Updated: Feb 8
This week's guest is Katelyn Castellano.
She was appointed Senior Vice President of Marketing for Engel & Völkers in 2019, responsible for leading the global brand's marketing strategy for the Americas. With a focus on strategy that drives business results for the brand and its network of luxury real estate shops and advisors, she oversees digital and offline advertising, public relations, social media, content creation, strategic partnerships and events. Prior to this role, Katelyn served as the brand's Vice President of Communications.
With nine years of real estate franchise experience, Katelyn has helped build some of the newest brands in the industry through thought leadership, industry engagement and research-based initiatives designed to impact growth. Before entering the real estate industry, she built her career in public relations, media relations, and campaign management for consumer brands including Procter & Gamble, Patrón Spirits and Nestlé.
Katelyn is a graduate of Marist College. She lives in Saratoga Springs, NY with her husband and two children.
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Empowered Women Empower Others Q+A with Katelyn Castellano
Q1: What was your first leadership role? Did you ask/ apply for it or were you recruited?
Ooo that's tough. I started at the very bottom of a team of 8. However, I was empowered to feel like a leader in everything that I did -- although I was leading myself, my projects, vendors, etc. I felt like I was very much in a leadership position "officially" when I worked with Nestle. I was the day to day contact with our client and managed much of the ongoing strategy and pitched new business.
Q2: Tell us about the journey to your current leadership role.
I started my career in 2006 working at a PR agency in Manhattan making very little money, working 12+ hours day, but with a team of about 8 amazing women. Our client was Procter & Gamble, so we had unlimited beauty care at our disposal ;). I also had the privilege of launching Pantene's first philanthropic campaign Beautiful Lengths. We worked hard and played even harder. Those were the days, as they say. They were my tribe and I'm still very close with many of them. When I moved out of Manhattan, I realized the long hours, plus commuting wasn't going to work for me, as I knew being a mom -- a present mom -- was part of my life plan. I worked in a hybrid agency/home/client environment for Nestle before I found real estate or it found me. I happened upon Realogy, thought it was a recruiting company and saw a job posted for BHGRE. I had worked with the magazine with previous clients and got the call for an interview. Never did I imagine I'd experience what I did. Being part of a "new" brand in the industry, working with super smart women very much has molded me into a more confident professional. I was able to call BHGRE my home for 5 years and 9 years later, I'm still in this real estate thing. A former colleague started chatting to me about Engel & Völkers. I loved the idea of working for a global luxury brand and saw a lot of opportunity to pave my own path. Here I've been able to really think creatively, challenge norms and build the brand in the Americas. What started as a PR/Social/Comms position evolved into the head of marketing one year ago.
Q3: What has been your biggest leadership lesson this year? How did you learn it?
Pick up the phone. Ask questions. You can't do this alone. In my mind I report to 4,000 people. My network. When COVID became "real", a big responsibility of mine was being the voice of the brand to network, connecting our leadership with our network and creating resources to support them. It consumed me. Someone once told me that people don't go to bed thinking about you, so stop putting so much pressure on yourself. But I go to bed thinking about how I can do better to support our network. I realized though, you hire people around you for a reason. Let them lead too.