Staff Spotlight: Katie Penland

Katie is a Senior Program Manager at TechChange where she helps bring virtual conferences to life for partners and attendees around the world. Before TechChange, Katie worked on in-person and virtual events of varying sizes. She is originally from the Richmond, Virginia area and holds a B.A. in Foreign Affairs from the University of Virginia.

Q: So, tell us more about yourself. How did you end up working in events?

For as l0ng as I can remember, I’ve been involved in the performing arts in some capacity. This allowed me to consistently be around a group of people working toward a common goal to be shared with the public on a certain date (or series of dates) – essentially, events! As I thought through what I wanted to do in a professional capacity, I knew that I wanted to continue working with lots of people and bringing together groups to present and discuss new ideas. Right out of college I worked on large corporate conferences, but I knew I wanted to do much more mission-driven work. When I saw the posting for TechChange events, it looked like the perfect opportunity to do just that.

Q: How did you first hear about TechChange?

I found TechChange via LinkedIn mid-summer 2020! I was immediately interested in the work the events team was doing because of its mission-driven nature, and was even more excited to learn that we support a myriad of missions depending on the partner for a given project. 

Q: What are some of your favorite parts of working at TechChange so far?

Overall, the people of TechChange make it a great place to work. Everyone is smart, passionate, kind, and fun to work with on a daily basis. Specifically in my role, I love when I can sit in on conference sessions. It’s always a great opportunity to hear fascinating conversations and take reflections back into my own life.

Q: What excites you about this role?

This role is so dynamic! Because we work with multiple partners to plan and execute conferences, we get to have multiple partner relationships and learn about the content and communities partners serve. It’s a great way to always learn something new, meet someone new, and gain a new perspective.

Q: Anything you look forward to working on or learning at TechChange in the next year?

I’m very much looking forward to watching the events team continue to grow in the next year and working with the team to evolve our processes as we enter a phase in which folks might start in-person gatherings again.

Q: Lastly, what’s something that not a lot of people know about you?

I really enjoy running half marathons, and have run 4 so far. With races canceled and gyms closed during covid lockdown in DC, I didn’t do much running. However races are starting to pop up again and I am happy to be training for a run in late fall 2021.


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