The Hagerty Advantage: Our People: Katie Freeman and Tori Abbott
Here at Hagerty, we truly believe the advantage is our people. In honor of Women’s History Month, today we highlight two extraordinary female leaders in the field of professional emergency management that lead our Operations Team.
1. Tell us about yourself and how your career path led you to Hagerty Consulting.
Katie Freeman: After finishing my master’s program at the Heinz School at Carnegie Mellon, I was lucky to be offered my first choice job with the United States (US) Government Accountability Office (GAO). Working with GAO was wonderful, but I was looking for something that was a bit more challenging and taxing, and I started to look into consulting. What attracted me to Hagerty initially was our public sector focus – though I had no direct experience in emergency management, I was excited to be joining an organization where I would offer my time and talents to address critical issues in the public sector. Over my (close to) 14 years at Hagerty, I’ve served as a consultant, project manager, and was made the Director of Operations in 2014.
Tori Abbott: I graduated with a degree in Recreation and Parks Management from Frostburg State University, and after four years working for Baltimore County Government managing several regional parks and community recreation councils, I decided to make a change. Proposal development and management is something that appeals to my organized nature, as I am one of those rare birds that genuinely enjoys a good exercise in compliance. After working in both the Architectural/Engineering and Healthcare Data Analytics space, a former colleague reached out to me to tell me about this amazing company, Hagerty Consulting, and that I needed to meet Katie Freeman – the rest is history.
2. What do you find most rewarding about working in the field of emergency management?
Katie Freeman: The importance of our mission is what keeps me going and I cannot think of a more rewarding field to work in. With Hagerty, I’m also in the very lucky position to hear feedback from our clients about the impact of our teams. Those conversations remind me that what we are collectively working on is important with significant purpose
Tori Abbott: Knowing that what we do genuinely makes a difference in people’s lives. Period.
3. How does your work as an operations professional support the firm’s overall mission: helping people before, during, and after disasters?
Katie Freeman: As the Director of Operations and member of the Senior Leadership Team, I’m directly involved in Hagerty’s mission every day; and I feel that way about the Operations Team at large. Each project team is a customer of ours and it is our mission to support you as you support our clients.
As it applies to my position directly, I’m involved in our efforts to pursue and win work; collaborate with our project managers to comply with contract requirements; ensure my team has the right resources to support our project teams; and collaborate with the Senior Leadership Team during active response operations (among other duties). I am actively engaged across our mission areas – preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation — and do all that I can to ensure the firm has the right resources to fulfill our mission.
Tori Abbott: Often, Hagerty professionals are interacting with people on their worst days, on operations that can span anywhere from months to years. The work that our Operations Team does allows those project-dedicated individuals to do their jobs with minimal interruptions and ensures that we are always providing the best service to our clients.
4. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
Katie Freeman: I have just completed my first year as a Board Member for One Tail at a Time, an animal rescue organization in Chicago that works across the region to make pet ownership joyful and accessible while also supporting those pets who are already in homes via mutual aid and community veterinary programs. That has been occupying quite a bit of my free time! I also enjoy bowling and have been in a league for several years with a few Hagerty alums.
Tori Abbott: Spending time with my family and my critters!
Katie Freeman is an emergency management professional with extensive experience in training and exercises, disaster housing, capabilities assessments, and emergency planning. The breadth of her experience cuts a wide swath within emergency management, making her an ideal project manager for many types of assignments. As the Director of Operations for Hagerty, she is involved with nearly every client proposal and assignment.
Tori Abbott is an emergency management professional with 15 years of experience as a proposal manager and writer. As an Operations Manager for Hagerty, she oversees the proposal team, and leads proposal development and coordination. She is also formerly certified as a Wilderness First Responder and Search and Rescue in both cave and water rescue.