Meet an Ambassador: Kathi Hersh

As we continue to shine a light on our Ambassador Network, we couldn’t let this month pass without introducing you to Kathi Hersh. Kathi is Senior Manager for Creative and Print Services at Fannie Mae, a leading source of financing for mortgage lenders. Since Kathi recently wrapped judging this year’s IHAF Awards competition, it was the perfect opportunity to get to know her and find out what her team is up to these days.

One of the things Kathi prides most about her team is their adaptability, since the in-house agency at Fannie Mae has nearly tripled in size over the past few years. To meet the increased demand for services, Kathi says that collaborating with external agencies and relying on flexible staffing has helped. This also frees the team to work on higher-level projects. As Kathi remarked, “We no longer simply execute fast and on-brand; we help drive strategy, too.”

Luckily, Kathi is no stranger to meeting challenges, starting her career by decorating bar mitzvahs on Long Island. “It’s BIG business there,” she recalled. “Crazy themes and tough clients! Imagine decorating three weddings a week, and the ‘bride’ is 13 years old. I left to hand-letter lobster boats.” At 22, Kathi relocated to DC to work for Art Display and Washington City Paper before joining Fannie Mae as a typesetter.

  Joining the Fannie Mae team was something Kathi did at the recommendation of her sister, Susan, in 1987. Since her sister’s recent passing, Kathi keeps a photo of the two of them on her desk, as Sue was a big part of Kathi’s professional success. “I have several photos on my desk, but it’s the shot of my sister that is most special to me.”

Kathi’s dedication to family also manifests itself in her favorite pastime—cooking. In fact, one of her favorite things to do after a long day in the office is imagine herself as a contestant on the popular TV show Chopped. “My husband isn’t always keen on the results,” she joked, “but I’ll eat just about anything.”

In addition to her love of cooking, Kathi enjoys creating an environment that enables her team to do their best work. Kathi credits her ability to remained inspired and informed on all things in house with the connections she’s made through IHAF. “Last year I met with people from ESPN, Bloomberg, and JP Morgan,” she said. “It’s great to get a glimpse at how other in-house creative teams manage work, collaborate, and stay fresh.”

Thank you for the opportunity to get to know you even better, Kathi—and for your dedication as an IHAF Ambassador and recent judge for this year’s IHAF Awards competition.

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