Exeleon Magazine

Katie Zamarra: Setting the VENUE for Effective Communications

Katie Zamarra

This feature is part of our 100 Most Dynamic Leaders of 2023. Check out the entire issue and listing by clicking on this link.

In this era, where we as consumers are flooded with choices, it’s imperative for businesses to focus on providing impeccable service.

For dynamic entrepreneurs, offering high-quality service isn’t just a strategy; it’s an ethos. It isn’t transactional; it’s transformative. It’s about building relationships, positive experiences, and ensuring sustainable success.

Starting her professional career in the hospitality industry, Katie Zamarra experienced first-hand the value of providing high-quality service.

Since forming her boutique communications firm – VENUE in 2003, Katie has established a reputation by catering to individual needs and ensuring optimal client satisfaction.

The Journey

Growing up in New Orleans, it was an inevitable road for Katie Zamarra to study and enter the hospitality business. Following her graduation, she was offered the position of Corporate Management Trainee at Hyatt Hotels. During this time, Katie Zamarra made sure to spend considerable time with each department and almost naturally connected with the marketing section.

After completing the training program, she was offered her first position as a marketing manager. Katie Zamarra went on to work for Hyatt Hotels across Houston, Greenville, and Atlanta. Her portfolio continued to expand as she joined The Cornell Club – New York as the Director of Marketing.

Soon after, her passion for restaurants and the dining industry led her to attempt working in restaurant operations. Unfortunately, her attempt turned out to be a “complete disaster” and she quickly decided to switch back to marketing.

However, through this brief stint, Katie Zamarra got introduced to many incredible personalities from the industry, including chefs, sommeliers, restaurant owners, and managers.

By meeting these industry people, she realized a visible gap. In order to sustain a business in New York, especially businesses in the restaurant space, there’s a pressing need to have a good PR partner.

With guidance from one of her closest friends in New York City, Katie Zamarra learned how to approach media and formulate agreements. Soon, she launched VENUE Communications and Marketing.

The Experience

According to Katie Zamarra, “Growing up in New Orleans experiencing the hospitality business and its culture created my passion to study and start a career in the industry.”

Her years of learning, watching, and working in the hospitality industry helped her to become skilled in customer service. Later, these acquired skills became the foundation to her client communication needs, including lifestyle and placemaking.

Similar to any other industry, focusing on providing high-quality services and catering to unique preferences is essential in communications.

With the hospitality industry coming to a screeching halt during the pandemic, Katie Zamarra and her team at VENUE persevered, evolved, and embraced new market opportunities. “There was an entirely different demand as new clients began to approach us for communications work. Having this hospitality experience allowed creation for positive, welcoming, and inclusive environments where people feel connected to unique attributes.”

Building Relationships

Talking about her day-to-day responsibilities at VENUE, Katie mentions that her involvement is very hands-on.

At VENUE, Katie Zamarra, along with her team, work with a range of professionals and tailor their communication strategies according to individual requirements. She says, “I feel very fortunate to be surrounded with people from vast levels of experiences in many different industries. Whether it’s a Mayor, a Pastry Chef or a Global CEO, there is always something to learn and adapt to.”

With every client, the team identifies their key priorities, challenges, and objectives. Following which, a communication plan is drafted that helps the client achieve their goals. Moreover, being present, reliable, and collaborative allows the team to foster relationships with the clients at any level.

At Venue, there are many long-standing clients, along with new and revolving accounts. “There are always new and unique strategies to be developed, continual client and media relations to be maintained while keeping our culture and values intact. I love learning from my team and clients, and being a part of the day-to-day allows me to stay present with happenings, obstacles, and successes,” Katie explains.

Katie’s Principles on Dynamic Leadership

Authenticity: This to me is crucial in leadership! Authentic leaders and associates in my career have always served as role models. I believe being true to oneself, maintaining transparency, and building trust comes from consistent, ethical, and empathetic behavior. Authentic leaders who create positive work environments and foster strong relationships with team members in turn achieve long-term success.

Adaptability and Resilience: Always be open to change and willing to adjust with determination and a positive attitude, even during difficult times. Lead by example and demonstrate how to overcome obstacles gracefully.

Vision: Having a clear vision professionally is the best way to obtain goals, long term or short term and will inspires others to attain their own vision.

Effective Communication: Not only is this the core foundation of my company, but good communication is essential for dynamic leadership. Being able to articulate ideas, listen to others openly and provide feedback constructively are key ingredients.

Continuous Learning: Dynamic leaders that I admire are always committed to personal and professional growth. Invest in your own education and development and encourage your team members to do the same. Stay curious, open to new ideas and perspectives. Never stop learning!

Decision-Making: Use every resource available by gathering data, seeking input from others, and considering potential outcomes for any decision. Be decisive and then take responsibility.

Staying Ahead of the Curve

With the emergence of disruptive technologies like AI, Katie believes communication over the next decade will be characterized by an even greater reliance on technology. She further notes that an increasing emphasis will also be placed on client experience and the need for adaptability.

Katie predicts, “Clients that invest in innovative communication strategies and adapt to emerging trends are more likely to thrive in the ever-changing business environment.”

Going forward, Katie will focus on multiple areas to further improve VENUE’s market presence and stay ahead of the competition. This includes expanding its global reach, effective social media engagement practices, and video-based communication.

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