Impact Connections: LIFTing Others Through Consulting with Alum Katrina Parkey
Written by Madison Phelan; Edited by Sandi Ruddick
I had the pleasure of speaking with Katrina Parkey, a consultant for TIP Strategies and a former 2019 Longhorn Impact Fellowship at Texas (LIFT) participant. Now joining LIFT again as a mentor for the teams, she is looking forward to this new experience and giving back to the program. She shared insightful advice for current LIFT students, as well as advice for those looking for jobs right now. Curious about the LIFT experience? Here’s what Katrina has to say!
Madison: Hi Katrina! Thank you so much for joining me today!
Katrina: Thank you for having me!
Madison: So I noticed that you started off at UT-San Antonio and then made your way to UT-Austin; I was wondering if you would like to share the journey that took you to Austin?
Katrina: Yeah! I graduated from UTSA, and then I got a job at the Texas Capitol, where I worked for the Speaker of the House at the time. After working for him for some time, the Speaker announced that he was retiring from office, and it sparked an interest in me to learn more and go back to school. I applied for a dual degree at UT with a Master of Public Affairs in the Lyndon B. Johnson School and an MBA from McCombs.
Madison: Beyond the educational side, I noticed that you have worked from political affairs all the way to becoming a consultant. Could you tell us what your career journey has looked like so far and how you have reached your current position as a Consultant for TIP Strategies?
Katrina: During my time in the Texas Capitol, I realized that I needed to learn more to add more. Grad school was the path I chose to go down. I wanted to combine my expressed interest in public policy and also learn more about the business side. I wanted to figure out what career path best merged the two. Luckily, an alumni who also did dual degrees worked at TIP Strategies, and I got to speak with them. The UT network is super powerful, so I am grateful for that connection. Now, I get to work at TIP Strategies and make an impact for our clients focused on workforce development.
Madison: At UT, you were also involved in GSLI’s Longhorn Impact Fellowship at Texas (LIFT) program; how did LIFT help you figure out your interests and prepare for your career?
Katrina: The LIFT program was one of my favorite experiences at UT. It helps prepare for real-world clients while also allowing a safe space to make mistakes and “fail faster.” The program sheds light for consultants to make strategic plans that lead to measurable outcomes, and I have taken what I have learned to TIP and applied it to my work. I also really appreciated the blend of grad and undergrad mix to provide individual strength and different insights.
Madison: You’ve also decided to mentor in the program, and I was wondering how you think the new LIFT alumni mentorship role will help students and how it feels to mentor in the program?
Katrina: I appreciate how powerful and strong and connected the alumni network is. LIFT attracts those that want to work in social impact. I am really excited to give back to the program–that was one of my most favorite things I did at UT. I also am looking forward to guiding the students and helping them avoid mistakes that I made.
Madison: What is your favorite memory from LIFT?
Katrina: The final presentation. We did this in Fall 2019, so it was one of the last big events I did before going virtual. But it was amazing to showcase everything we had worked on and tie it all together with a nice bow at the event.
Madison: Do you have any career advice for students?
Katrina: I have noticed most of my classmates, especially women, don’t apply to jobs they don’t 100% match, compared to men. Don’t disqualify yourself and sell yourself short. Go for those dream roles and let the hiring manager decide. Supplement your experience with things like LIFT in order to gain that experience. TIP is currently hiring for a summer intern, and the people that I get really excited to interview are those who are storytellers and sprinkle in those experiences like LIFT. It’s icing on the cake that helps them stand out.
Madison: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Katrina: Be choosy when it comes to the opportunities you find. You don’t want to stretch yourself too thin. Protect your time and energy to do the things you want to do.