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Practitioner Spotlight--Katie Florio

September 8th, 2017

Name: Katie and her horse Hercules

Katie Florio


Chicago Office

Practice Area:

Health and Safety

Area of expertise:

Business development and client account leadership

Favorite Thing about Being a Consultant:

Learning about all different types of industries, meeting diverse groups of people, and discovering along the way that most clients share similar challenges. Helping clients solve big problems and keep their employees safe is the best thing about my job. 

What is a key ingredient for success as a consultant?

Listening more than you talk – which is something I have to work on every single day.  No matter how long you have worked in EHS, you should never assume you know the answer to every challenge a client has off the top of your head. Instead, take the time to really understand their situation by asking tons of questions, and then research what will work best for them. A great solution delivered slowly trumps a good solution delivered quickly every time. 

If someone at a party asks what you do, how to you respond?

When I tell people I am an environment health and safety consultant, and the response is usually something along the lines of “Oh, like OSHA?” To add to the confusion, my husband has no clue what I do either. To make things easier, I usually say I’m in consulting sales.  

What surprises people about your job?  

That I work in a scientific/engineering field, because people don’t necessarily perceive me as someone who would be very technical. If I ask people to guess, typically they think I’m in car sales or a realtor. I do have a degree in Occupational, Health, and Safety, as well as an MBA, and next fall I’ll be starting my doctoral program. I want to do in depth research about cultural cohesion and what drives true employee engagement. The fact that I am going for a doctorate tends to shock people, no one figures me for a PhD candidate.  

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? 

I wanted to be a pirate! Every year, I would dress up as Captain Hook for Halloween. My dad was an artist and he would make me these fabulous hook hands. I guess you could say even at a young age, I identified with charismatic rogue types. In some ways, I have achieved my pirate goal because I love to commandeer clients from other firms. 

Is there something unique that people might not know about you?

My husband and I are in the midst of restoring a mid-century modern house designed by Eichler, and I am very passionate about architecture and design. I also listen to classical music when I work. Many people may think I’m more of a heavy metal person, but classical music is my go-to. I am also an avid equestrienne and have a gigantic, but very gentle, horse named Hercules. I also have two dogs, a Boston Terrier and a French Bulldog. Their antics keep me smiling throughout the work day. 

If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?  

I would eat an Autobahn sandwich. When you drive on the Autobahn in Germany, there are a lot of little roadside stops. These sandwiches in particular are butter, hard salami, and a little bit of herbs, all on a Kaiser roll. Delicious! 


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