By Anna Finn
On Tuesday, April 4, Katie Burke came to Sacred Heart University to present a master class on presentation skills for public relations.
Burke is a senior strategist and global chief of Staff at Edelman, a global communication marketing firm, and has nearly 20 years of experience at the highest levels of government and business.
“I became very close to the business and some of their clients at Edelman, it is an amazing place to work,” said Burke.
After taking two years off for personal reasons, Burke was very grateful that Richard Edelman had requested her to come back.
“I have a young daughter who needed me to be around a little more, so the time was right to take a two year break from Edelman,” said Burke.
Burke genuinely loves client work and engaging with them on a variety of different issues.
“No two days are ever the same and because we are a global company we are dealing with clients across the spectrum and really around the world,” said Burke. “It is a tremendous opportunity to partner with our clients as they communicate across a variety of channels.”
Following her hard work and graduate school, Burke started answering the telephones in congressman Chris Shay’s office.
“A lot of people, including my parents, thought this was a very peculiar thing to do and I absolutely loved it. I found that the more that I learned about policy and communication, the more I wanted to be involved,” said Burke.
Burke made it a point to always arrive earlier and leave later than everyone, as well as work hard to understand issues top to bottom, that way she could have a useful opinion and advocate for a particular point of view.
“It was really one of those circumstances of a lot of hard work, a lot of luck and then a lot of meeting some really amazing people who were incredibly helpful to me throughout my career,” said Burke.
Subsequently to her job on Capital Hill for four and a half years, Burke briefly worked at NBC in New York, then moved to the White House after president George Bush’s re-election campaign in 2003.
After working in the White House, Burke went out to California for 10 months and then moved back to New York when Rudy Giuliani ran for president.
Working hard is what led her to achieve and succeed in her field and eventually make it to the highest levels of government and business where she is now.
“There were times where I was frustrated by the pace, I wanted it to move faster,” said Burke. “Lucky for me, campaigns move pretty quickly so I had a relatively short amount of time of a really interesting and varied exposure to a variety of different policies and communication opportunities and challenges.”
Although it consists of a lot of traveling and the work is very time consuming, Burke explained that she chose this field because she loves talking to people and explaining things to them.
“I love the puzzle of trying to simplify how you talk about something that is very complicated to people so they can not only understand what I’m talking about, but how it impacts their lives,” said Burke.
Burke warned what people should expect going into this field, and that is for no one to expect they will be guaranteed a seat at the strategic decision making table—it has to be earned.
“I think people should expect to work hard but also find tremendous reward in the value that you can bring to a business and political campaign,” said Burke.