Walking a Mile in Her Comfy Shoes

profile-katy

This alumna is exactly where she wants to be.

It’s been only 11 years since Katy Lachky Michael, JO’03, graduated from Drake, but she’s made those years count. Now living and working in Boulder, Colorado—which boasts 300 sunny days a year, a good match to her genial disposition—Lachky Michael has her dream job: vice president of global communications for Crocs, Inc. Yes, those Crocs.

“I never wore a pair of Crocs before getting this job,” Lachky Michael confesses. “But now I probably have more than 100 pairs.”

Lachky Michael became the youngest vice president ever at Crocs when she landed the job two years ago at age 31. She oversees public relations, internal communications, social media, and corporate social responsibility efforts for the billion-dollar brand that sells shoes in 90 countries.

She is no stranger to working with globally known brands; her résumé includes work at retailer Build-A-Bear Workshop and FleishmanHillard, a public relations and marketing agency whose client list features big names, such as Procter & Gamble, General Motors, AT&T, and Barnes & Noble.

“She is simply unflappable,” says Jill Van Wyke, assistant professor of journalism. “I think much of her success today is due to that resilience and ability to roll with life’s punches.”

While she credits much of her success to a Drake education, it was an experience beyond academics that cemented Drake’s place in Lachky Michael’s heart.

“I was lucky to be at Drake during the sickest time of my life,” says Lachky Michael, who was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease during her sophomore year and subsequently had 75 percent of her small intestine removed. “My professors really cared about me; they visited me in the hospital, even took me to the hospital. They were my advocates and made sure I kept up with my courses. They treated me like I mattered. If I had gone anywhere else for college, who knows if I would’ve graduated?”

But she did and is now exactly where she wants to be. While her high-profile position comes with its fair share of pressures, Lachky Michael loves the laid-back environment at Crocs headquarters. The company emphasizes fun—boasting a casual dress code, Crocs required—and community; Lachky Michael helps lead efforts to donate hundreds of thousands of the brightly colored shoes each year.

But she insists her success is the rule, not the exception among Drake graduates.

“Everybody at Drake has an amazing story,” she says. “I don’t know what the magic is, but it’s an education that will take you far in life.”

—Alyssa Young

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