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A politically charged upbringing brought Katie Burns, 37, to her career as a legislative strategist for CenturyLink Inc., a telecom that supplies broadband and landline communications in rural areas.
"It was kind of a natural progression for me," she said. "I wanted to be involved in the political world — not in politics, but in the political world."
Before joining CenturyLink almost nine years ago, Burns worked for Public Strategies Inc. in Austin, which was her first job out of college.
At CenturyLink, Burns manages all legislative and regulatory pieces of business for the company in Arkansas and Oklahoma.
"Regulations are changing at warp speed," she said. "I'm making sure the company is well represented as those changes occur."
Through her time at CenturyLink, the company has gone through two mergers, acquiring Embarq Corp. of Overland Park, Kan., and Qwest Communications International Inc. of Denver. With each merger, Burns' responsibilities increased.
"We have staff changes, people moving in and out, people moving all over the place," she said. "Fortunately for me, I've had amazing bosses at every turn."
One boss she especially credits is Bill Maddox, a public strategist who convinced her to move to Texas.
Maddox, Burns said, "was the one that molded me as a person. He taught me the basics, anything from talking points to checking for details to paying attention to details."
Burns sits on the Arkansas Broadband Council and is also on Connect Arkansas' board of directors.
"My biggest job is relationships — following through, following up, staying true to my word," she said.