“Don’t try to fit into a mold. Your path will likely not be what you expected or planned.“
When life unexpectedly comes full circle, there’s usually a pot-luck of thoughts that can be overwhelming when trying to make sense of it all. But what if the decision was made early on to trust your gut and go with the flow?
When Kate Barton started her education at Baylor, the end game was to be a marine biologist. Obviously, such an aspiration would require a heavy load of science courses. And anyone who has taken science at Baylor knows that Baylor science classes are no joke. Kate put in the work and made good grades, but she just didn’t have that special passion for the science classes.
Meanwhile, Kate took on a leadership role on the Freshman Class Council and also sought out leadership opportunities within her sorority. She even had a part-time job arranging flowers at a locally-owned flower shop in town. By her junior year, Kate realized that the role of a business leader was a better fit for her rather than that of a marine biologist. She changed her major to business and graduated with a BA from Baylor and ultimately an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Kate has spent her career in marketing and brand management with such notable brands as General Mills, Johnson & Johnson and Estee Lauder. It was during the summer of 2020 when a post on the Harvard alumni Facebook page caught her eye. One of Kate’s Harvard professors posted information about an opportunity with Magnolia. Kate had always had an affinity for the Magnolia brand, but in that moment the long-time admiration for the brand turned into a need to be part of the brand.
The decision to move back to Waco wasn’t one made lightly. Kate’s husband had a thriving career in Minneapolis and moving to Texas was never on the couple’s radar. Not only that, but this was right in the middle of a world-wide pandemic. Such a drastic move would be preposterous, right? The couple devised a pro and con list and a move to Waco just wasn’t in the cards. But the tipping point was a nagging gut feeling. Kate says, “My gut was very clearly telling me that I was meant to be at Magnolia, and I decided to listen to my gut.”
Kate explains that one can make all of the pro and con lists, but sometimes that gut feeling knows best. The couple packed up their three kiddos and made the move to Waco, not once looking back.
At Magnolia, Kate leads the marketing and creative teams. She also works closely with the company’s Discovery partner on the Magnolia Network launch. As a marketer, Kate is very interested in being part of brands and companies that impact culture. And Magnolia is certainly a brand that has had an impact on culture. Kate leads with a philosophy that a leader will set the stage for those around them to be successful. She also believes you have to know your business to grow your business.
Kate explains that it is so important that we not try to fit into a prescribed mold. She says, “Your path will likely not be what you expected or planned, and that can sometimes be the very best thing that can happen to you.”
Oh and what about Kate’s full circle… the flower shop she worked in as a Baylor student is now the Magnolia Silos Bakery. She had no idea that the small, local flower shop location was destined to become part of something greater, something far greater.
Kate is certainly breaking molds on her wild adventure in Waco, Texas. #SicEm
For more information on Baylor Entrepreneurship, please visit our website at baylor.edu/business/entrepreneurship/.