“YPN5Q” is a weekly Q&A series spotlighting the state’s top young business and civic leaders and creative minds — professionals propelling change through entrepreneurship, the arts, public service, social media, and community involvement. This week, we hear from Katie Kieffer, a conservative blogger and public speaker with a background in journalism, entrepreneurship and commercial real estate.
Name: Katie Kieffer
Residence: St. Paul
Current job: Columnist, public speaker and multimedia entrepreneur
Current employer: KatieKieffer.com
1. In grade school, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a little girl, I dreamed of becoming a business owner, an FBI agent or a ballerina. I loved dressing up and role-playing for these different jobs.
2. What accomplishment you are most proud of in your career thus far?
Taking the risk to step away from the comforts and familiarities of the corporate world to start my own venture. I chose to take a risk, employ my talents, work very hard and persevere. My choice is beginning to pay off; I am now building a portfolio of speaking engagements and columnist work.
3. What’s the most challenging aspect of your work?
Since there are many casual public speakers out there, prospective clients sometimes assume I speak pro-bono. So, I show them how I will add value, energy and inspiration to their events as a professional speaker.
4. What do you know now that you wish you knew 10 years ago?
That you should love what you do, utilizing your unique talents to the fullest. If you’re currently working in an environment that doesn’t allow you to grow intellectually, you need to find a way out. Personally, I’m very passionate about writing and speaking about entrepreneurship and the free markets. Since I love what I’m doing, it doesn’t feel like work. I realize the current economic state can make entrepreneurship challenging, but if you work hard, I’m confident that you can make it happen.
5. What living person would you love to have lunch with?
PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel. He thinks outside the box. I love what he is doing with his “20 Under 20” fellowship program to promote entrepreneurship among young people in the fields of science and technology.
To nominate a young professional for “YPN5Q,” email email@example.com with the nominee’s full name, employer or contact info, and one or two brief sentences supporting your nomination.