After 15 years as a stay at home mom (SAHM), Kim Ketcham found her passion in a rewarding career in marketing. Today, she is the Marketing and Communications Director for the Washington State History Museum, part of the Washington State Historical Society (WSHS).
WSHS is the state agency that is trusted with the task of preserving Washington state history and educating the public about that history. This is done through the Washington State History Museum, the State Capital Museum, and the State Research Center through the collection and preservation of various artifacts, photography, and ephemera, personal stories, as well as digital assets. We lead a variety of outreach and educational efforts for people of all ages.
Topics covered during our hour long conversation include: D.B. Cooper, the Seattle Seahawks, the Mt. St. Helens eruption, Japanese Internment Camps and the Civil War.
Transitioning From Stay at Home Mom to Museum Marketing Director
What’s your motto?
“I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The choice is yours.”
Why did you decide to go back to work?
I had put my career on hold to raise kids. It got further delayed by taking care of ailing in-laws. After some family financial issues, I decided to finally start working in my chosen career…beyond my previous volunteer work and having owned a JBF franchise.
Who inspires you?
My kids. I wouldn’t get up some days if I didn’t have to take care of them, help provide for them, and help them succeed.
Why are you different from others in your industry?
My drive and intensity, and also a wide understanding of a variety of topics. Good general knowledge. Lots of skills taken from being at home with my kids.
What is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?
Get a job in this economy against people more experienced.
What’s the funniest thing that has ever happened to you?
I accidentally stabbed myself in the forehead.
What’s your biggest challenge?
Job market and competition.
How will you overcome this challenge?
Show initiative, create work, not only succeed at what’s expected but do more…innovate…
What are your favorite books?
Harry Potter series, Pillars of the Earth, Gulliver’s Travels
Define your style.
Simple, sophisticated, sometimes vintage.
Describe your typical day.
Get the kids up and out by 6:30. Work by 8. Catch up on emails and all the “urgent” tasks that didn’t exist the day before. Then tackle my to do list. Lots of computer time, but then meetings. Can be a meeting with other marketing directors or with in-house staff. Check in on my staff to see how I can support them and make sure they have what they need to do the job I have given them. Maintain the website, post on social media… much more.
How do you juggle work and family?
My ex and I live in the same school zone and text every day about what’s up with the kids. If we didn’t communicate, we’d both fail at work and with the kids.
Can you offer some tips for those entering marketing, communications or PR fields?
Get experience writing, learn about journalism and the press, learn about advertising, become comfortable with public speaking, become an expert in social media, make friends with your IT people, volunteer to plan events, learn about branding
What is the best way to market your museum?
Through press releases about relevant and timely exhibits and events, good media management, and targeting niche audiences that have a special interest in a given exhibit topic, etc. Email and social media rank right up there, but a good news story about your business is worth more.
How have you grown since working at the museum?
With all experience, you grow by learning more about the parts of your industry that can’t be taught in books.
What would you say to your 18-year-old self?
Tough call. If I changed anything about the past, I wouldn’t have the kids that I do or the skills that I do. I don’t like to 2nd guess my choices by imagining how I would undo them.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A VP of communications. Remarried. Grown children. Flexibility and income to travel.
For whom are I thankful?
Everyone I’ve ever met for the impact they had on who I am today.
A Fun Way for Stay at Home Moms to Make Money
Kim owned one of the first Just Between Friends franchises. Just Between Friends is a consignment event for children’s products that happens twice yearly in select markets around the country. Many SAHMs have made extra money for their families by selling gently used children’s clothing and toys at these sales.
Connect with the Washington State Historical Society
Get Your Gratitude Geek
- Be sure to tune in every Wednesday to the Gratitude Geek Podcast.
- Coffee & Cards Conversations are filmed on location at Conroe Coffee and produced by Shane Rodarte.
- Music by Tracy Larson’Clifford & Brock Rodarte.