Katie O'Reilly is a Managing Director at Prosek Partners, where she focuses on developing networking and convening events and programs.
Before joining Prosek, she was the executive director of business and program development at the Milken Institute, where she was responsible for the revenue generation globally and led the relationship management and program development teams. From Financial Innovations Labs to conference panels and workshops, over her nearly 15-year career with the Institute, Katie was responsible for the efforts that brought together leaders from different sectors and regions to design and implement market-based solutions to global challenges.
She has spent more than 15 years working with leading organizations in the corporate and philanthropic space on crafting partnerships while also helping individuals leverage their philanthropic investments. She began her career as a community organizer and policy analyst focused on welfare reform and homelessness and later ran United Way’s major accounts portfolio. Active in many organizations, Katie currently serves on the Advisory Board of the Global Fund to End Slavery, which coordinates a global strategy to permanently dismantle slavery systems and is co-chair of the U.S. Board of the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, the largest child health research institute in Australia and one of the top three worldwide. She also serves on the advisory boards of the World Woman Foundation and Beyond Barriers, a platform committed to accelerating women in leadership
Q & A
What are you most proud of in your career?
I’m proud of the somewhat circuitous route I took. I went to a small liberal arts college and spent the first year out of school as a Jesuit volunteer working on welfare reform and homelessness, then I worked in corporate fundraising and philanthropy, then took a detour and went to graduate school for clinical psychology and spent the next 10+ years working at a financial think tank, doing business development and traveling all over the world. I think the various experiences have given me an eclectic, well-rounded perspective on business and people and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
Name one thing most people don’t know about you.
Most people are surprised to know I have dual citizenship. My parents are both from Melbourne, Australia so we grew up very far away from our family. Our friends were like family and we had the bonus of being able to travel back and forth every few years to visit. Australians tend to be well liked by everyone so it’s a handy passport to have!
How would your mother describe you?
At my fortieth birthday party she gave a little speech and described me as “challenging in the best way”, which I thought was very funny. I took it to mean that I was always a bit of a handful with a big personality, strong opinions and didn’t settle for easy answers but you’d have to ask her!
What are your greatest strengths as a communications practitioner?
I grew up with a psychotherapist for a mother and a social worker for a father so I learned to be a good listener. Interestingly, I think that is less common in the business world but everyone wants to feel understood and heard. And it’s certainly hard to sell anything to anyone if you have no idea what they want.
What is your favorite food?
Almost any type of pasta.
Describe your perfect client.
A client who really knows what they want and isn’t afraid to tell you is the easiest to work with in some ways. But you can’t expect that. So, ideally someone who is smart, curious and open to collaboration – you can’t go wrong with that combination.
What three hobbies or activities do you enjoy most?
Being with my kids (and taking breaks from my kids!), I’m a Soulcycle devotee, going out to dinner with friends and reading. Sorry, that is more than 3!
What’s your favorite part of the workday?
I think it depends on the week but usually it involves the wind down stage of the day when I can look back at a really productive day and feel good about how I spent my time.
Who would play you in the movie version of your life?
Probably Christina Ricci because people tell me all the time that I look like her.
What is your favorite quote?
"You are the choices you make."