Part Mom, Part Crusader: AKQA’s Kate Everett-Thorp

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Typically, when executives say they come to advertising with a “well-rounded” personal history, it more than likely means they’ve spent time working in another field…at least once.

That’s certainly true for Kate Everett-Thorp, who started her career on Capitol Hill and is now president of interactive advertising for the renowned agency AKQA. But it’s also true that, in Everett-Thorp’s case, the term “well rounded” takes on slightly different connotations. That’s because in Kate Everett-Thorp, what you have an example of is someone whose history in the field of advertising itself has as many (if not more) dimensions than any life lived across a multiplicity of professional experiences. Which is to say, she’s pretty much seen it all when it comes to interactive advertising—and has been at the forefront of most of it.

Everett-Thorp is a bona fide pioneer of Internet advertising, who has been named one of the “Top 25 Women to Watch” by Advertising Age and an “Online Media All-Star” by OMMA Magazine for her efforts. And in the process of bringing change to an industry that’s always changing, this mother of three (including a set of twin boys) has also managed another major feat, balancing her successful career with a similarly successful family life. The San Francisco-based working mom—whose home happens to offer “an unobstructed view of Mt.Tam”—has gone one better than the simple “maintaining” that most of us strive for: she’s taken her former title as “online crusader” to new heights.

So what exactly made Everett-Thorp, a journalism and political science major, step away from a future in politics and towards one in interactive advertising? A little real-time on the Hill was enough to do the trick.

After a short stint working as a television news reporter for WJAL in Maryland and then as a congressional aide, Everett-Thorp realized that life in the corridors of Washington wasn’t necessarily all it was cracked up to be. “[When I became] a congressional aide for a U.S. congressman, it wasn’t quite the idealistic view of politics that I thought I had,” she tells me. “It was just a lot of bartering for votes and things like that where it wasn’t as pure as I thought it was.”

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