Keynote Speaker Kathleen Koch

Kathleen Koch

Journalist, Author, Resilience Expert

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  • Travels From
    Washington DC, USA

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Kathleen Koch’s Accomplishments Include…

After facing down presidents, snipers, hurricanes and her own teenaged daughters, award-winning journalist and best-selling author Kathleen Koch knows a few things about survival and resilience. Kathleen shares her knowledge, experience and compassion with audiences who want to succeed and thrive, even when the going gets tough.

Kathleen draws on her 18 years as a correspondent for CNN, where she not only covered the White House, Pentagon, Capital Hill and State Department, but aviation and just about every disaster imaginable. Her work covering Hurricane Katrina and her two documentaries on her hometown’s recovery from the storm earned her a Peabody Award and a New York Festivals gold medal. Kathleen garnered another New York Festivals gold medal and a bronze award for investigative reporting from the New York Association of Black Journalists for a CNN report in which she revealed the apparent murder of a young African American inmate by guards at a Mississippi jail.

Kathleen shares insights she developed while writing her book, Rising from Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All and Found What Mattered. The poignant story of loss, transformation and recovery made both the Amazon and Southern Indie Bestseller lists. It also won the gold award for Best Nonfiction in the Southeast Region from Independent Publishers and an honorable mention for Book of the Year in the regional category from ForeWord Reviews.

Kathleen has volunteered personally doing Hurricane Sandy relief. She is the founder and executive director of LeadersLink, the first organization to harness and share elected officials’ disaster lessons learned to help other cities prevent, prepare for and recover from similar crises.

Kathleen has turned her attention to disasters on the international front as well, leading a successful campaign to collect thousands of supportive cards and letters for the survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Words of Hope for Japan amassed nearly 6000 letters from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and South Korea that were translated and hand-delivered to those devastated by the disasters to let them know they hadn’t been forgotten.

She also led an effort to collect thousands of letters for the survivors of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines via the nonprofit Project Rebirth.

Before joining CNN, Kathleen was a general assignment reporter covering Washington, D.C. for multiple news organizations. She was also a consumer and medical reporter for the Group W Newsfeed Network and a weekend reporter at WRC-TV in Washington, D.C. Kathleen was an anchor and State Department correspondent for “America Today,” the U.S. Information Agency’s two-hour daily international news broadcast to Europe. She began her television career as a reporter and weekend anchor for the ABC affiliate WLOX-TV in Biloxi, Mississippi. Kathleen was a Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholar at the University of Dijon in Dijon, France. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from the University of Southern Mississippi (USM). Kathleen currently serves on the USM School of Mass Communications and Journalism Advisory Board.

Testimonials 6

  • “Kathleen is the consummate moderator – crisp, informed and able to take the discussion where it needs to go. We call her time and again because our audience is demanding, and we know that Kathleen never disappoints.”

    Leah Romero

    Chief Executives Organization

  • “Oftentimes on panels, everyone speaks their point without regard to what others are saying, Kathleen however, helped to create a single narrative out of the four voices present. We all left feeling we had contributed to an important moment and future actions, not just recited our past accomplishments.”

    Stacy Bare

    Director, Sierra Club Outdoors

  • “Kathleen spoke to the students in a way that was personal and memorable and, more importantly, that provided insight on how to live your values while pursuing your talent. We could not have found a commencement speaker who spoke more keenly to our students or who fit better with what we hope our students will take with them from NDMU.”

    James F. Conneely

    Ph.D., President Notre Dame of Maryland University

  • “From the day she accepted our request to take on the role, Kathleen went above and beyond what was requested of her in order to prepare for the task of moderating two hour-long panels of five speakers each. On the day of the event, Kathleen displayed such dynamism by the way in which she managed the panels and engaged the audience. Kathleen was a real pleasure to work with, and I am honored to have the opportunity to give my greatest recommendation to such an energetic professional and talented journalist.”

    Emma Rigby

    Executive Director Canadian American Business Council (CABC)

  • “Kathleen Koch brings her years of broadcast experience onto stage with a speaking style guaranteed to bring tears to all in the audience. As the keynote speaker at our Southern Expressions conference, her personal experiences with the aftermath of Katrina brought back the bittersweet memories of the loss and the heroism of that tragic time.”

    Philip Levin

    Coordinator, Southern Expressions Authors Conference

  • “Kathleen Koch’s presentation for our inaugural TEDxTowsonU event was engaging and inspiring to the audience. She was able to move the audience to laughter and even to tears as she showed the importance of doing good in one’s local community and community abroad. Her style of speaking caught hold of people’s attention and set the tone for a great environment of encouraging agents of change for a better world.”

    Angie Hong

    TEDx Organizer, Towson University

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Kathleen Koch uses her skills as a seasoned journalist to bring out the best in your panelists. She not only knows how to listen and draw attention to key points, but she has the guts to gracefully silence the loquacious and maintain focus. Sharp, insightful events and panel discussions require a savvy hand on the controls. Whether handling governors, international diplomats or business leaders, Kathleen uses a deft touch to guide panels to a smooth landing.

Crisis Communication / Media Training

From 9/11 to the anthrax and sniper attacks, from plane crashes to the 2008 economic collapse, from blizzards to floods and hurricanes, Kathleen Koch in her career has covered virtually every type of crisis imaginable. So she is uniquely positioned to share with your organization vital lessons in crisis communication. Kathleen has also grilled everyone from presidents and defense secretaries to corporate CEO’s, so is adept at instructing how to get your message across when sparring with the media.


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