Kate Atwood is one of those people you meet and then instantly feel like you're friends with her. But unlike your average friend (not to say your friends are average, just sayin'), Kate spends her life's mission helping the lives of others. She started Kate's Club to help the youth of Atlanta grieve the loss of a family member, just as she did as a child. And now, she's taking that need to do good and to create something positive and is spreading the word for all types of noble causes. Needless to say, we're moved by all that Kate does for Atlanta, so we wanted to see what she was up to these days with Kate's Club and the rest of her un-average activities:
SCOUT: Tell those of us who don’t know about Kate’s Club what the organization is all about?
KATE: Kate’s Club is an Atlanta-based non-profit organization that empowers children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling. We are all about peer-to-peer support to help kids and their families move through the grieving process in a healthy way… and we give our kids space to have fun too. Which is so important, because after all, they're still kids. All of our services are provided at no cost to the families.
SCOUT: And what inspired you to create this awesome world for these kids?
KATE: When I was 12 years old, my mother Audrey passed away from breast cancer. I remember being 12 and not knowing anyone else who had lost a mother… except for Cinderella and Snow White. They weren’t really going to be able to help me. Kate’s Club, at its core, is the idea that these kids are not alone and together, we can help them move forward healthy and strong in our grief, but more importantly in our life.
SCOUT: That's some pretty powerful stuff. What’s been the highlight moment of your work with Kate’s Club?
KATE: There have been some pretty amazing highlights along the way. But I will never forget the first meeting I had with a family joining Kate’s Club. Or that first van ride taking all the kids to Fernbank Museum back in 2003. When we first started out, we had no Clubhouse facility, no big financier backing anything, we were just a group of passionate volunteers that wanted to make a difference. We have come so amazingly far in seven years, but even in those early days, I remember having that feeling and inspiration that this was going to be something big for Atlanta. And that is what it is becoming.
SCOUT: Besides changing lives, what's your favorite thing about your job?
KATE: Well, a lot of people may not know that I actually have a job outside of Kate’s Club now. I don’t run the day-to-day of the organization anymore. While it still remains an important part of my life, I am now evolving professionally to do new things. I’m a creator and a visionary, so it’s hard to hold me in one spot. Right now, I am definitely in a creative zone with inspiration all around me.
One thing runs true to all my jobs I’ve had: I’m all about connecting with people and creating community.
SCOUT: Well now you've got us extra curious. What exactly is it that you are doing now?
KATE: I am really excited about my new initiative 'Living by Giving' which uses communications and media to help connect individuals to causes, and inspires happiness by helping others. I’m out there speaking to a lot of groups and organizations about giving back, sharing stories on my blog: KateAtwood.com, contributing articles to various publications. I recently had my first Living by Giving segment on The Today Show. I’m doing a lot to build this platform and am absolutely loving it. I believe it will be the next big lifestyle component for people to discover – much like health and fitness or personal finance. If all of us realized how much happiness can come into our lives when we set out to help someone else, I have no doubt that all of us would be doing it. I’m here to get everyone started.
I am also a part of a new marketing agency called Bcauz Marketing. We are a cause marketing agency working with non-profits and for-profit companies to boost brand awareness through cause partnerships and marketing strategies. Our client list is growing fast, which is exciting and a great sign of the evolving social responsibility culture in our business community.
As I said, it's hard to keep me in one place.
SCOUT: I'd say so. So, when you do have a chance to unwind, where in Atlanta do you go to get away from work?
KATE: I usually have to get out of Atlanta to truly get away from my work. But when I do need some social inspiration in the city, you’ll find me at Piedmont Park or walking around various neighborhoods in Atlanta. We have some of the most charming neighborhoods and I just like touring them on walks with my dog. As for food and drinks, I am not one that can ever keep up with the newest hot spots, so I kinda just go where the company is good.
SCOUT: Fair enough. Tell us one thing people don’t know about you:
KATE: That my first job was in sports marketing, working with a sponsor of NASCAR. However, when I interviewed for that first job in sports at the age of 22, I was asked: “What is your dream job?” Most smart candidates would give an answer that actually existed in the sports industry. I boldly stated that I wanted to be like Oprah for my generation and have a TV show. I still got the job, thankfully. And 10 years later, I still carry the dream. My former boss and I still laugh about this. Not the dream, but the interview.
SCOUT: Okay so besides NASCAR and Oprah and changing the lives of others, what would you be doing if you had to choose a different profession?
KATE: Radio talk show host. Hands down. I love doing radio. It would be talk radio or a morning show.
SCOUT: So give us your "curious finds" in Atlanta. As in, those under-the-radar charities and events in Atlanta that inspire you to do even more good:
KATE: One of the gifts of starting Kate’s Club here in Atlanta is that I have grown to know and love the extended non-profit community here. I love Atlanta for its generosity in service and creative charity events. Some of my favorites (aside from Kate’s Club, of course) that often go under the radar include:
Isipho, which is a non-profit started by a mentee of mine, 16 year old Miranda Lynch, and is doing good around the world.
One Love Generation – which is one I was recently introduced to, doing amazing things for Atlanta’s at-risk youth.
PADV: Partnership Against Domestic Violence which is taking on a hard mission, but making amazing strides.
And Songs for Kids Foundation I never miss their 500 Songs for Kids at Smith’s Olde Bar each spring. So much fun.
These are all grassroots organizations delivering amazing amounts of goodness to our world.
SCOUT: Awesome. Now we have a great, feel-good checklist of things we totally want to get involved in. Now say you have friends in town visiting for the weekend. What’s on the agenda?
KATE: The list would include, not in any particular order: Murphy’s for brunch, a visit by the Kate’s Club Clubhouse in Midtown, shopping in the Virginia Highlands including a stop by Urban Cottage, JCT Kitchen or Top FLR for dinner. If I can swing tickets to a sporting event, I’ll do that too. We also have great hiking around here, I love to explore, even OTP.
SCOUT: Well, Miss Kate. You're one busy girl. But before we let you go, let our Mobsters to know what's next up on your radar:
KATE: I have some fun projects in the works, too early to tell how the chips will all fall. But I’m motivated big time right now. Let’s just say that if, by this time next year, I’m a little closer that that BIG dream job I spoke of earlier, then I’ll fully endorse these little vision boards for the rest of my life.