From big company to small and from MN to home
Last year around this time, Katie Sexton was in the middle of a Minnesota winter. She says that winter was one of the factors that prompted her to get serious about a move home to central Indiana. While Indiana may not be able to promise her a vastly kinder winter, the Indy tech scene certainly welcomed her warmly. In mid-2014, Katie joined the fast-growing team at SmarterHQ (formerly Smarter Remarketer).
Originally from Carmel, Katie moved to Minneapolis to work for Target immediately after graduating from IU. She followed the merchandising career path, as an analyst on the Target.com side of the business and then as a buyer. “I really loved the small, entrepreneurial feel of Target.com. It’s a small company within the big red machine…I did a lot of problem solving and I usually had more on my plate than I could handle.”
After seven years at Target, Katie decided to actively pursue a move to (and a job in) Indianapolis. “It was just time to come home. I needed to be with my family and make the move.”
She started gauging the Indianapolis job market by talking with contacts she already had in town. “My main recruiter was my mother.” Her mom connected Katie with Howard Bates (the CEO of SmarterHQ at the time), who lives in the neighborhood where she grew up.
“I got on speakerphone with Howard for an hour one night and he told me about Smarter Remarketer. I wasn’t necessarily pursuing something like Smarter, but I was definitely immediately intrigued.” Katie knew first-hand the struggles a big retailer faces with problems like the ones SmarterHQ is able to solve. The SmarterHQplatform provides a solution to retailers that can work across channels.
When Katie came home for Easter last year, she talked with Jason Fordham, SmarterHQ’s VP of strategic solutions. “We had a long conversation and I asked a ton of questions about the business.” She quickly grew to believe in the product and found the team to be extremely talented.
“I’m usually a thorough planner kind of person, but sometimes things just feel right.”
And so, when SmarterHQ offered Katie the job in client success, she decided to move home. Several months in, it seems she made the right call. “This is exactly the kind of company that I didn’t even know I was looking for. This is the sweet spot where I’m happiest.”
She arrived in town in June and soon bought a house near Broad Ripple. Although she grew up just north of Indianapolis, her adult life here is fresh. “Indianapolis feels like a new city to me. I feel like I’ve done a lot of exploring, but I know I’ve only barely scratched the surface.”
While she loved her time in Minneapolis, Indiana is home. “You never know where life will take you. For me, the relationships with the people I love matter the most.”