#TPBTH Meet: Laura Kate Whitney
Laura Kate Whitney
Marketing + Communications Director, Charleston Wine + Food
Twitter/Instagram: @lk_whitney + @chswineandfood #CHSWFF
At heart I am a connector and storyteller. At work I’m obsessed with user experience and brand narrative. During my day job, I have the honor + pleasure of spreading the gospel for the Lowcountry’s premier culinary experience, Charleston Wine + Food. In fact, I’d say #CHSWFF (going on twelve years strong) is really the country’s best culinary experience in the best city in the world. But I’m not biased one bit.
How did you get started?
I became involved with Charleston Wine + Food in 2006, the founding year, as a volunteer and later joined the team in a small contract role in 2009. Even after moving away from Charleston for six years, I was delighted to be invited back to the Holy City that first weekend each March to support the phenomenal team of staff, vendors, talent, and volunteers who create absolute festival magic each year. Having spent my career dancing between event production and pr/marketing throughout the southeast, it was only a matter of time before I landed in this role. (At least that’s what I said in my interview.)
What or who influenced you the most as you were developing your craft:
I’ve had access to so many incredible teachers and mentors that together form a small army of folks who have influenced my professional path. However, I’ve always attributed my passion for people and their stories to my father. He has an enviable way of bringing people together, and I loved watching him interact with his community when I was a little girl. I’m also a glutton for travel, yoga, and really intense red wine – I’d say those things tend to have an influence on me, as well.
Why do you love your job?
I really dig my job because it changes all the time, constantly forcing me outside of my comfort zone. The subject matter is pretty swell, too. And – every now and then – there’s some really great food and wine involved.
What inspires you?
Words inspire me. Grace inspires me. Exploring a new place. The ocean. But above and beyond all, I’m inspired by my two sons. I can’t look at them and not be overcome with a desperation to be the very best and give the very best and love the very best.
5 words that describe who you are:
When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up?
My first career aspiration was to become an astronaut. Then a swimsuit designer. A soap sculptor. A dance teacher. A lottery winner. I have become none of these things. And that is okay.
I’m really quite lucky to have a job that truly suits me, but I do have other aspirations. Please don’t judge: nail polish namer, coffee shop barista, yoga teacher, tour guide, body double for Julia Louis-Dreyfus…pass me the wine, I can keep going.
3 things you aspire to be or do:
A good mother.
A lifelong learner.
A trusted friend.
(Fill in the blank) I appreciate ________ in my life, because ________.
I appreciate forgiveness in my life, because I find myself needing it often.
What was one of the hardest lessons or toughest obstacles you had to overcome?
Over the past few years, I’ve come face-to-face with some big girl challenges, both personally and professionally, and the biggest lesson I’ve learned throughout this season of life is that – no matter how much you plan/prepare, you can never, ever, never ever ever, never assume how other people will respond or react to your actions. Being true to yourself, being humble, being honest – these are now my daily practice.
Advice for someone who is looking to begin a new hobby/job/life pursuit:
Start a journal. Record everything. Allow yourself to learn from (and take pride in) the mistakes.
Something your followers would be surprised to learn about you:
I’m a beauty school dropout.
This is an absurd question, but if I had just one meal left it would include a bucket of crispy fried chicken, a gooey platter of nachos, a big bowl of slow-cooked butter beans, forkfuls of carbonara, a bite or two of sticky toffee pudding, and an obscene amount of charcuterie.
Black coffee upon waking. An Old Fashioned after work. A big, bold, gnarly old vine zin with dinner. (And La Croix #alldamnday.)
No disrespect, but you don’t wanna’ go there. #lkanthology
“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” -Buddha