KATE BURKE ALVAREZ
Business: Abilene Regional Airport, City of Abilene
Job title: Marketing and Business Development Manager
Why are you working in this industry?
Some might say “fluke,” but I call it destiny! I absolutely love all things related to travel. I also love being a part of Abilene’s growth! What better fit for me than to work for our airport? ABI is a gem. It serves as a gateway in and out of our great city. We bring business growth and grandmothers’ hugs. As I settled into Abilene as home, I immediately sought an occupation I could love for a lifetime, one that would blend my talents of creativity, communication and service. Right out of the gate, I caught the aviation bug. Now, I’m surrounded by experts in their fields -- professionals who love to serve their City. I couldn’t learn from a better group of people, and I can’t imagine working in any other industry.
What are three daily habits that have helped you to become successful?
1. Laugh every day. I could easily be labeled the “class clown,” as I am always eager to get a chuckle from whomever will indulge me. The truth is this: I make it a goal to find positive, jovial fun daily. Sometimes we can get so driven, so focused, we literally forget to stop and just breathe. A good laugh is a truly healthy habit.
2. Return calls/emails right away. What feels like a lifetime ago, I was on the receiving end of a customer service phone line where I heard constant complaints about clients not getting their calls returned promptly. I vowed that whenever I got to a position where I was the one to return correspondence, I would do it within 24 hours. Sometimes, that might mean I can’t reply for 23 hours and 55 minutes and might only say “I’m working on it,” but basic human contact is powerful. People’s time is valuable. Every day I try to demonstrate that I respect stakeholders’ time.
3. Prioritize goals for the work day. I greet each day with a grateful heart -- and a to-do list. While tending to the usual tasks of my morning, I also run a “dress-rehearsal” in my mind of the work ahead. I begin to prioritize- what MUST get done, what can get done, what won’t get done. In our field we never know what to expect each day, prioritizing is a must!
Who is the person who most influenced you in business?
My initial hat tip is to my incredibly hard-working parents. But as a woman, my mother was my strongest influence. If you’ve met her you know she’s a powerful force! She taught me not by words but by actions. Her example demonstrated a strong work ethic, a high moral compass, tenacity, incomparable confidence and a splash of quick-wit. She showed I could do anything I wanted in my life. She was absolutely right.
What is the best advice you have ever received?
I have two that are equal. The 3 B’s. When I found myself sweating over speaking to a group of my professional peers, a wise man told he this nugget: “Just remember the 3 Bs - be bold, be brilliant, be brief.” I have never looked back. A corollary: Know your audience. Know your audience when you’re standing in front of it and when you’re sitting with it.
What was your first summer job?
I spent the summer working for investigative reporters at the Austin American-Statesman. As illustrious as it sounds, I pretty much just typed data entry.
Where will we find you enjoying your hard-earned time off?
South Padre Island, TX or home away from home, Santa Fe, NM.
Describe yourself in one word.
Rotary Club of Abilene (Friday meetings), President 2018-2019
Board of Directors, Rotary Club of Abilene 2015-2018
Hispanic Business Council Board of Directors, 2015-2018
Co-Chair, Hispanic Business Council, Business Mercado, 2018
Co-Chair, Rotary Club of Abilene, Taste of Abilene 2017-2019
Board of Directors, Habitat for Humanity, 2015-2018
Board of Directors, Abilene Ladies Lions Club, 2016-2018
Board of Directors, Historic Paramount Theatre, 2009-2015
Girl singer, Fanfare! (The Finch Orchestra) 2002-current
Married 13 years in January to Randy Alvarez. We have one daughter, Ella Alvarez 11 years old at Jackson Elementary School.