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A Conversation with Katie Zanardi

I began my tenure at ASTOUND as a Director of Business Development, became Senior Director and then, through collaboration, professional and contributory milestones, was promoted to Vice President of Client Partnerships. I recently celebrated my eighth work anniversary and look forward celebrating many more in the years to come.

Before joining ASTOUND, I worked at smaller firms within the industry. ASTOUND believed in my skill sets, saw the potential for personal & professional growth, and I couldn’t be more thankful they did. All it takes is one person to believe in you and give you that opportunity – and I couldn’t be more honored ASTOUND did that for my career.


The coolest part of working in the event industry is being a brand champion for our clients and creating a foundation of creative collaboration. We are lucky enough to work with amazing brands, ideate alongside them and see their brands come to life - either tangibly or digitally. It’s incredibly fulfilling to work on a project from concept to completion and celebrate the success of the activation.


The past year created significant change within the industry, some expected and most we never saw coming. There’s been a shift towards digital initiatives. Brands were forced to evolve and change the way they think and promote which has resulted in an enhancement of ASTOUND offerings, including virtual road shows, virtual conferences and unique, personal engagements. Now, more than ever, there is a sense of collaboration and a willingness to learn new approaches to old ways of thinking.


Work-life balance is not always easy, but it’s necessary. Allow yourself time to rest and recharge. With our heavy reliance on screens, I find solace in nature. Spending time in nature provides a sense of peace, mindfulness, and mental clarity. Every weekend my husband and I find a new park or botanical garden to explore in the Washington DC area. This nature exploration allows me to reset and recharge for the coming week.


It is your time! Stop worrying about what others think and take that risk, the reward is worth it. Enjoy the moment and honor yourself for the women you are and the women you strive to be.


I would tell myself to be your own best advocate. Don’t wait for others to fulfill your goals and career aspirations, the only one that can make that happen is yourself.


I have been fortunate to have had many mentors and strong female leaders in my life, but one stands out above the rest, Jennifer Chia. Jennifer has helped mold me into the business leader I am today and the woman at ASTOUND I strive to be. Her moral compass, situational awareness and ability to evaluate all sides of each scenario is a skill we can all hope to develop. She has inspired me to use my voice to promote positive change and has taught me how to coach others to take their careers to the next phase. I am truly thankful to have such an amazing business leader in my life.

"Katie is one of the most thoughtful persons I know and always has a great positive attitude that is contagious. Through the years of working with Katie, I’ve learned a lot from her and so thankful to be able to see her grow and flourish as a business leader and we at ASTOUND are lucky to have Katie as part of the leadership team." – Jen Chia, VP, Client Partnerships