In honor of career month on Man Repeller, we’re profiling the team so that you can get a better sense of who does what and how this place runs. Today, it’s high time we properly introduce you to Kate Barnett, MR’s Digital Director, who has been with Leandra for almost four and a half years if you’re reading this on March 11, 2016. (For some context, Man Repeller launched in 2010.)
You may remember her face from “Long Story Short” and her words from various posts about Serial, cereal and sunscreen, but her work here goes far beyond the weird stuff on site you read. Sick of reading this? We’ll I’m sick of writing it! Let’s cut the shit and MEET KATE.
You’re the Digital Director! What does that mean you actually do?
I work on business-y stuff. Right now that means building out our Integrated Sales and Marketing teams and developing our monetization strategy. I also produce Oh Boy, field general office medical questions and help Amelia figure out what she wants for lunch.
Where were you before this?
I left L2 Think Tank to work on a business idea with a friend of mine about a year before I started working with Leandra. At L2 I was doing research and writing their Digital IQ Reports while consulting for luxury brands on their digital strategy.
What did you go to school for?
I concentrated in Government, but I should have gone with History of Science. If anyone reading this is about to pick a major, unless you’re a in specific trade, I don’t think it actually matters that much.
How did you find/get started at Man Repeller?
My business partner at the time, Michael Harper, designed and developed both Into The Gloss and Man Repeller. He went in-house as a co-founder at Into The Gloss and introduced me to Leandra. She and I started working together on digital strategy and brand collaborations shortly thereafter.
Favorite part of your job?
Being challenged both creatively and analytically, seeing a concept come to life, and the element of newness that’s inherent in growing a company. That, and the team we’ve built. Working with kind, intelligent, thoughtful weirdos who make me laugh — that’s a joy.
Least favorite part of your job?
The parts that feel the worst often end up being the most rewarding to figure out, so when I look back at them it’s usually with a mixed sense of “that was a shitshow,” and “wow, this team is amazing.”
What’s one thing that surprised you in your path up until now?
My goals shifted with each opportunity, so I don’t think anything surprised me, but nothing was predictable.
What do you want to be when you grow up?
Veterinary herbalist? Well-rested? Working at Man Repeller? Yep, working at Man Repeller.
What’s one piece of advice you can offer to anyone who wants a job similar to yours?
Tell your boss what you want to do so you can map a path. A good manager is invested in seeing you succeed, and will help you get there. Also, trust yourself and take chances when it feels right.
Advice for those who have no clue what they want to do?
Just get started. Try out different roles and industries, find the elements of each role that you enjoy and you’ll start to figure it out. Chances are you’ll be working your ass off — particularly if you’re at a start up — but if you can find those pieces that drive you and gain an understanding of how you work, everything will start to come together.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Being inspired and fulfilled in your work is a luxury — most people don’t get that opportunity. So even if finding that path is stressful and confusing, recognize how fortunate you are to have choices and try to be honest with yourself about what you want.
Tell me something weird about yourself.
I am exceptionally good at picking perfectly ripe fruit and applying drugstore glue-on nails. I’m also pretty sure I have webbed feet, but no one who has seen my feet agrees.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.