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Q&A With Siena Alum And Wedding Planner: Katie O'Malley Maloney ('06)

Posted By Allison Turcio | June 6, 2017


Even though our alumni are spread out across the country, we do love when Saints choose to stay close to home. Even better, when they make a name for themselves. In the Capital Region, Katie O'Malley Maloney ('06) is synonymous with flawless event planning. Her team is the go-to group for weddings, showers, celebrations of all kind—and Katie will be the first person to tell you that it takes hard work to dominate a market. Read on about the Siena grad (who holds a marketing management degree) and owner of Katie O' Weddings & Events (KOWE) in Troy, NY. 

KatieO_post.jpgWhat led you to Siena College?
I had already earned my associate's degree and was working full-time in Albany when I saw a CDTA bus drive by advertising Siena, specifically the marketing management degree. I always knew I wanted to go back for my bachelor's, so, intrigued, I looked up the course curriculum, called admissions, made an appointment...and the rest is history. I wanted to stay local and I knew that the alumni network would be so valuable after graduation. 

Truth be told: when I was 18, my mom made me visit Siena (my younger self had other plans to head West). I left the visit telling my mom, "I don't want to go there...they don't have my major!" Funny how things turned out.
When did you first become interested in event planning?
I was lucky enough to have been working in the event field while I began pursuing my degree at Siena. My courses at Siena allowed me to grow as a "business person," not simply an "event planner." There was so much more about business, accounting, management and leadership that I still needed to learn. Siena provided me an excellent opportunity to balance my "real world" experience with my classroom experience.   
What skills did you learn during your time at Siena that empower you to run your business today?
Siena and the marketing management track was so vital to my success as a business owner. The professors, my classmates and the community all pushed me to excel and do my best. As a local business owner there are so many strong connections you make at Siena that stay with you. I made certain to make the best of my time on campus and build relationships with my professors, and it helped me grow into a poised, confident individual when it came to the "business" side of running a business. I was lucky enough to have a lot of "hands on" event experience, but it was the accounting, statistics, human resource management and core classes that helped me grow.
Do you have a favorite class, professor, memory or project you still talk about to others?
Without a doubt I always bring up my Leadership course with General William Martin. It might seem dramatic, but this class really changed my life. One of our required texts was Lincoln on Leadership and I still brag about how much I loved this book and how he applied it to our course. This course made me assess the type of leader I was and the type of leader I wanted to be. I made goals and really dug deep into who I am as a leader. I'm confident that the success of KOWE today is in large part due to many of the principles I learned in this course. One of the biggest lessons and a guiding force for my day-to-day is to "surround yourself with people smarter than you." 
If you hadn't gone to Siena, what might be different about your career or life? 
I am proud to be part of the local Siena alumni community. Siena is an amazing school that fosters the Franciscan traditions and shares values that you take with you forever. As a business owner, one of our core values is to "give back and support local," and I know that Siena played a huge role in this belief.  A sense of community and a sense of pride is something that I love about Siena and I don't think I would feel that same way if I did not attend.
Any advice for prospective students considering Siena?
Always keep an open mind, get involved, build relationships and make the most of your college experience. The best part of Siena is its people and you should take complete advantage of this. Remember to have fun while learning and don't get too stressed out. Life is about the journey and sometimes that means failing—it is most important how you turn those failures into successes!
Ready to join a community that you can build a relationship with from day one? We'd like to meet you.
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