Entrepreneur Spotlight: Kathryn Kates


This month, our entrepreneur spotlight falls on a dynamic self-starter and go-getter Kathryn Kates, owner of Oakville-based Kathryn Kates Public Relations.

Kates exemplifies the entrepreneur whose work is an extension of his or her personality, someone who has honed their innate talents and channelled them into a successful career.

Adaptability and intensity describe Kathryn Kates’ dynamic career. The PR darling has been creating and celebrating talent, work and ideas since she was in her teens. A natural gift for promoting her clients and apposite communication, her life-long association with all things media, events planning and public relation gives Kathryn Kates Public Relations projects that special flair that takes an occurrence and turns it into an occasion.


“When you are an entrepreneur you can be unabashedly intense. People take it as a compliment,” says Kates. “For me, there is no other option.”

Intensity is what drove Kates to startup the second incarnation of her PR firm two years ago. As a 19-year-old, Kates started out in events planning and PR.

The definition of a go-getter, Kates took out a $300 advance on her new credit card, and started her promotions business, contracts and sub-contracts followed, supporting her independent company. This theme carries throughout her career; Kates is the captain of her own ship and has forged out a decades-long career with determination and self-reliance. “Before I started I decided to take an advertising course, and the fellow sitting next to me owned the oldest tavern in Toronto, the Wheat Sheaf, and by the end of the course, he became my first client.”

Kates’ career evolved from PR into journalism (the overlap is obvious), writing celebrity and pop-culture columns for the city’s biggest newspapers, relaying the lives of the rich and famous to her readers. But in 2008, Kates felt a shift underneath, foreseeing that she would have to make an adjustment to soften the impact of the recession and the scaling back of traditional print media.

With a track record for attracting—and creating—big name celebrities and events, Kates leveraged her extensive business and community contacts and puts her full weight behind Kathryn Kates Public Relations.


“I came up with the term “Piecemeal PR for the Do-It-Yourselfers,” says Kates, referring to the buffet of services clients seek from Kathryn Kates Public Relations.

Even with a history of servicing large corporate clients, Kathryn Kates Public Relations team members are flexible enough to assist Do-It-Yourselfers with a press release, a pitch or a brief consultation at an hourly rate that even the smallest of businesses can afford.

Kathryn Kates Public Relations also regularly teams up with other PR companies, which might have in-house PR yet still need an outside voice for special events, or outside the box consulting. “Not only will we work with companies or individuals who are need of PR, but we work very well with other PR professionals,” says Kates.

A strategic and unique business model, it eased the sharp edges of the recession. Because the tools of PR are adaptable to any industry, Kates’ clients range from celebrities to tradesmen, technology companies, adventure tourism, tradeshows, dining establishments, and a number of retail operations.

Not reserved for her business model, Kates’ adaptability extends to her business skills. Having started out when Twitter and Facebook were not integral to a successful media campaign, Kates embraces social media tools as a vital part of her business.

“I have learned so much. I really encourage people who are not savvy to get with the program. The key thing as an entrepreneur is you have to stay current; use your past and knowledge, but be current.”

Kates is proud that her talents are promoting businesses and events in and around her hometown, as well as internationally. Community involvement is important, she says, as is celebrating “our own.” Not a reference to a restaurant or shop goes by without Kates, never off duty, suggesting a dish or telling a story about the owner, and it’s this being current, to borrow her word, that adds that extra vitality and energy to Kathryn Kates Public Relations’ projects.