On February 15, 2011 Katie Brown (Cornell Arts & Sciences ’85), entrepreneur and TV personality, talked about her experiences developing her wildly successful eponymous home arts show on public television and some of the challenging decisions she had to make along the way. A strong advocate for the liberal arts background that gave her versatility in many arenas, Katie attributes her success path to her college graduation speech given by Frank Rhodes, who encouraged students to be true to themselves and to make a difference in their world. Recognizing that she was a creative, ambitious person, happier working for herself than others, Katie set about creating a lifestyle that would support her goals. As an aspiring actor, she waited tables and was fascinated by the flow in the restaurant kitchen. This led her to start catering – first on a small scale, eventually opening her own restaurant “Goat”. Through these entrepreneurial experiences, Katie described developing an alter-ego of sorts, one that could negotiate a deal, see an opportunity, develop an idea into a full- fledged program, and embody a confidence in her own abilities that has stayed with her through her career. This public persona has become formalized in the “Katie Brown” brand, a formula she sticks to consistently when developing new ideas. Yet Katie is still an entrepreneur and it is her ability to adhere to the tenants of her brand while exploring new avenues, such as home goods and increased internet offerings, that has contributed to her overwhelming success.
Katie was a featured speaker in the Conversations with Entrepreneurs series presented by the Leland C. and Mary M. Pillsbury Institute for Hospitality Entrepreneurship at Cornell University, streamed live to the Culinary Institute of America through the SHA/CIA Alliance.