More About Kate
Equal parts evaluator, coach, facilitator, strategist, creative, and change-maker.
Where It Started... and Continues
Kate (they/them/she/her) was born and raised in Colorado. Kate's had the good luck and pleasure of having lived in many amazing cities--from Edinburgh, Scotland to Durham, North Carolina---and now calls San Marcos, California (just north of San Diego) home. Travel and adventure continue to be a big part of Kate's life, though coming home to Southern California is always delightful.
Kate lives with their partner and their sweet pup, Dio. Kate would love to have more dogs (and maybe a miniature donkey too), but that's not in the cards just yet. When they aren't working alongside arts and cultural organizations, Kate might be found in her green wingback chair, drinking black coffee and working on a novel, or in the kitchen puzzling out complex vegan recipes.
Kate grew up visiting the very museum where they would return to 20+ years later (the Denver Museum of Nature & Science) to start the department of Audience Insights.
Though Kate's favorite book growing up was From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, they never dreamed they’d work in museums. That’s probably because at age 21, Kate was interning for the FBI’s National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime and, by age 23, managing victim and witness services in London’s criminal courts.
The Journey to Museums
Kate holds a BA in Psychology and Criminology from New York University (Go Violets!) and a MS in Investigative Psychology (a cool British term for Forensic Psychology) from the University of Liverpool (England).
Formally educated in psychology, criminology, victimology, social science research, evaluation methods, and instrument design, Kate spent most of their pre-museum years in grassroots nonprofits focused on victims’ rights, equity, access, and social justice. Those principles remain at the core of Kate's work today.
When Kate was 29, they adopted a 9-year-old kiddo. (Happy to tell you the story someday; it's a good one!) Becoming an instant-parent was not only life-changing, but sparked a career change– enter museums!
Focused on Field-Wide Change
Kate was Director of Audience Insights at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science (DMNS) from 2007-2013 and began consulting in 2010. (A related aside– Kate now has a "From the Mixed Up Files" tattoo. Really!)
At DMNS, Kate led a team of 3 full-time staff and 20+ on-call research assistants. They directed, planned for, and engaged in exhibit, program, and process evaluations of all shapes and sizes– from front-end and formative to remedial and summative.
In 2010, Kate formed the Denver-area Evaluation Network (DEN)– a collective of over a dozen local cultural institutions working to better understand audience and community. In 2011, Kate co-founded Drinking About Museums (with the inimitable Koven Smith), a social and cultural gathering that has now spread as far as Brazil and Russia. In 2017, Kate launched Fund the Change, an effort to bring attention to the power, privilege, and resource inequities in museums and fund activists and change-makers in our field.
Ongoing Leadership + Vision
Kate has been the principal investigator on IMLS and NSF grants and coordinated evaluation on IMLS, NSF, NASA, NEH, and NIH funded projects. She is a former board member of the Visitor Studies Association and the American Alliance of Museums' Committee for Audience Research and Evaluation, and served in leadership roles on the American Evaluation Association’s Arts, Culture, and Museums group and Data Visualization and Reporting group.
Kate has consulted with cultural organizations ranging from 2 to 500+ employees, teaming with boards, senior leadership, educators, community influencers, curators, artists, museum planners, architects, strategists, economists, and exhibit designers to ensure usable, sustainable, beautiful results.
In 2018, Kate completed her coaching certificate from the Hudson Institute in Santa Barbara. In 2020, Kate was awarded the Professional Certified Coach (PCC) designation by the International Coaching Federation. Executive, Leadership, and Career Transition coaching currently comprises about 50% of Kate's portfolio, including one-on-one and team coaching. For more information, please visit Kate's coaching website.
Kate's CliftonStrengths (i.e., StrengthsFinder)
Sees many paths forward
when others assume there is no way
Sees people as individuals; recognizes potential in each person
A hard worker, setting the
pace for productivity
Brings fresh perspective; unafraid of ambiguity or taking risks