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Meet Trailblazer KT Speetzen

Today we’d like to introduce you to KT Speetzen.

KT, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’m a jackass of all trades. I own two companies — Mother Cluckers Comedy and KT Speetzen Presents. I’ve been a stand-up comic for over 20 years, starting as a teen growing up in Los Angeles, in addition to having a background in documentary television production and a Masters in Education, with which I used to teach middle school for the Chicago Public Schools. All of these bobs and weaves has led me to help educate corporate clients on comedic storytelling strategy (try saying that three times fast).

By day, I work with everyone from C-suite clients, sales teams, analysts, HR, and even medical professionals to captivate their clients and enhance interoffice dynamics through comedic storytelling. By night I host The Mother Cluckers comedy troupe, which is a comedy for parents and those who’ve had parents, out in La Grange. It’s a blast – we have over 30 rotating female comics from the Chicagoland area who come out and entertain our fantastic crowd.

How did I get here? Great question. When I was a kid, I was pretty much glued to Comedy Central and SNL. As I hit my teens, getting out of the house by doing comedy seemed as good an alternative to anything else. I continued performing while at Northwestern University and began learning about the visual art of storytelling after graduation as an Associate Producer for documentary TV series for A&E, The History Channel and The National Geographic Channel. While documentary TV production was great for cocktail party stories, I realize that I missed the human interaction of education. With that, I earned my Masters in Education from DePaul University and taught middle school for the Chicago Public Schools. Let me tell you, there is no greater comedy school on earth than “performing” for middle school kids daily. I loved teaching.

I took some time with the birth of my first daughter and returned to stand-up. I noticed that there was no comedy outlet, either creatively or for entertainment, for parents in the suburbs. I created The Mother Cluckers as a response, and we’ve been having a blast entertaining our audiences for two seasons. KT Speetzen Presents came as a result of friends in corporations and various other entities looking for advice on how to deliver a keynote, or how to engage their clients or teams. The thread of my careers is storytelling, and I’m excited to weave them all in KT Speetzen Presents.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh no, the road is not smooth. But don’t let that panic you! First off, I’m in the stage of life where my kids are 5 & 7. Which, on the one hand, is a heck of a lot easier than them being 3 & 5, etc. But my primary role is to be a parent, and my kids still really need me. My husband, Chris, is an amazing partner, but he has a full-time job as well. So, for me, childcare, childrearing, and ensuring that everyone is alive at the end of the day is always in the back of my head. But if you’re not at the kid stage yet (or never want to be, or past it, or whatever you choose it’s your life girl!) I know you have something else. For me, I literally take it a day at a time. It took me a while to get there, as I like to plan my life years in advance (and don’t take this to think you don’t need a business plan — you do!), but try to not let your challenge today knock you down. You don’t know where it might lead. For example, last year I made an online course. It’s made about $4. Mostly from my Mom. But despite it being a “failure,” I learned two extremely important things: 1) self-marketing was not my strong suit, so I got myself a sales coach. BOOM! 2) I like interacting with people, which is why I left documentary production in the first place. The course is good, I just need to tweak it and, oh yeah, actually market it. I’ve got a great thing in my back pocket, but even more important lessons that have helped me propel my business.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Mothe Cluckers Comedy & KT Speetzen Presents – what should we know?
I love that I educate people on how to be confident in who they are and that their authenticity will drive their relationships in sales, interdepartmental, or wherever else they look to thrive. I help organizations leverage relationships through comedic storytelling strategy. What the heck is that? I teach people how to take stories from their life and curate them in such a way that they are memorable to whatever audience they are trying to reach, whether it be as large as a Ted Talk or as intimate as a one-on-one client meeting. When we are able to connect authentically, we are memorable, engaging and people root for us. It’s also more relaxing for the speaker to feel less “on-stage,” especially if you’re an introvert like me. I believe that everyone is funny, even though the first thing the majority of my clients say to me is, “But KT I’m not funny.” I love seeing their confidence grow when they realize yes they are, they just have to find it.

What’s the most important piece of advice you could give to a young woman just starting her career?
NETWORK HONEY AND ASK FOR ADVICE. I’ve been extremely fortunate to interact with some amazing people as I grow my business. I co-work out of Suite Spotte in La Grange and I literally call its co-founder, Sue Reardon, my work Mom. Jennifer Schlott-Rouzan of BMO Harris is my mentor through Chicago Innovations, and she’s an inspiration both personally and professionally. I belong to both Brazen Chicago and Creative Women’s Co., and I go to events at Ladies Room Chicago and EvolveHer. I also try to introduce people I think will be great fits, because you always want to push karma forward. That, and always write a handwritten thank you note.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:

Meghan Theodore, Haley McElwain, Taylor Barker, Jill Liebhaber

Getting in touch: VoyageChicago is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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