Rochester Institute of Technology - Information Technology, New Media
Katie Linendoll will tell you she feels fortunate to not have only one "official" position in the 9-to-5 sense of the word. She basically has quite a few roles. First and foremost, she's the resident tech expert for "The Early Show" and "The Nate Berkus Show" on CBS. She's also proud to be a regular tech contributor to CNN. Katie freelances for various dot coms and print magazines including People StyleWatch, Fitness, Marie Claire and others.
Sometimes referred to as the "Chic Geek", Katie has thousands of hours of live television experience and also is known as being the one-stop shop for networks. She researches, develops and co-produces many of her own segments to create an entertainment experience that's always intelligent, quirky, accessible and unique. Katie has earned recognition as the go-to technology expert for some of the biggest networks, an Emmy-winning producer on ESPN's "SportsCenter" and the Emmy-nominated host of A&E's "We Mean Business".
It comes as no surprise that Katie's been enamored with science and technology for as long as she can remember. By the age of 14, she had taught herself how to write sophisticated programs and build computers from scratch. At 18, she held a certificate in computer networking and was enrolled at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She went on to earn a degree in Information Technology New Media, and was recently honored with the 2011 Distinguished Alumni Award at RIT.
The last year of Katie's life has been one of the most exciting. For starters, she became one of the few people in the world to challenge the IBM supercomputer Watson at Jeopardy. She also worked alongside Lady Gaga as spokesperson and presenter for Polaroid at CES. Additional promo work included an appearance in a series of Lincoln commercials/webisodes, which gained traction online and also on in-flight screens across the country.
Katie has showcased her expertise on the Style Network, ABC News Now, LXTV and AOL.com. She has blogged for Oprah.com, "The Nate Berkus Show" and DELL, and worked with HP on a multimedia project. Katie spent two years as HSN's resident tech expert and accrued over 20 million in sales for the network.
Katie hails from suburban Pennsylvania where she's the youngest of four girls, and currently lives in New York City, where she's studied with the top professionals for hosting, voice and improv (at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater).
You have to have thick skin and you absolutely can't be a quitter.
How did you discover your current job?
In college, I hosted a regional sports show on ESPN2. I've always been a huge sports fan! While working on the show, I became fascinated with production and went to work for ESPN behind the scenes. I learned a lot about production and how to make a TV show there. Eventually, I moved back to on-camera work. I co-hosted a show on A&E (tech makeovers) and things took off!
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
There isn’t a typical day! It’s kind of a surprise box. Sometimes, I start my day at 4:30 a.m. for "The Early Show", and other days I'm working on article deadlines or dashing off to LA for meetings. Regardless of the day, the only consistency is the digital influx of BlackBerry pings and phone calls. Lots of multitasking.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
Always learning. Every time I do a story, I am obsessed with researching as much as possible before deadline and love to be a sponge constantly learning and growing.
Tech is vast. I might do a gadget roundup for CBS one day and a hard news piece for CNN the next. I'm most inspired by future forward innovations that are changing the globe, and love that I can help get the word out about fascinating stories that might be underreported on. I also enjoy breaking down complex tech issues in a way that a lay audience can understand. I like to keep it simple!
One huge challenge is condensing days of research into a 3- to 4-minute segment. Another is having enough time to do it. And sometimes, after all that work, I have producers cut segments at the last minute! That's how it goes in TV, but it can still be frustrating.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
My schedule is very atypical. I work weekends and typically only know what I'm doing 12 (or fewer) hours in advance. But I love that part of it!
Still, it makes having a pet or boyfriend at the moment out of the question (I think!)
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Don't under any circumstances get wrapped up in work gossip. It might sound silly, but it still goes on and fosters a lot of negativity. I come in, do my job, and I'm out the door.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
I actually think we're outgrowing the stigma against females in tech. They're still outnumbered by guys, but women are realizing that this field has a lot to offer them, too. If they have the chops, they'll be taken seriously.
Who are your role models?
I've always thought highly of Erica Hill, who's an anchor on "The Early Show".
What are some of the rules you live by?
Be early, work hard and listen.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Try things out and see what you like. Don't think you can't do it just because it's still a male-dominated industry. Get out there. Think of being a woman in tech as being a rare gem as opposed to a minority.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Producing and hosting a TV show that I'm passionate about.
What are three things you love aside from your job?
Travel, shopping and volunteering at Candlelighters NYC -- a resource center for children diagnosed with cancer.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
My career path may seem straightforward, but this industry isn't an easy one to navigate. It can be brutal. I've been turned down a lot, told I wasn’t attractive enough, and lost work for not being a man. You have to have thick skin and you absolutely can't be a quitter. The longer you hang in there in this business, the more you gain and the more you grow.