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August 24, 2021 | Tom Ballard

KEC names Catherine Porth as Director of Insights and Development

Catherine Porth, Founder of the “Let Her Speak” platform and a long-time volunteer, has been named Director of Insights and Development at the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (KEC).

With more than 12 years working in business consulting, sales development, corporate training, and insights research, Porth takes on a full-time role as part of a new KEC initiative that’s about making a greater strategic impact within the entrepreneurial community.

“We want to improve the ability to meet the needs of the Knoxville entrepreneurial community at all stages of business, and we feel Catherine’s expertise in providing insightful analytics and executing strategic initiatives is exactly what’s needed to help make that happen,” said KEC Executive Director Jim Biggs. “Catherine has worked in a wide range of industries . . . from workplace design to financial services to technology start-ups. And for every role she’s had, it’s clear she takes on ‘an owner’s heart,’ because she’s been there and has lived that herself. She’s effective in working with entrepreneurs for many reasons, but particularly because she’s also ‘worn all the hats’ that it takes to build a business from the ground up.”


Biggs further cited Porth’s experience in creating feedback systems and implementing data-enabled strategies that will ensure KEC’s programming and activities successfully address the needs of the entrepreneurial ecosystem they serve. In that vein, she says one of her first priorities is to determine and implement an ecosystem engagement platform to manage KEC’s programming, measure its impact, and deepen its community connections and partnerships with targeted organizations, businesses, institutions, and government agencies.

“I believe we’re on track to build an even stronger foundation that allows us to dream big about what our community could be in five, 10, or 20 years from now,” Porth said. “We’ll build new ways to engage, to execute best practices, and to better align/expand our reach within the diverse entrepreneur-led ecosystem we’re serving.”

The Iowa native holds a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the University of South Carolina’s Darla Moore School of Business and a Master’s in Business Administration from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business.

For the past several years, Porth has served as lead facilitator of KEC’s CO-STARTERS program and a Co-Administrator of the “Women in Entrepreneurship – Knoxville” group sponsored through the KEC. She founded the “Let Her Speak” organization in 2017 with the help of KEC and will continue to run its programs and platform under the Center’s sponsorship. Through the organization, Porth curates women-empowered events, conducts female-focused research, and develops personal-growth workshops.

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