Spotlight: Kt McBratney, Co-Founder & Chief Brand Officer at OwnTrail

Meet Kt McBratney, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer at Owntrail. Owntrail is a network in which womxn are encouraged to share their stories, inspire others and create meaningful connections. I met Kt last year as I was launching the first version of  Romp + Tumble and loved her passion for what she was building. I was so inspired, I even went on and built my own trail late one night! If you are looking for a place to share your own journey, and be motivated by others, check out OwnTrail here and create your trail!

Tell us a little about yourself 

I’m the Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer at OwnTrail, the peer support system for women centered on the authentic sharing of our unique paths through life. I’m a marketer, strategist, connector, visual artist and toddler mom currently based in Seattle. I love horror movies, discovering local indie bookstores, the Muppets and a great cheeseburger!

Why did you start OwnTrail?

The idea for OwnTrail came from my cofounder Rebekah as she thought about a digital launch for her book, Blaze Your Own Trail. The book is “choose-your-own-journey” style, with 19 different endings, and she thought it would be cool to have an author website that allowed you explore these different paths. But even that was limiting, since there are infinite right paths for women’s lives! That’s where OwnTrail as we know it was born. It was around this time that I met Rebekah at an event for our mutual friend Sarah’s company, Chairman Mom. I’d been struggling to find my people since relocating to Seattle and becoming a mom, but I thought she was super interesting and asked her out on a friend date! That’s when she shared this seed of an idea, and I was hooked! Not only did we become fast friends, but in a matter of a couple months I was officially in as a co-founder.

While I wasn’t looking to start a company at the time, the power of building something where women could own their stories and make meaningful, authentic connection was too big for me to ignore. I cofounded OwnTrail because helping women realize their power can literally change the world. 

Who is Owntrail for?

OwnTrail centered on women’s authentic journeys, and that’s women in the most inclusive sense possible (cisgender women, trans women and non-binary inclusive!). But what I think is truly remarkable about the OwnTrail community is the mindset. OwnTrail is for people looking for something more than the social media “perfect.” It’s for women supporting women. It’s for people who are tired of worrying about “the right path” and ready to embrace their unique path including their accomplishments, obstacles they’ve faced and how they’ve navigated the personal and professional twists and turns of life.

What’s your “why?” 

My “why” is all about disrupting the status bro. Challenging and changing the dehumanizing norms of business that surround us is what drives me personally and professionally. Part of this comes from my life experiences, including burnout, toxic relationships and witnessing the impact of profit over people practices. The other part comes from my lifelong learning about the systems at play in our world. (I studied journalism in college, and that curiosity and penchant for asking hard questions never left me!) Ultimately, I want to put more lasting good in the world every day, even if it’s just a tiny bit. It all counts to make a big difference.

How has COVID been for you as a parent? 

I’ve yet to meet a parent who hasn’t dealt with their fair share of pandemic-related challenges, but moving through those together as a family has really proven how resilient and loving we can be. While my partner and I are privileged to have had fairly flexible schedules to accommodate sudden changes in (or absence of) childcare prior to 2020, we’ve taken a closer look at our relationships to work and family life. I’ve unlearned a lot around trying to optimize every moment and be more present — both with my kiddo and with my work! That’s something I cherish and am working hard to hold onto as we embark on this new normal.

Parenting during a pandemic helped me raise my volume on advocating for systemic change in parental leave, childcare and education. I honestly don’t know how parents with multiple school-aged children have made it through this — they have my absolute respect!

What about 2021 excites you? 

I’m excited for what I don’t know to be excited about yet for 2021! There’s so much in flux right now, and so much opportunity for change and beauty ahead of us. After more than a year of stagnation and constraint, the potential of 2021 has me buzzing with anticipation.

I’m also really excited for warm days spent barefoot outside with my kid. Bring on the sunshine!

Is there a quote or book that inspires you? 

I’m a borderline book hoarder, so I love this question! I always, always find something meaningful when I revisit Jennifer Armbrust’s Proposals for the Feminine Economy. But this quote from one of my personal heroes, Jim Henson, has been top of mind lately: 

"The attitude you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from more than what you tell them. They don't remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are."

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