Alum Has Good Listening Skills

Alum Has Good Listening Skills

How does an art history major land a high-profile position at one of the world’s top audio brands? Kathryn Smith ’06, the global brand director at Skullcandy, did just that – and made it look artfully easy. Skullcandy specializes in the manufacturing and marketing of headphones and earbuds, and Smith directs and leads brand marketing, social media, event activations and sports marketing, as well as public relations and communications.

“In simple terms,” says Smith, “my team and I drive how the Skullcandy brand looks and communicates to our consumer.”

When she first came to the College, Smith wasn’t really sure what she wanted to study, so she tried out several classes in the School of the Arts. She found her passion for art history.

Smith came to the College because she knew she wanted to go to a smaller liberal arts and sciences college and fell in love with the campus and the culture, as did her twin sister, Lee. “We both toured the campus and met with the associate vice president of enrollment management, Don Burkhart, who was an acquaintance and also a twin himself,” says Smith, who grew up in Blowing Rock, N.C. “He told us that finding the right college was a ‘match to be made, not a prize to be won,’ and it couldn’t have been truer. It was absolutely the best decision I could have made.”

When she graduated, Smith wasn’t sure if art history was a career path for her as much as it was a sustainable lifelong interest. When she interviewed for her very first job out of college at a nonprofit in the ski industry, her future boss told her that he knew how much work being an art history major was, which was part of the reason of why he hired her.

“My liberal arts and sciences education prepped me for having a more well-rounded skill set that I could bring to an employer,” says Smith.

Since joining Skullcandy in 2015, Smith says that dual use of the left and right brain together with technology plus culture keeps the work intriguing and fun.

“Being able to bring this to life for our consumer through marketing campaigns and event experiences is one of my favorite and most challenging parts of working for Skullcandy,” she says. “Consumer electronics can be a boring world, but Skullcandy is lucky to have a really strong heritage and position in the board sports world – surf, skate, snow – to help differentiate us.”

Being located in Park City, Utah, of course, they play as hard as they work at Skullcandy – music to most people’s ears.