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Meet Katherine Shek, Deputy Director of Communications, PIT-UN

Q: Tell us what led to your new position professionally.

Katherine Shek: For more than 15 years, I’ve helped mission-driven organizations advance their goals through traditional and digital media. I was drawn to the public interest technology (PIT) team’s work because it considers technology through a people-centered and equity lens. Often, we think of how technology can make our lives easier, from automating tasks to connecting with others. Less often do we think about how technology affects different groups of people, and whether it serves them or hurts them. Even in my short time at New America, PIT has opened my eyes to questions I never thought of asking and the need for solutions that work for all people. As a person of color, it’s important for me to play a part in advancing equity in my professional work.

Q: What are your top priorities for your role with PIT-UN?

KS: I see PIT-UN as the engine that drives the public interest technology movement and elevates the visibility of New America’s work in the field. My top priorities are to spotlight the work of Network members and the PIT team through storytelling and multichannel campaigns. The goals are to raise awareness of what PIT is, educate target audiences about the work on the ground, and mobilize them to get involved. I want to leverage traditional media, social media, and other digital channels to tell the PIT story and to position the Network and the PIT team as key voices in conversations around how technology and policy can promote social justice, equity, and diversity.


Q: What excites you about the role?

KS: I am excited by the opportunity to be at the forefront of this emerging PIT movement. In just three years, the Network has grown from 21 to 48 colleges and universities with increasingly diverse members. I am thrilled to be part of the team to take it to the next level by telling PIT success stories and expanding the field and pipeline of PIT practitioners. My role allows me to be strategic and hands-on in managing across all communications channels from editorial and media to digital and web-based platforms. I am also looking forward to helping foster meaningful partnerships with the media, organizations, policymakers and influencers and to supporting New America’s PIT program as a key player in the field.


Q: Personal tidbit that makes you you?

KS: As a former reporter, I am used to telling other people’s stories, not so much my own. But here it is. I was born and raised in Hong Kong, then a British colony. My mom and two siblings still live there. I enjoy long-distance running and use the time to reflect and plan. We have two college kids and a precocious 8-year-old daughter who is a digital native and is inspired to be a YouTuber. I am not adventurous when it comes to roller coasters and skydiving. But I like to get outside my comfort zone to get things done. I like to try new approaches and learn from the experience. I am at my best when working with teams that are open to new ideas and are not afraid to learn from them. I like hot weather, spicy food, and watching horror movies for relaxation.