Ideas and insights > Women’s Equality Day: celebrating and empowering the women of JK.

Women’s Equality Day: celebrating and empowering the women of JK.

Our thought leader:

Katie DeGennaro
Katie DeGennaro
Associate Creative Director, Copy

At JK, more than 50% of our employees identify as women. And not only is one of our two co-founders female—so is our CEO. Equal opportunity is woven into our agency DNA. So today, we’re celebrating Women’s Equality Day by sharing a Q&A with some of the women driving our agency forward.

Women’s Equality Day: celebrating and empowering the women of JK.

Meet our leading ladies.


Martha Marchesi, CEO

Martha not only runs JK’s day-to-day operations, but also drives the agency’s strategic vision. She is the “steward of our incredible culture,” working each day to empower our talent so they can impact our clients.

Katie Kaulius, Sr. Executive, New Business

As part of the new business team, Katie spends much of her time getting to know prospects across all sorts of industries and areas of business, introducing them to JK, and crafting solutions that leverage our agency expertise to help exceed their goals.

Chris Milan

Chris Milan, Director of Branding & Messaging

Chris works to shape and enhance our capabilities to meet our clients’ evolving needs and keep pace with the latest thinking—while helping them find their voice, define their position, engage their target audiences, and stand out from their competition.

Jennifer Semone, Controller

Jennifer manages all things finance and accounting at JK.

Jennifer Semone
Courtney Balzer

Courtney Balzer, Director of Account Services

Courtney’s role is divided between making sure that our clients expectations are being met day in and day out while also managing and empowering the account services and project management team—which in the end helps ensure that we are meeting our clients goals and objectives.

Describe yourself in three words.

Martha: Tenacious, patient, resilient

Katie: Optimistic, ambitious, reliable

Chris: Committed, sarcastic, tall

Jennifer: Short, determined, pragmatic

Courtney: Dedicated, transparent, collaborative

As a woman, what challenges have you faced in your career?

Martha: Not being paid the same as a man for the same job, sexism in the workplace.

Katie: I’m sure it’s not unique to only women, but imposter syndrome creeps in every now and then. It helps to remind myself that I’m qualified and experienced, reflect on past successes, and if that doesn’t do the trick, a conversation with a trusted colleague is always immensely helpful.

Chris: I’ve been fortunate to have good role models, and I haven’t felt disadvantaged in my career ambitions. But I have struggled with a tendency to sell myself short, which I think women may have a greater tendency to do than our male counterparts. As women, we should own our accomplishments and speak about them loudly and proudly!

Jennifer: I have faced many challenges in my career. The first was being a full-time employee and full-time mom. There were very few employers at the time I started my career willing to extend the flexibility needed to do both. Next was pay equity and opportunity for career advancement. I combine these two issues because one most certainly influences the other. I have found that women are not always given the opportunity to advance in their career simply because they may have children. Without true advancement opportunities, a woman’s pay will not increase at the same rate as a male counterpart who is given significantly more opportunity for advancement. And last but not least, when a man makes demands of his employer for a pay increase or promotion, he is being assertive. When a female makes the same demands, she is being aggressive.

Courtney: I have definitely faced the glass ceiling a handful of times in my career, mainly because of the gender gap. It’s been frustrating at times but in the past five years of my career, all of my workplaces have been comprised of more than 50% women which is extremely encouraging. We have to continue to challenge the “boys club” and fight for a seat at the table.

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