Kati Everett, Hall of Femme 2019

SVP, public relations and CCO, Novant Health

What would you do if you weren't in PR?
Assuming I didn’t magically wake up with Beyoncé’s talent, I’d be a travel agent. I’d love to help people experience the world and see new places. It would be rewarding to help people understand other cultures, all while exploring new foods along the way. I’d like to host small group tours to fund my travel passion as well.

Talk about the last time you experienced a fist-pumping victory moment.
You need to choose joy every day so you can have victory moments often if you take the time to appreciate what is happening around you. Don’t wait for those huge life and career events to savor the moment. I celebrate any time I can mentor others, when a project stays on track and when it concludes, and finishing an Orangetheory class is always a fist-pumping victory.

One of my greatest joys is seeing my team and my two kids succeed. I’m grateful and proud of everything I have accomplished, but to support others as they gather their wins makes me tremendously happy.

When was the last time you endured a real "agony of defeat" moment? What did you learn from it?
The details aren’t important – which is actually part of the learning. Situation summarized: Something I wanted to happen did not. No matter what I did, how hard I worked, or how many things I tried, this thing was out of my control. I learned acceptance. Eventually, I also learned great things can and do come from negative situations even if the journey is uncomfortable. I guess I learned patience, too. These are the lessons you need but never want and are grateful for when they are in your rear view.

How long ago was the last time you took the time to recharge your batteries? What did you do?
Does binge-watching The Crown in a weekend count? Beyond that, my extended family went to Costa Rica and rented an ocean-view house for a week. The 10 of us enjoyed each other, the lush scenery, and the sound of monkeys running on the roof in the morning. We ate grilled fish, beans and rice, and fruit every day. I grew up in the mountains of West Virginia, but it’s the ocean waves that bring me peace, so this was the perfect vacation for me with the people I love.

When have you seen this industry or your organization really shine?
Novant Health is a healthcare system in the Southeast, and I am very proud of our commitment to deliver a remarkable experience to patients in every dimension, every time. That is an aspirational goal, and I see our team members doing amazing things to help patients during their times of need. Lives are saved every hour, but it’s the little things that bring comfort to people. A warm blanket or an extra few moments to chat with someone who is lonely or frightened, and we’ve provided special occasion dinners for patients and their loved ones so that a hospital stay doesn’t prevent them from celebrating. Those moments of compassion, understanding, and love are just a few ways I have seen my organization shine and why I have been proud to work at Novant Health for over 20 years.

Words to live by?
Persistence allows you to succeed, resilience gives you the strength to overcome, and seeking joy makes it all worthwhile.

Favorite drink?
Coffee with soy creamer.

What would you tell your 20-year-old self?
Travel more. Learn Spanish. Take chances. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Finally, there is going to be this thing called a cellphone – do not give them to your kids until they go to college.

Finish the sentence: To ensure career advancement and pay parity for women, I will...
Advocate for raising the federal minimum wage and raising the tipped minimum wage. I’m proud that many employers have done this, including my own, but this should be done everywhere. I will also continue to sponsor and mentor other women because we rise by lifting each other.

Who are the three people, living or dead, you would like to host at a dinner party and why?
Alex Guarnaschelli, because I think she is funny and I would love to cook with her and eat her food.

Lin Manuel-Miranda, because I applaud his humanitarian efforts and am amazed with his writing talent. I would also beg him to sing Hamilton songs anytime there is a lull in conversation.

Robin Williams, because we would laugh the entire time. I admire his talent and would like him to know how his death helped reduce the stigma of mental health disorders.

That’s my fun party. If I wanted an informative, answer-all-my-questions kind of dinner, I would invite Jesus, Abraham Lincoln, and Buddha.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say to you as you enter?
Welcome home. We have cake.

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