About me

 

As a creative strategist, designer, and producer, I've helped campaigns, businesses, and nonprofits of all sizes define and share their brands, win people over through compelling stories, build support and public trust, and beat their fundraising targets. 

My work includes everything from Adobe Illustrator to cameras and lights. No matter the medium, my goals are more or less the same:

  • Tell a good story.

  • Make complex ideas simpler.

  • Get people to care.

I'm a fifth-generation South Dakota farm kid. I studied religion and classics at St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and earned an M.A. at United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities.

My obsession with design began in second grade, the year I started my first business creating invitations for my friends' First Communion parties on my dad's inkjet printer. Before I made the return to self-employment, I worked on a bunch of campaigns and in a few truly wonderful jobs, notably: 

1. Serving as Communications Director for the Minnesota DFL Party during the 2012 election cycle. I got to develop and manage a statewide messaging strategy and design cool stuff – and help elect U.S. Rep. Rick Nolan over a Tea Party incumbent, win back control of both chambers of the Minnesota legislature, and defeat a voter restriction amendment and an anti-marriage equality amendment. 

2. The summer in high school when I worked for my town's weekly newspaper. As the layout editor, I printed out and cut up columns of type, ran them through a machine that put a thin coat of wax on the back, and assembled each page like a puzzle. My passion for grids, kerning and alignment has never waned.

Today I’m a parter at FSSG, the team I co-founded with the incredible Isaac Wright. I work with candidates as part of the Truman National Security Project Candidate Advisory Group, and I serve on the board of directors of The Juror Project. You can usually find me in my New Orleans studio or at the farm. 

Booop
  • 85%

    Illustrator

  • 80%

    InDesign

  • 75%

    Premiere

  • 70%

    HTML/CSS

  • 65%

    Photoshop

  • 55%

    Audition

  • 40%

    AE

 

Honors

2019 AAPC Pollie Award – Overall, Ballot Initiative Division, Best Direct Mail Campaign, Gold

2019 AAPC Pollie Award – Overall, Ballot Initiative Division: Best Digital or Internet Campaign, Bronze

2019 AAPC Pollie Award – Ballot Initiative Division, Digital Creative: Full Set, Silver

2019 AAPC Pollie Award – Candidate Division, Internet Advertising: Mayor, Bronze

2019 AAPC Pollie Award – Candidate Division, Internet Advertising: Local/Municipal/Regional, Silver

2019 C&E Reed Award – Best of the Best Direct Mail, named by the United States Postal Service

2019 C&E Reed Award – Best Direct Mail Piece for a Bootstrapped Campaign

2019 C&E Reed Award – Best Use of Online Targeting for Gubernatorial Campaign

2019 C&E Reed Award – Best Use of Online Targeting for Ballot Initiative

2019 C&E Reed Award – Best Web Video for a Gubernatorial Candidate

2019 C&E Reed Award – Best Website for a State Legislative Candidate

2019 C&E CampaignTech Award – Advertising & Social, Most Effective Online Targeting: Non-Federal, Non-Statewide

2019 C&E CampaignTech Award – Best Web Video, 15 to 30 seconds

2019 C&E CampaignTech Award – Best Web Video, 60 seconds or longer

2018 Harry S. Truman Award for Political Leadership – Truman National Security Project

2018 “40 Under 40” – American Association of Political Consultants

2018 “Rising Stars” – Campaigns & Elections Magazine

2018 AAPC Pollie Award – Best Website For A Candidate For Governor, Bronze

2018 AAPC Pollie Award – Best Website For A Candidate For Mayor, Silver

2018 C&E Reed Award – Best Web Video For Democratic Statewide Candidate

2018 C&E Reed Award – Best Non-Traditional Online Advertising

2018 C&E Reed Award – Best Web Video For Mayoral Candidate

2018 C&E Reed Award – Best Fundraising Email Creative/Copy For Mayoral Candidate

2009 Donald R. White Prize for Theological Interpretation of Culture – United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

 

Reviews from some top-notch people

Kate has been an essential part of our team since 2012. She’s a skilled designer and one of the best communications directors around. She can both develop a message and design the tools to communicate it, and that combination of skills has been invaluable. We trust Kate with a wide range of project that include fundraising, outreach, events and voter contact. She’s dependable, she does an outstanding job and we truly enjoy working with her. 
— Ken Martin, Chair, Minnesota DFL Party / President, Association of State Democratic Chairs
Kate excels as a communications professional and does so with creativity, insightfulness, and patience. Often required to respond quickly to an unexpected development, Kate worked well under pressure and was able to provide quick, sound, high quality materials. I enjoyed working with Kate and highly recommend her.
— Ted Thompson, Vice President of Public Policy, The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research
Kate Monson is a darn good political flack. My fellow reporters and I enjoyed working with her because she worked hard to get to know us, responded quickly to our requests, helped us contact the news sources we needed, could be counted to back up political claims with solid research and had a deep passion for and knowledge of politics. I have covered politics for more than 30 years, and Kate is among the best public relations professionals that I have known.
— Bill Salisbury, St. Paul Pioneer Press
When faced with a new or unexpected situation, Kate responded readily and creatively. Her energy was contagious and inspired those around her to do their best.
— Rev. Glen Herrington-Hall, former Admissions Director, United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities
Kate is a whip-smart, savvy communicator who easily distills complex information into easy to understand language and graphics. I’ve had the opportunity to work with Kate on several occasions and her client service, delivery and comprehension is second-to-none.
— Heather Faulkner, leadership coach
Heidi and I are both so very impressed with your quick responses and general efficiency and competence. We work in writing and design a lot and have never had such high quality work done with partners in projects like this. Thank you SO much, Kate.
— Todd Mikkelson, MN House candidate
Her gifts in fundraising and resource management were exemplary, her creativity and vision tremendous, and her ability to use both her significant intellectual ability and accessible communication style made her a key leader in our event planning and execution.
— Rev. Brandon Gilvin, First Christian Church, Chattanooga