Senior General Manger, General Growth Properties – Age: 33
Working as an intern at Famous Barr Department Stores in St. Louis during the summer of 1995, Kate Essing started climbing the corporate ladder to success. In 1996, upon graduating cum laude from the University of Missouri with a degree in marketing, Essing took a job with Famous Barr as a buyer. In 2000 she returned to Columbia to join General Growth Properties as a marketing director for Columbia Mall.
By 2002 Essing was group marketing manager of General Growth Properties and became group vice president of marketing in 2003. In 2005 she had reached her current position of senior general manger and became a licensed broker-salesperson for Missouri in 2006, upon completion of Career Visions Real Estate School.
Essing is a member of Metro Rotary, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce Education Committee and Early Childhood Subcommittee, the University of Missouri Marketing Advisory Board and the TRYPS (Theater Reaching Young People and Schools) board of directors. She has volunteered with the Phoenix Programs capital fund-raiser, the Ronald McDonald House, and the MU Professor for a Day and Making Me Marketable programs.
Essing and her husband, Blake, have two sons, Alex and Andrew. The Essings are members of the Columbia Country Club and the Broadway Christian Church, where Kate teaches Sunday school. They stay active in education through volunteer work for Fairview Elementary School and The Academy of Fine Arts and Early Childhood Learning.
“Columbia needs to offer more programming and venues for our young people that are engaging, relevant and affordable,” said Essing. “Our population surge has resulted in too little for young people to do, which has overflowed into places of business and cultural events, such as Twilight Festival.”
Essing said she believes that Columbia youth could also benefit from safe and secure facilities, such as a YMCA, senior high programming and a mentoring program.