Meet Katie Painter: SpeakEasy Staff Spotlight

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Name: Katie Painter

Position: Director of Communications & Operations

📍: San Francisco, CA 

What do you like most about working at SpeakEasy?

I wake up every morning knowing that I’m doing good work, for good people, with good people. As the eldest member of the SpeakEasy family, I know how exceptionally rare it is to experience that triumvirate of motivations in the workplace. Knowing those three things gives me the lift I need to meet the challenges and stresses that are inevitable inside and outside of work. To live life with purpose, joy, and the support of people you respect and care about is a gift – one I do not take for granted.


Where are you based and what’s your favorite thing to do in your city?

San Francisco, CA. I’ve lived here for a long time, and there are so many things to love! But a sunny day in Dolores Park, with friends and a picnic basket full of goodies, is a delight. This city, which is chock full of characters, provides marvelous people watching opportunities – none more so than when a population that weathers a lot of fog gets to stretch out and let their knees get some sun.


When you’re not working, how do you like spending your free time?

Nothing beats driving Highway 1. The beach, the forest, the cliffs, the rolling vistas of the Golden State in all its glory, with my best friend – a very chubby, serene pitbull – at my side, is about as close to heaven as a person can get.


If you could choose anyone, who would you pick as your mentor?

Honestly, I am constantly learning from everyone I meet. I learn from my superiors and my colleagues at SpeakEasy every day. Everyone has a gift you don’t have, the lessons of a life you haven’t lived, the ability to carry something you haven’t carried before. Everyone has something to teach you. Patience and attention pay dividends of knowledge. And, obviously, I want Michelle Obama to teach me to speak with just my eyebrows. Her eyebrow discourse is epic.


Describe SpeakEasy in 3 words.

Collective, Empowering, Innovative.


Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

I’ve been around the world but the redwoods are my church, so Big Sur is still my favorite destination. 


What’s been your favorite project to work on at SpeakEasy?

I loved producing the direct mail for a state educational labor union’s endorsements this fall. Supporting the work of a brilliant, important labor union to elect pro-education candidates was a thrill.


What’s something most people don’t know about you?

I appear in costume as Ruth Bader Ginsburg in the official Notorious RBG book. They found my Halloween picture on Instagram and asked if they could include it. What an honor.


In a post-COVID world, where are you excited to travel first?

Italy. Pasta and art are my love languages.


What’s your motto?

“What does help look like?” From my mother, who taught me to be useful. The answer depends on the person, the situation. For empathy to be active, it must be specific.

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