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From Professional Consulting to Cidermaking – It’s All About Passion

BN360 is excited to introduce you to Katie Campos. Katie is the BN360 Spotlight Professional for February 2020. Spotlight Professionals are young people who live and work in Buffalo Niagara. They are professionally motivated in their industries and careers and are passionate about giving back to the community.

Katie has years of experience in change management, organizational consulting, and education reform. When we sat down to ask how she does it, a common theme strung each of her accomplishments and experiences together.


From directing Teach for America to working on Obama’s educational campaign and now mastering the art of cidermaking, Katie cites her drive for pushing capabilities and the never-ending need for meaningful work as her “how.”

Throughout our conversation, it became clear that Katie consistently seeks out new opportunities goes all in on each pursuit.

[Q] Where are you, professionally, at this moment?

I have been working in the non-profit management and education policy industry for about 11 years. In this time, I’ve gained a lifetime’s worth of knowledge and established incredible relationships.

My professional career has constantly stretched me – pushing me to use talents I didn’t know I had and requiring me to learn new ones in order to succeed. I’ve found that as soon as you feel like you have succeeded, it’s time to step back and think about how to improve and what you can do next.

[Q] How do you take this step?

Improving and growing comes from taking intentional pauses. I often ask myself – Am I doing something meaningful here? Am I passionate about this? If I have that feeling in my belly, I know I am doing something right.

For me, it’s all about learning and trying new things. This is what sparked my interest in the cider industry. What started as a curiosity about the cider-making history in our community and the opportunity for economic impact in our region grew into a passion and its now become a huge part of my life. I credit that to the process of stepping back and evaluating what more I can do.

[Q] How has cidermaking become a passion?

With celiac disease, ciders have always been my go-to. I prefer the English style, which you don’t see often around here. I decided to learn more about the process and found that New York State has countless opportunities and that this industry has a significant economic impact on our region. And even closer to home, I learned that Western New York has a deep history of cidery and apples.

My research led me to wonderful communities of people in the industry. I have met people from all around the world who are passionate about their work, are always looking for ways to improve their products, and explore through travelling.

The venture has allowed me to seize opportunities and pursue a passion I didn’t know I had. Currently, I am making ciders, interning, and have friends who serve as taste-testers!

[Q] What advice to you have for other young professionals who want to try new things and improve?

Constantly seek and evaluate feedback from a diverse group of people. The more input you receive, the more you can learn from it. Hearing from people with different backgrounds and perspectives is crucial

Creating and maintaining sustainable relationships is a large part of this. I’ve tapped into the value of community through my experience within the cider industry, just like in my work in education. Making meaningful connections and surrounding yourself with diverse groups of people creates countless opportunities to expand your knowledge and skill set!

[Q] What is your dream for the future of Buffalo Niagara?

I love it here, and I am always deepening my roots. My biggest hope is that our community becomes one that celebrates difference and is more and more inclusive and equitable.

I would love to see the food drink movement continue to grow and thrive – alongside Buffalo’s other cultural assets.

At the end of the day, I would like Buffalo to be a place any kid would be lucky to grow up in; a place where we all have the greatest chance to be successful.

This content was produced in collaboration between Buffalo Rising and the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. The facts and opinions published in Buffalo Rising express solely the thoughts and opinions of our respective authors.

Written by BN360


BN360 is the region’s premier young professionals program. Through a variety of programs and events, BN360 focuses on the tenets of: connect, develop, and empower—creating an inclusive and collaborative network of resources that can empower talented individuals to achieve their goals for professional growth and success. BN360 is a program of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.

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