point, I had a nasty commute from the South Bay that involved me switching from my bike to Caltrain for three hours a day. After a year and a half of that, I got serious about my apartment hunt. I moved up to SF when I started at Bateman, and I’m in love with it. There’s always so much to do and never a dull moment in this city. Nature is right at your doorstep, and amazing food, obviously.
What kind of hobbies do you have outside of work?
Recently, I’ve been getting into photography. I’ve always been inspired to be creative, and it had been a while since I tried anything new, so a few weekends ago, I took the ferry to Sausalito and checked out the city. (To my pleasant surprise, there was a full bar on the ferry.) I walked around the town and took tons of photos of a community garden, a weird house boat commune, and the interesting architecture I saw. I’ve never really had any formal photography training, so I’m not going to say the photos were masterpieces…but I’m slowly learning!
What makes you tick?
I hate being stagnant and being in a complacent, nothing zone. Whether it’s in my personal life or professionally, if I don’t see progress towards some end-goal, it drives me crazy. I try to make sure there’s always something happening, because crossing things off my to-do list feels great.
What is the best dish you can cook?
I love experimenting in the kitchen – I’ve been trying to cook new foods from different cultures, which has been really fun. I’m always on the hunt for the most authentic restaurants I can find. On the dessert side, I have this amazing secret brownie recipe passed down from my mom. She calls it her “special brownies” (not that kind) and they will ruin any other brownie you will ever have again. They’re this amazing mix of sweet and salty, caramel and chocolate.
Do you have any hidden talents?
I get told that I look like Miley Cyrus more often than is comfortable, so obviously I’ve mastered her sweet dance moves. I’m also really good at accents and impressions. Growing up, my best friend was Indian and after I since I spent a ton of time at her house and with her parents, I picked up her accent really fast. It grew from there, and every once in a while, I’ll bust out my accents for a laugh.
What advice can you offer to aspiring PR professionals?
Find a job that makes you curious and keeps your interest. You want to be passionate about what you do, because you’ll spend time with it day in and day out. You should always have that little spark inside of you that keeps you hooked, no matter what’s going on. You should be creative and don’t be afraid to think big, but never devalue the power of hard work. Keep your mind open to new ideas, and know that your work will speak for itself.