Today we’d like to introduce you to Kathryn Smith.
Kathryn, before we jump into specific questions, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I grew up in Mableton, GA near Six Flags over Georgia. My teenage years with my parents were rough and I ended up leaving home at age 17, however, my guardian and her partner helped me graduate from high school one year early and get accepted to Agnes Scott College in Decatur. After graduating from Agnes Scott with a BA in Women’s Studies I started my Marketing career at a small company in Norcross, GA. Since then I have worked in different fields of marketing including direct marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing, and marketing research.
I began freelancing part-time in 2009 as a web designer and social media marketing consultant. My clients were all individuals and small business owners who wanted to establish or optimize their online presence for marketing. Working with them I learned a lot about the challenges of entrepreneurship, the resilience and drive of small business owners and entrepreneurs, and the rewards of starting and owning your own business. That is when I made a goal to have my own business one day.
In 2013 I decided to go back to school with the goal of advancing my career and moving into a more data-centric job. In 2016 graduated from Georgia Tech’s Scheller College of Business with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) Degree with a concentration in Business Analytics. After graduating and while working full time I resumed my freelance marketing consulting. I formed Walton Birch in 2019 when I began consulting full time. As Principal Consultant for Walton Birch, I work with small business owners and entrepreneurs to help them identify and realize marketing goals for their business.
Outside of work I mentor and coach individuals from underrepresented groups, using data and labor market research to help them set and achieve career goals. I have also given talks to students about the power of leveraging data to make decisions. In my free time, I enjoy playing cello in the Atlanta Philharmonic Orchestra and learning to play the trumpet.
Has it been a smooth road?
My twin brother and I were adopted as babies and were raised in a conservative Christian household by loving parents; however, coming out as gay during my sophomore year in high school made my teenage years very tumultuous. My parents and I have since reconciled and are very close but I ended up leaving home very suddenly and unexpectedly at 17. While this was a traumatic event, and a huge obstacle in my life, leaving home and being adopted by a Jewish guardian introduced me to the LGBTQ and Jewish communities in Atlanta which broadened my horizons and introduced me to new concepts of “family” and “community”.
In the professional world being an LGBTQ woman of color has come with a unique and complex set of challenges. Being a member of several underrepresented groups has meant that sometimes when I show up to do business I’m the “only” of a certain group in a room and the designated advocate for the rights, needs, and interests of the groups I am a part of. I ultimately view my intersectional status as an asset because I bring different viewpoints and experiences to a discussion which prompts people to think creatively about things they had not previously considered, especially when it comes to customers or employees. Additionally, I am always rooting for the “little guy” and that means I am looking to differentiate my clients from competitors based on the uniqueness they provide, which helps them market their business in a way that is authentic for them.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Walton Birch – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of and what sets you apart from others.
Walton Birch is a consulting firm that works with small businesses and entrepreneurs to help them realize their marketing goals. We specialize in leveraging data and research to help business owners optimize their marketing strategy and digital presence. We are experts in all things small businesses and provide resources, research, and insights that are specifically tailored to small businesses operating in Georgia.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
I love that Atlanta is a huge, progressive city where anyone can “get in where they fit in” finding things to eat, see, do, and enjoy around the city. I also love that the city is well-known for its history and culture not just in the state, or the region, but across the nation and around the world. The Atlanta area is a friendly business environment, and there is a large (and growing!) number of resources available to help entrepreneurs develop and launch the next “big thing”.
The only thing I would change about the city is to make the entire metro area more public transit-friendly so that Atlanta isn’t “an hour away from Atlanta” as the joke goes.
- Website: waltonbirch.com
- Phone: 770-580-0548
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @krs_consulting
Headshot by @bostonchuckphotography (Instagram)