Kathryn Harris works for Red Bull Media House in Santa Monica, California as a Digital Video Programming Coordinator -- managing the online video platforms including Hulu, YouTube, and DailyMotion! Our #WCW loves all things digital, cheese & wine, and the Georgia Bulldogs:
1. What's your story? What makes you unique?
That’s always a funny question to answer. What is my story? Why am I unique? I guess when I think unique I think about how there used to be a time when everything came really easily and then how I overcame the challenge of it not being as easy any more. High school, a time that is generally hard for most people, was a breeze for me. It wasn’t until I applied to college and didn’t get into the one university I had always wanted to go to that I faced any kind of adversity. And from that time on nothing came as easily, I had to work my butt off to get everything I wanted. I didn’t get into the major I wanted but that made me work harder and find a new brand for myself which ended up leading me into a whole new realm of career possibilities. I was rejected from internship after internship and because I had nothing very late in the year I ended up being hired at a major news organization, my dream job, CNN. From working at CNN I found my love for all things digital and with what I learned there I curved my curriculum in school towards a mobile/digital focus. That is how I landed at Red Bull. I wasn’t hired for the initial graduate job I interviewed for but instead I was hired for a full-time position with a digital video focus. I am now in California working for hands-down the coolest company in the world because I didn’t let adversity bring me down, I let it shape me and make me who I am. I’d say my ability to not stress in the face of adversity and forge new paths is what makes me, well, me!
2. What motivates you?
Other than my parents? And the wildly expensive cost of living in California? I am motivated by the love of creating and learning new things and ideas. I am motivated by the fact that I want to feel like I have accomplished something and had fun at the end of everyday. The best thing is that I have worked at Red Bull for a year now and I haven’t gone a day without laughing and coming away from a project thinking, “I am so lucky!” I haven’t gone a day without creating something new and these things may not exactly change the world but it definitely impacted someone’s day and I can’t imagine a better motivator.
3. Who is a hero of yours?
My dad is my biggest hero. He has been a judge in North Georgia for 19 years and has been impacting the community for even longer. It is his passion and motivation to better the community that has always inspired me to make a difference in the world. Day in and day out he hears about some of the worst things in society and he still comes home with a smile on his face and a positive outlook that things will get better. He constantly pushes my brother and I to do better and to be the best we can be. It has been a really great way to grow up.
4. What's your future plan? Your goals?
Thinking about the future is always hard for me because I tend to try and live in the present. But if I had to outline my next five years I would like to see myself working in a more production oriented job within Red Bull and help with the development of our TV product, Red Bull TV. I am a generally creative brained person and I would love to flex that muscle more and more. There are a ton of opportunities to grow within this company and I would like to not only grow myself but also see the company grow and achieve its goal of becoming a full-blown media network. It has been really cool to watch and I look forward to hitting all the targets the company has set! I would also really like to grow some personal projects to fruition and be more creative on a day-to-day basis. I think sometimes you can get stuck in the 9 to 5 schedule and forget to do the things you used to love so I plan on getting back to my creative roots this year and in the future!
5. If you could give one piece of advice, what would it be?
Never stop exploring. Never let the fear of failure hold you back. Laugh WAAAYY more. Okay, so that’s three but they all go hand in hand! If moving across the country has taught me one thing, it’s that there are so many amazing people in this world with a different and exciting (and sometimes hilarious) story to tell. With every new experience and story you hear you’re getting a little more culture and a little more wisdom. Make your own stories and listen intently to others because you never know what you will learn! I moving clear across the country and I found a group of people who love taking risks and adventure as much as I do. From sunset beach volleyball to climbing boulders in Joshua Tree National Park, we have so much fun and that is where the love of exploring has gotten me. So take yourself a little less seriously and jump in, because there is so much this world has to offer and it’s ready for you. Make your story!
6. What is something you feel strongly about (a cause, belief, etc.)?
On the same vein of stories, I am passionate about the disease that takes away people’s stories. Two years ago, I lost my grandmother to Alzheimer’s Disease. It was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. For a time I was her caretaker and witnessing this graceful, thoughtful and passionate woman lose everything that made her my grandmother was difficult. Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States, which means that 1 and 3 seniors dies of the disease. Every 67 seconds someone in the U.S. develops Alzheimer’s. Those statistics frighten me. My family and I have taken on the cause of helping the Alzheimer’s Association by donating, asking other to donate and walking in the walk events. But for me that wasn’t enough. I didn’t want anyone else to feel like I did. I felt cheated of my grandmother’s memories. I didn’t get a chance to ask her for relationship advice or learn how to make her biscuits or just to get everyday wisdoms. So I recently started working with my brother and a friend on a project to help preserve people’s stories through video. It started out as a school project and has blossomed into something more. I live near the nations largest VA Hospital and hope to get access to start making memory videos soon! It is currently called Save That Story and you can read more about it here: http://savethatstory.weebly.com/
7. What's one of the coolest things you've ever done?
Driving across the country. No, I’m not kidding! Actually driving across the country in four days was the coolest thing I have ever done. My brother and I got in a car on a Sunday and drove through 10 states in four days. It was pretty awesome because we made a point to stop in only local joints for food. We realized that from state to state we aren’t that different. It was so fun to meet people along the way and laugh so hard with my brother until we cried. If you’ve never driven across the United States, I HIGHLY recommend it! You get such a perspective of how big a country it is and how awesomely varied the landscapes and people are!
For more about Kathryn or mentorship opportunities, check out her own online portfolio, www.kathrynharris.net!