Katie Breen remembers advising her classmates to "do things that are scary" as the commencement speaker for the Smith School of Business in May 2012 when she earned her degree in marketing. Doing the "scary" thing is exactly what she did to land her in her current position as Marketing Manager at a start-up called Shinesty, a company that sells outrageous, fun and wild clothing.
After deciding she didn't belong in the cube farm world of corporate agencies, Katie was hired as the eighth employee at Shinesty in 2015, just six months after the company's creation. In her time with Shinesty, Katie's position has been ever-evolving, and she's been involved with everything from search engine programming to marketing project management to running the internship program. "I've had to figure things out myself and establish processes from the bottom up because the rules were totally unwritten," she says.
While at Smith, Katie's digital marketing classes laid the groundwork for her career, and taking classes in operations, finance and accounting provided her with a comprehensive perspective of businesses and the intricacies and inner workings of a company's operation. With this foundation, she took the risk to jump into the startup world, and she couldn't imagine herself anywhere else.
Katie has helped Shinesty grow tremendously, and the company has now more than tripled in size at 30 employees. Just recently, she and nine of her colleagues, were filmed for six weeks by MTV2 on working as a millennial entrepreneur. When asked what advice she would offer current Smith students, Katie says, "Follow your career interests, but follow them in a way that will lead you to the work environment where you will be most happy, even if they aren't typical or traditional. Sure there may be higher risks at startups, and you'll need to be hungrier for those opportunities, but for me, there's a much higher reward."