When you mention this Midwest member’s name, a few words or reactions come to mind: energy, light, beautiful human being, go-to friend, and colleague.
Kate Harry Shipham, principal of KHS People, an executive search firm in Chicago, and active LMA Chicagoan and Midwest Region member is well-known for raising or lending a hand often when it comes to our volunteer committee and board activities. She is also a voice in the professional services industry, with her finger on the pulse of market and hiring trends in the accounting and marketing industries and beyond. Whether we are inspired by the KHS blog or podcast, or the many other platforms where Kate has been featured, she is always good for a dose of interesting data, news or ironically when you are having one of those days – she hits us with an uplifting article or message for her fellow marketers.
If you know Kate, you could have written this piece as easily as I did because you know that she is a consummate professional, infuses fun into every situation, throws us a sarcastic line when we need one, and always has our backs. And I am honored to call her my friend. If you don’t know Kate – get to know her a little better. Here are some fun facts:
What was the motivation for launching KHS People? To provide a level of service to all clients – both firms and candidates – that was based on leveraging the attorney and executive search experience that I had to marketers in all professional services firms. So, in 2017 KHS People was born! A lot of my clients are law firms, and I also work for accounting, engineering, and architecture firms. Their partnership models are very similar, if not the same, and they all share the same clients. All of my clients want options, market comparisons and intelligence, and the option to move between professional services sectors.
What is your favorite part about being the Principal of KHS People? This is two-fold. The first is the variety. Every day is different. Every day I meet unique people with a unique path and story, and I’ve learned over the years to listen and ask the right questions to elicit the best out of each person. The second is – quite simply – talking to people. I am absolutely a “people’s person”. I felt stifled in my previous career as a litigator, behind my desk, churning out hours and fighting battles in a very precise way. Now I get to leverage and apply the discipline and intellectual rigor that doing a law degree gives you alongside my people skills. It has served me well and I can relate, connect, and apply a disciplined framework which gives all my clients better results.
What would you say to someone considering joining LMA? LMA is, quite genuinely, the community home for legal marketers.It has an always-open door with a smiling face behind it to greet you. I joined LMA when I arrived in the U.S. back in 2012 and was pleasantly shocked to feel as welcomed as I was. I was an outsider, who sounded funny, and no one knew me. But my background resonated with people, and they went out of their way to make me feel at home and connected. I have close professional and personal friends and – while I don’t have the spare time to volunteer – I make the time, because it means something to me and because I get so much back in so many ways.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? The first thing I do is hug my daughter (2.5 years), who is usually standing right there asking for me to get up and a hug! She’s the best alarm clock and her sweet and cheeky smile is a beautiful thing to wake up. I then make coffee for my husband and I, and my daughter has learned which buttons to press on the coffee machine. It’s a highlight of her morning and it sends an even bigger beaming smile across her little face.
What do you do in your free time (if that exists!)? Wait, people have free time?? What am I missing! All jokes aside, I love to cook. My grandmother taught me how to bake in her big kitchen on their farm in the middle of outback Australia, and my mom taught me how to cook everything else in between in our modest kitchen in the small town where I grew up. Creating something with your hands from a bulleted list seems so easy and satisfying! I have so many go-to recipes for weeknights that take about 20 minutes from start to finish, and I have my favorite big, hearty slow cooked meals for the depths of the Chicago winter. Pre-Covid, I loved having different friends over who hadn’t met before, but who you just know will all get along, and cook them a three-to-four course fancy dinner.
Share a fun phrase, product, or activity that Australians do/say/use that Americans should adopt. The Australian phrase that I love, and I know I still use and I’m not even aware I’m using it most of the time is, quite simply, “no worries”. It truly embodies the Australian culture and spirit of not sweating the little things, staying focused on moving forward, and staying positive. It can even sound flippant, it’s that simple, but it has a much deeper meaning and embodies a way of life. Growing up in Australia is a humbling experience where kids can be kids and where you learn how to roll with the punches and move on – and do it all with a smile on your face. (As a funny side note, the “Bloomin’ Onion at Outback Steakhouse… it’s absolutely not a thing!)
We are supremely spoiled to have Kate in our LMA Community, and it brought us joy to share a little more about her with all of you.