Kate is an entrepreneur, writer, filmmaker and media consultant whose instincts for powerful storytelling have led her from presidential campaign trails to the flooded streets of post-Katrina New Orleans to the true meaning of funk and the legacy of James Brown. She won Emmys for two post-9/11 CNN documentaries and was nominated for a film about the 2004 Howard Dean campaign and the rising power of the Netroots.
Most recently, she conceived and directed the media strategy for the Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu campaigns for Governor and Lt. Governor in New York. Although both professors entered the race with little name recognition, institutional support, money or time, the campaign captured the imagination of New York-based and national political observers. Teachout and Wu wildly exceeded expectations, taking 34% and 40% of the vote respectively -- despite being outspent forty times over.
Kate joined Barack Obama’s presidential campaign as the Director of Video for New Media in the spring of 2007. By the end of the campaign, her team had produced over 2,000 videos, which ranged from thirty-second spots to twenty-minute documentaries. According to TechPresident, total viewing time totaled 14,548,809.05 hours, compared to 488,093.01 hours for Republican nominee John McCain’s videos — a ratio of 30:1. Kate continued into the Administration as Content Lead for the Presidential Transition Team’s website, Change.gov, and as a New Media consultant to the White House Office of Health Reform and the Department of Health and Human Services.
She returned to documentary filmmaking at Vice Media under the creative direction of filmmaker Spike Jonze, and served as a consulting producer on “Law and Disorder,” a Frontline/ProPublica documentary about police shootings in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. She then launched two political talk shows at MSNBC: The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell and Up with Chris Hayes, where she led the editorial teams as senior producer.
In 2014, she jumped into the New York gubernatorial campaign as communications director for Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu -- and then served as deputy campaign manager for the Ready for Warren presidential draft campaign.
She is currently launching Tarbell Cocktails and Conspiracy, a political salon where writers, artists and activists can scheme and muckrake in the spirit of revolutionary leisure -- and serving as a 2015 Fellow at the Tow-Knight Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism.
In her spare time, she enjoys turning the lights on and off, on and off, on and off with her one year-old, deconstructing misogynistic message in classic 1980s movies with her ten year-old, and going through her grandparents’ scrapbooks.
Founder and CEO, Tarbell Industries