September 20, 2012


Profile in Liberty: Katey Roberts

By: Dawn Heuer

Upon meeting Katey Roberts you are instantly met with a warm smile and a kind handshake; she exemplifies grace and intelligence. Although, if there is one thing you take away from a meeting with Roberts it is her undeniable passion for what she does.

Roberts graduated from American University with a degree in communications; she now serves as the Director of Alumni and External Relations at the Charles Koch Institute.

When you find your passion

Roberts’s passion is people; she loves being able to help people find opportunities to contribute to the cause of liberty that take advantage of what they’re passionate about and what skills they have to offer. She finds great joy when she sees young professionals getting into a role that affords them the opportunity to grow and be successful. And she’s among those who have found a role that offers an outlet for this passion.

I love having the opportunity to meet people and help them find the right career path. I enjoy watching people discover what they are good at, what they truly enjoy, and capitalize on the intersection of their comparative advantage and their passion.

 Shaping philosophies

Roberts started working with Koch companies in 1996. This, she said, is where her career in advancing liberty began. Roberts held the belief in a limited government. However it wasn’t until a colleague, Wayne Gable, explained libertarianism and gave her a copy of Atlas Shrugged that she had a light bulb moment.

 I had always believed in limited government and economic freedom but struggled as I was not and am not a social conservative. After reading Rand’s book and researching the ideas of liberty, I came to realize that I fit somewhere, and that there was place and a philosophy for people like me who weren’t excited about partisan politics.  I was fortunate to able to move into a position that allowed me to help others find their way to “fit”—philosophically and professionally—in the fight for a more free society.

Roberts goes on to explain about how the philosophy of Market-Based Management has helped with her career as well careers of others.

New challenges are always presenting themselves but I’ve learned to use the guiding principles of MBM to overcome obstacles that we all face every day: building the right team; communicating the relevant knowledge internally and with partners; and making difficult decisions about the best allocation of resources.   The biggest professional progress has come for me when I stop trying to go it alone and figure out a way, with the help of this amazing community of dedicated advocates for liberty, to get our work done together.  One of our guiding principles demands that we seek, use, and share the best knowledge proactively and I’ve come to realize that this means we all need a network like the one that AF offers.

Network, Network, Network

Roberts goes on to explain the importance of America’s Future Foundation and why networking is a vital lifeline for budding careers.

 America’s Future Foundation is really important to the movement; they are providing young professionals around the country with opportunities to get connected to one another, continue their education outside of the classroom, and find the best way for them to contribute to the cause of liberty. I would recommend that any professional get involved with AF.

 Roberts’s final piece of advice

If I could offer one piece of advice it would be to never miss an opportunity to introduce yourself to others, discover what they’re working on and what they’re passionate about, and remain attentive to the possibilities to collaborate. Branch out; push yourself to meet at least one new person every time you attend an event and always follow up! Lastly, try to embrace others with respect, and always strive to find a career that gives you fulfillment professionally and personally.