Kat McCourt
Strategic Brand Planner, HY Merge


Currently, Kat works as a strategic brand planner, representing the consumer’s voice at HY Merge, an advertising agency in Chicago. She’s intent on inspiring creatives with big leaps and great empathy and has a borderline compulsion to understand what makes people tick.
And it’s her colorful background of experiences that let her to brand strategy work. After a stint in Alaska leading the Food and Beverage charge at Denali National Park, she headed to Whole Foods Market’s global headquarters in Austin, Texas. There she got her first taste of marketing and strategy in PR at a time when Whole Foods Market was the darling of natural retailers—when they were just a figment of Amazon’s imagination. That introduced her to the emerging world of social media, and she went on to become fluent in understanding influencers and developing online communities for companies such as lululemon athletica. Kat was most recently a shopper strategist at Leo Burnett, working on iconic brands like Coca-Cola, Kraft and Intel.
Kat did her undergrad at Cornell University in the School of Hotel Administration and just completed her Master’s at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing Communications. Kat’s naturally curious about everything, she’s the rare split between left and right brain. A born and raised Clevelander, she will muse about her love of the city any chance she gets.