Ali on the Run Show Episode 70: Katie Burke, Chief People Officer at HubSpot

Ali on the Run Show Episode 70: Katie Burke, Chief People Officer at HubSpot

“The best possible way to start my career was not getting what I wanted. Failure teaches you a lot, and it helped me figure out a path to success that worked for me.” —Katie Burke

Katie Burke is the Chief People Officer at HubSpot, a marketing software company in Boston that employs more than 2,300 people worldwide. And of those 2,300, Katie was the company’s first female to land a spot in the c-suite. (Today, 45 percent of the company’s vice presidents are women.) In this super inspiring conversation, Katie shares why she’s so passionate about empowering women in the workplace, and candidly opens up about her own massive career failures — including how bombing the LSATs turned out to be the best thing that could’ve happened to her. She offers up interviewing advice, explains why prospective employees should add “we” to their vocabularies, and shares the one word she’s trying to add to her own life.

Katie is the oldest of six kids, and she has a fascinating family story. Her dad, Brian Burke, is extremely well-known in the hockey world, and her brother, Brendan, was a hockey player at Miami Ohio when he famously came out as gay to his teammates — and the world. Brendan was later killed in a tragic car accident, and Katie gladly shared stories of his incredible legacy with me.

Of course, Katie is also a runner. She’s a four-time marathoner and 20+-time half-marathoner, and she’s currently training for the Popular Brooklyn Half Marathon in May.

Apologies for the slightly off audio on this one! Despite recording in a professional podcast studio, I had the audio settings wrong on my computer. Don’t let a little echo deter you from this fantastic conversation!

Listen on Apple Podcasts I SpotifySoundCloud I Overcast I Stitcher I Google Play

What you’ll get on this episode:

  • What it means to be a Chief People Officer, and how Katie landed this job (1:53)
  • Katie’s advice for getting over a fear of failure (7:00)
  • How Hubspot has grown and evolved since Katie became the first woman in the company’s c-suite (8:00)
  • The best — and worst — things Katie says prospective employees can say in an interview (9:45)
  • Why Katie is so passionate about empowering women (12:55)
  • What Katie tells people who say she got her job “because she’s a girl” (14:15)
  • Where Katie’s confidence comes from (18:30)
  • Katie’s “strong opinion” on mentors, and why she believes in having a “personal board of advisors” (19:35)
  • Katie’s biggest piece of advice for women in the workplace (21:10)
  • The greatest challenge Katie faces at her job (25:30)
  • Katie’s take on work perks and whether they actually matter (28:00)
  • What it’s like coming from a big — and very high-achieving — family, and the challenges of having a father who’s in the public eye (29:30)
  • Katie’s running story, and how she prioritizes workouts with a demanding schedule (39:30)
  • The advice Katie would give to her younger self (45:45)

What we mention on this episode:

Bates College


“Because I’m a Girl” via Huffington Post

Always #LikeAGirl commercial

Shine Theory

“This 1 Word Will Help You Do Less and Achieve More in 2018” via Inc.

Brian Burke

Calgary Flames

You Can Play Project

Miami University Ohio

“We love you, this won’t change a thing” via ESPN

Portland Half Marathon

November Project

Popular Brookyn Half


JP Morgan Corporate Challenge

Kristin Armstrong

New York Road Runners

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6 Responses

  1. This is a great Podcast! Katie is incredible – love her dearly and agree she is quite inspirational and energizing!

  2. This one was amazing! I’m not usually very career focused in my life (I do have other priorities) but this definitely had me thinking about my life more holistically. When she said Beyonce was in her running club, I knew she was a wise woman. I know the audio issues were a challenge for you, but honestly if anything it made me go somewhere quiet and concentrate on it episode more than I usually do. So thanks for that!!

  3. Can’t wait to listen to this one! Katie sounds like such an inspiring woman.

    Also, I have loved your blog for ages and you were one of the first people I looked to for running advice when I started training for my first marathon. I wrote a post on my blog today about my thoughts on running a marathon and I had to mention your blog in there!

    So thanks Ali!!

    x Elise –

  4. Great episode! I think I mostly noticed the echo at the beginning because you forewarned us, but it wasn’t at all distracting and I quickly was engrossed in the conversation and didn’t think about it again!

    1. Oh that makes me so happy to hear! This audio was stressing me out — so glad you didn’t find it distracting! And isn’t Katie incredible?! So smart, so happy to have her on the show!

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about ali

I’m the creator of the Ali on the Run blog and the host of the Ali on the Run Show podcast. I’m also a freelance writer and editor, a race announcer, a runner and marathoner, a mom, and a huge fan of Peanut M&Ms, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (way better than the first one!), and reliving my glory days as a competition dancer in the early 2000s. I’m really happy you’re here.
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