Katharine Laidlaw

Vice President, Strategic Communications and Engagement 

Katharine served as the Chief Marketing Officer at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA). At UNCSA, she oversaw marketing, communications, public relations and brand management for the university.

As CMO, she drove a comprehensive rebranding of UNCSA including creative direction, visual identity, messaging, and strategy. She was responsible for UNCSA's multi-faceted award-winning advertising campaign, spanning digital and print buys for recruitment, institutional, and performance promotion for over 300+ events a year. This work received thirteen gold, three silver, and two bronze awards from the Higher Education Marketing Report, three CASE Awards, one gold and two silver awards from the Collegiate Advertising Awards. In Fall 2017, she launched a new recruitment campaign, including a 20-piece collateral suite with a comprehensive digital strategy, which caused Admission inquiries on the website to double, applications to increase +30% and deposits to increase +90% (YOY). During her tenure, each of the five arts schools were consistently ranked in "Top Ten" features in industry-leading publications such as The Hollywood Reporter, The Wrap, and Backstage. Through her work on institutional messaging, she helped advance UNCSA’s reputation as a leading cultural institution in the South and a significant contributor to the state, national, and global creative economy.

Prior, she served as UNCSA’s first Executive Producer, with production credits that include Producer/ General Manager and Marketing Director of The Nutcracker, which nearly doubled its gross revenue during her tenure, and provides over $300K in annual scholarship and instructional support. She received an Emmy Award for the filmed production of Much Ado About Nothing which was broadcast on UNC-TV and won Best Arts Program in the Midsouth Division in 2013. She also produced two of the most successful gala fundraisers in the school’s history.

Prior to joining UNCSA, Katharine was a commercial producer for Waxman Williams Entertainment and Fox Theatricals. She served on 8 Tony nominated productions, the Broadway premiere of a Pulitzer prize-winning play, in addition to several West End, Off-Broadway, regional productions and developmental workshops. Katharine also has served as a panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, a member of the Corporate Cabinet for the Forsyth County United Way Campaign, and as a marketing consultant and developer of corporate sponsorships for Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. Her brand marketing experience includes positions with The Coca-Cola Company and Hanesbrands, Inc.

Katharine graduated from The Lawrenceville School, received her B.A. (Honors) in English from Davidson College, and a M.B.A. with a concentration in marketing from UNC-Chapel Hill.