AAF Alumni Spotlight – Katelyn Lilly

By Minju Park

Katelyn Lilly, the current Senior Account Executive for the Kimberly-Clark team at Trisect, is an alumnus of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Katelyn graduated with a major in Advertising, minors in Business and Communication, along with and a Public Relations certificate.

Originally from Oak Forest, IL, Katelyn first entered the University in Chemical Engineering, but she felt restricted in her lack of creative expression in the field. Instead, she found advertising through an introductory course, and found that she could imagine herself working in advertising as a career.

Katelyn reflects upon her AAF activities that brought her the experience and responsibility that prepared her for “the real world of advertising.”

“I joined NSAC, where I led the media team and was one of the presenters,” said Katelyn. “It’s stressful and exhausting, but also a lot of fun. It shows you your strengths, but it’s ultimately an experience like nothing you get in the classroom.”

Aside from AAF, Katelyn was heavily involved in the The Black Sheep newspaper. From starting as a writer, she worked her way up to become the campus manager. In this position, she oversaw both the editorial and marketing staff.

“This allowed me to expand my writing portfolio, a hobby I’ve always enjoyed, as well as managing a large staff and keeping people honest to deadlines,” said Katelyn.

At Trisect, Katelyn continues to grow both personally and professionally. Since her time at Trisect, she admits to improving in terms of articulating her thoughts clearly and becoming more responsible.

“I’ve grown by being more humble and owning up to little mistakes. I want to recognize other people who help instead of taking the credit on my own,” said Katelyn.

However, Katelyn said this growth has not been without struggles and challenges. To Katelyn, balancing different personalities in team situations has been difficult and overwhelming.

“Dealing with new and changing personalities is a daily struggle,” said Katelyn. “I’m a very non-confrontational person and really try to be the mediator between problems.”

Katelyn ultimately attributes her success to persistence and passion.

“I didn’t stop when I didn’t get accepted for an internship upon graduation,” said Katelyn. “Having a strong drive for something and constantly working toward it will get you far.”

Katelyn describes Trisect as “unpredictable” and “a really fun place.” One instance of this is when she was working on the Party Committee at the agency.

“Not only was the party a blast, but it helped me make new friends in the office and build a level of trust,” said Katelyn. “We get our work done, but we know how to let loose too.”

Besides her passion for advertising, Katelyn has “a soft spot for dogs” and “an affinity for people who can easily whip out Disney or Parks and Recreation quotes.” She loves to make people happy and hates confrontation.

“Making people laugh or smile during stressful or upsetting situations is always a goal for me,” said Katelyn.

In the future, Katelyn sees herself living in California and starting a family with multiple dogs.

“I’m not sure what’s going to be happening, but I’ll take whatever as long as I’m happy and healthy!” said Katelyn.