Topeka’s Top 20 Under 40: Katie Koupal
Katie KoupalAge 33Area Manager of External Affairs AT&T
Katie knows first-hand that communication is key for a leader. She strives to effectively educatethe legislators on how the policies they are considering may affect telecommunications. She is also responsible for the management of the AT&T Foundation in Kansas. In 2016, she andher Leadership Greater Topeka peers formed an initiative they called Foster the Love. It focuses on ensuring children in the Kansas Department for Children and Families’ care have a comfortable and comforting place to stay while awaiting placement. Katie also serves as vice president of communications for the Junior League of Topeka.
“Leadership is about grace, empowerment and trust.”
What is the most important characteristic that every leader should possess? Flexibility. A good leader should recognize that no one person operates in the same manner. Expecting people to do so automatically sets the leader and the individuals underneath him or her up for failure.
What do you do to ensure your growth and development as a leader?I am trying to improve on taking time for self- care. This is a relatively new one for me, but I’ve come to discover that I can’t be at the top of my game and be a good leader if I don’t take care of myself. Like a light bulb, you can’t expect to stay on constantly without burning out. I am trying to do better in recognizing when I need a break and doing little things to take care of myself like putting down my phone for a day (Instagram and email can wait), working out, cooking or reading a good book.
What traits do you look for in a mentor?I’ve been blessed with several mentors. They are all inherently good, selfless people who value hard work, integrity and honesty.