Chamber Insider Blog

Get to know the 2020 CLA Finalists! Katie Barchas Wilson, The Market Group

Congratulations to Katie Barchas Wilson of The Market Group for being a finalist in the Young Professional Leader category!

The 2020 Community Leadership Awards will be presented at the Annual Meeting on January 24, 2020 at The National Conference Center. This is an annual award given in five categories. Learn more here

What does community leadership mean to you/your business?

I believe in Servant Leadership.  I am passionately committed to improving the community in which I live and work, devoting my time and efforts to driving awareness, visibility, and growth to businesses, organizations, and individuals in Loudoun County.  As such, my success is intrinsically tied to the success of those I serve.

Share with us who/what your inspiration is in making giving back to the community a priority?

Service was a value instilled in me at a young age by my mother.  As a devout Catholic, she saw it as our Christian duty to help others.  I was raised with the belief that the greater the blessings we receive, the greater our obligation to give.

Growing up, I participated in a number of youth service programs, was President of my high school’s service club, volunteered at a runaway youth shelter during college, and even served as Co-Executive Director of a non-profit after I graduated.

From volunteerism to fundraising to philanthropy, my mother has inspired me to give.

What is your most proud moment in regards to community involvement?

This month, I’ll celebrate my eighth anniversary of the launch of the High-Heeled Happy Hours.  Through the High-Heeled Happy Hours and their offshoots, I’ve honored nearly 100 women for their outstanding accomplishments, and I’ve helped raise thousands of dollars for and brought awareness to a diverse array of local causes.  From childhood cancer to education to human welfare, I’ve worked diligently to give back and to inspire others to do the same.

My proudest moment came at our recent High-Heeled Holiday Party when I was able to award one of supporters with funds to start her own non-profit.  I came to the realization that I had built much more than an event series… I had built a community of support and a thriving platform that helps fuel the success of others.

How does giving back to the community affect your life?

In brief, giving back gives me purpose.  Late in 2018, my mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.  Two weeks later, my ex-husband and the father of my older two children was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.

Understanding that life is fleeting, I’ve worked even harder this year to increase my impact and build what I hope to be my legacy.  I have created new initiatives, launched new campaigns, and taken on several new roles… all enabling me to give more, grow more, and lead more. And in return, I’ve received an outpouring of support from the community I’ve served.

What advice would you give to someone who is interested in getting more involved in their community?

To quote Mother Teresa, “not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.”

Start small and by simply saying “yes.”

What is a leadership tip or mantra to live by?

Lift others as you climb.


Thank you to Katie for answering our questions! Congratulations to all of the Community Leadership Award finalists.