Employee Spotlight: Kate Nieri

Employee Spotlight: Kate Nieri

In our Employee Spotlight series, we chat with a Pathrise team member each month about their career journey, expertise and experiences. This month, we’re excited to sit down with Growth Marketing Manager and longtime Pathrise team member, Kathryn Nieri.

About Kate

Full Name: Kathryn Nieri

Current Role: Growth Marketing Manager

Location: Montana

Time at Pathrise: 3 years


The 411: what’s your role like, day-to-day? Break it down for us.

Right now, I’m mostly working on quality assurance (QA). I technically manage three teams: the internal sales development representative (SDR) team, contractors, and Cloudfactory contractors. On a daily basis, I spend a lot of time looking at metrics, mainly volume. I make sure that my teams are speaking to enough people daily because volume of communications is our most important metric.

I’m also working with the Admissions Counselor team because there’s so many admission counselors and only one manager. I work with admissions counselors on QA, call improvement, etc. And I’m about to start working on call review with the industry mentors. I haven’t reviewed an industry mentor call yet, but I’m excited to build content there. With QA, you need a lot of context – and I happen to have a lot of context because I’ve been here for so long!

You started as a member of our Admissions Team. Tell us about your journey from sales to growth.

I’d worked at Yelp before joining Pathirse, giving me a strong sales background. I was one of three Pathirse admissions managers to start, along with Daphne and Rachel, who are now Head of Admissions and Admissions Lead. The career change to growth marketing actually fell into my lap. For my year and a half as an Admissions Manager, I was consistently a top performer. I’d worked on some high-level projects like Pro and introducing payment plans. Back then, Pathrise was less structured than it is now, meaning I had the flexibility to work on what I wanted to, which for me was mainly strategy. This gave me runway to flex growth marketing muscles.

Kevin (Pathrise CEO) came to me and said, “We want to promote you – here’s three things you can do.” His ideas were Admissions Lead or a growth marketing role, whichI wasn’t interested in at all. The Growth role honestly took some selling because I was planning to become an Admissions Lead and I was super excited about that. But Kevin insisted that I could do more strategy and management this way. Kevin’s explanation convinced me to transition into my role. That was also when we were bringing on a new Head of Growth. We had this big name growth marketer and I felt like I could learn a lot from him.

Pathrise Employee Spotlight: Kate Nieri

What were some surprises you encountered in your growth role that you didn’t anticipate?

It’s really technical. I don’t think people would assume growth marketing is as technical as it is. When I tell people I’m in marketing, your average person who doesn’t have any context assumes it’s coming up with ad slogans, social media posts, or creative assets.  My role is probably 70% looking at data. I’ve learned more about data science than I ever thought I would. I’m building custom solutions with LinkedIn and the Usher Connect team to develop custom software solutions. That also is quite technical. A lot of people hear “marketer” and assume social media like TikTok – things like that. I actually do very, very little of that.

How did having those 1:1 fellow interactions as an AE prepare you for the switch to growth and leading our internal SDR team?

When I switched over to Growth, we were bringing in Ankur, our former Head of Growth. He had no context on our user base but brought a bunch of great ideas. I leapt at the opportunity to work with him.  I was able to give insight into what the buyer would be interested in and help establish the fellow’s journey. I have a deeply rooted knowledge of our Pathrise customer base and what would appeal from a marketing standpoint. When it comes to leading the SDR team and comms, I know how to speak to our fellows. That was how my growth journey took off to where I am now. . I know how we can work to better connect the top of the funnel, which is where I work, with middle of the funnel where admissions works.

Any advice for people who are looking for growth opportunities, but having trouble leveraging their experience?

Try to become a strategic leader by getting involved with projects, especially strategy conversations. I always tried to make sure I had something to contribute and get involved with other projects as well. If that’s not applicable to someone’s specific role, think of ways you can convey your knowledge. That’s a really powerful tool for marketers that is undervalued. Involve yourself in procedure conversations and projects where applicable, and then also demonstrate knowledge of a user base. Those are the two biggest things.

I’m curious – you have a background in political science and studied abroad. Do you feel that influences your career path in any way? 

My major was political science. But can you guess what my second degree is? It sounds random: the degree is Peace, War, and Defense, which was basically national security and terrorism. My goal was to be in the Secret Service or CIA and most of the kids from my program did end up following that path, which is cool for them. I was a good performer in college, but I wasn’t the top performer. UNC was really competitive. The kids who ended up getting the cool internships with the CIA were focusing on school all the time and I had a lot of other stuff going on. When I graduated, I wanted to take some kind of job, any job, the best job I could get in DC. I thought, Okay, I’m gonna move to DC. I’m gonna get a job. I’m gonna start networking, become a community member and try to transition into that space. Then I got my job at Yelp. I realized I was really, really good at my job, which I don’t think has anything to do with my degree necessarily. It’s just my personality type: I’m competitive, outgoing, and all of that contributed to being good at sales.

I had a lot of friends who are still working in that space. Lots of kids moved to DC and they were all miserable. I hated DC. It wasn’t for me at all. I realized that in tech I could have a bigger impact, earn more, have more freedom, and have more opportunities to master new skills. h. That’s how I got into tech and I’ve just decided to stay here. I love my life so I wouldn’t change anything about it, honestly!

Pathrise Employee Spotlight: Kate Nieri

Switching gears, I know you’re an outdoorsy person! Regale us with tales of your outdoor hobbies – skiing, snowboarding, hiking, anything else? 

I generally try to spend at least a couple hours in the mountains every week. I find that that’s really good for me and pretty crucial for my mental health. Same thing with physical exertion. I am my best self mentally heading into the work week when I’ve completely exhausted myself all weekend. I spend a lot of time skiing – that’s kind of winding down – and when I’m not skiing, I’m hiking. Sometimes I do both at the same time, I like to hike on my skis. My boyfriend Justin is really good at it and I’m definitely not! But it’s a lot of fun and I’ve been enjoying getting into that.

How do you find balance between a busy work schedule and everything else? 

Number one is I love where near the mountains I live because I have easy access to all of the things that I love. I can be at the ski resort in 20 minutes. I might go this afternoon after I close my laptop, but that’s a luxury. Again, I am not my best self if I’m not getting exercise. I treat going to the gym or going for a hike almost like a doctor’s appointment, like I have to go. Regardless of what I have going on, I’ve been here long enough and worked remotely long enough to know that I literally need to shut my laptop and step away and they get to this “appointment” and I’ll finish the task later.

What’s next for you career wise?

The ideal situation is that Pathrise IPOs and I can be a stay-at-home mom and consult on the side! I’m trying to ride it out with Pathrise as long as I can; I don’t see any reason to leave. I would like to become a more versatile marketer. A lot of the things that I know are very Pathrise-specific. I would like to work on some things that might be uncomfortable or unfamiliar for me so I can be more of a well-rounded marketer. If I were to leave Pathrise, I would probably go to a bigger company. I’m craving some more structure.

Learn more about Pathrise’s amazing employees featured in our monthly spotlights!

Troy Kyles

Ben Hyland

Kelly Barber

Niema Majidimehr

Daphne Ellis

Maurcus Dunson

Ash Ayvar


Evelyn Kwong

With a background in HR and events, Evelyn blends her knack for writing with her passion for seeing people succeed. She and her rescue dog Darby live in sunny Long Beach, CA

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