10/2/2017 5:19:00 AM Where are they now?: Katelyn (Heighway) Elliot
By Hayli Goode For HSJ Online
The Heighway name may sound familiar to you. Doug Heighway -- or Mr. Heighway, as his students only referred to him -- served as Hauser's Guidance Counselor for 14 years. His advice for life pre- and post-graduation impacted approximately the entire town of Hope and beyond including his own daughter.
Katelyn Heighway, now Katelyn Elliot after marrying Daniel Elliot in November 2015, graduated from Hauser in 2007. She went on to study tourism and communication and event management at IUPUI.
"My career path was far from what a guidance counselor's kid would typically choose, but straight out of high school, I had NO idea what I really thought I wanted to do."
Elliot ended up taking a semester away from IUPUI to attend Purdue University, only to go back to IUPUI the very next semester. She admitted the journey was scary at the time, but ultimately got her to where she is today: Event Sales Manager at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
And yes, with that title, Elliot has had the opportunity to meet a lot of recognizable names.
"This is everyone's question," said Elliot. "I won't leave you hanging on who I've met - Jo Walker Meador, who we recently lost, Dan + Shay, Dierks Bentley, Jim Lauderdale, Brandy Clark, Mark Chesnutt, Lonestar -- to name a few."
Elliot said she always wanted to do something in sports or music, so she started exploring opportunities. In her current role, she is responsible for booking vendors for private events. Between celebrities and internal events, it can add up to 300+ events a week.
The Surprising Little Town of Hope doesn't too often feature Lonestar or Dan + Shay playing at the bandstand, but Elliot says the town prepared her for life in a big city, and even for her current position.
"I feel like I was given some great opportunities in my time at Hauser that set me up for my career now. Being president of Student Council and being selected for Girls State really helped my leadership style and giving me the confidence to take a chance on such an opportunity," said Elliot.
Which is the same advice she would give to current students. Elliot recommends taking opportunities in high school and college to practice leadership and step outside of comfort zones.
Most importantly, Elliot says to explore - both career paths and cities. Before heading off to Nashville, her time at Purdue University was a stepping stone between Hope and Nashville. "If there is a city you want to explore, take a weekend and explore it! A company you love, never hurts to apply for a job and share your passion with them," she said. "Follow your path and be willing to follow the twists and turns because they will eventually lead you somewhere that you never realized would be YOU."