Go small. Go big.All big business started as a small business. Every big idea started as, well, no idea at all. Roundtable is a small business with big world ideas. Simple things like, believing in our clients. Helpful things like being honest and direct. Crazy things like believing one woman, one man, can indeed make a dent in the universe. Innovators rock. Start-ups are cool. And small is smart.
Brand is truth well told and a promise kept. It is a unique and unparalleled experience delivered to every customer, in every transaction. Building a strong brand requires a clear vision and an unwavering sense of purpose.Katherine Wright
Charting a course requires two sets of coordinates: your current position and your destination. Brand strategy accurately maps both points, then charts the most effective course between them.Larret Wright
Katherine is one of those left-brain + right-brain people, equally comfortable with science and art; accounting and anatomy; Excel and Photoshop; the boardroom and design studio. She is a driven entrepreneur, talented art director, skilled media planner and trusted brand consultant.
She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Biomedical Communications at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Applied Health Sciences, then worked as a certified medical illustrator at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She illustrated everything from penguin anatomy to surgical procedures to cutting-edge research findings. As a freelancer, she illustrated textbooks and journal articles covering topics including strength training, biology and epidemiology.
She started Roundtable in 1993 as an MBA student at University of Illinois. Katherine, the founding president of Illinois Women in Business Association, established herself as an innovative team leader when she teamed with Illinois business school colleague, Sean Chou, to produce the Internet’s first business school website.
At the ’94 Graduate Management Admissions Council Conference, Dean Paul Magelli presented their work. Then, in true open source fashion, freely distributed their code to the group, along with copies of NCSA Mosaic v1.0, the graphical web browser that sparked the Internet revolution.
Following her graduation in ‘95, Katherine focused on growing Roundtable’s team, and building the operations and infrastructure necessary for growth. It didn’t take long for word to spread. Within 18-months, Roundtable’s customers included NASA, Lockheed Martin, SAIC and a long list of tech start-ups, research labs and medical organizations.
Katherine guided Roundtable to success during the Internet boom, and through adversity during the Internet bust. Her acquisition of a regional advertising agency enhanced Roundtable’s capabilities and opened new markets, attracting clients in banking, healthcare and manufacturing.
Today, Roundtable is a Small + Smart member of The Brand Establishment agency network. As a Certified Brand Strategist, Katherine is committed to her clients’ success and passionate about building brand-driven businesses.
Katherine is a member of Champaign West Rotary, former chair of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and currently serves on Countryside School’s board of directors.
Larret is the visionary leader and creative thinker who leads Roundtable’s Brand Intelligence program. His passion is helping clients tap into the unrealized value of their brand. He calls this, being brand-driven. Larret’s gift is the ability to see all the incongruous parts, piece them together, and craft them into a cohesive whole; and then to communicate it clearly and directly.
As a student, he attended Indiana State University on a science track, but quickly discovered a hidden talent for public speaking and shifted his focus to communications, speech and writing. He maintained his interest in science by taking courses in physics, astronomy, oceanography, geology, anthropology and computer science.
After graduating, he briefly operated Champaign’s historic Orpheum Theater, where he learned projection and sound while booking classic, foreign and independent films by night, and writing by day.
In 1989, Larret was accepted as a writer-in-residence at Michigan State University’s Clarion Writers Workshop. He studied with authors Thomas M. Disch, Karen Joy Fowler, Octavia E. Butler, Spider Robinson, Kate Wilhelm and Damon Knight.
Following Clarion, he joined Human Kinetics Publishers as a book editor developing projects on biomechanics, kinesiology, sports medicine, health and fitness. He led the development of HK’s first software project, “Gait Analysis Laboratory” with author Kit Vaughan, and developed “Child Health, Nutrition and Physical Activity” with former U.S. Surgeon General, Julius B. Richmond.
After the successful launch of the first Illinois MBA website in 1993, Larret encouraged Katherine to form an Internet startup, and in 1995 joined her full-time as Roundtable’s creative director.
Larret has led the creation of innovative brand platforms for Fortune 500 companies (Lockheed Martin, John Deere and CAT), high-tech startups (Geomagic and Epiworks), closely held family enterprises (Traco Labs, Clifford Jacobs Forging), regional health systems (Memorial Health System and Hospital Sisters Health System), national youth organizations (Drum Corps International) and international manufacturers (North American Lighting and the IMT Group).
We have history. And a lot of stories to tell. But let’s not go there right now.
The point is, we’ve worked with visionary CEO’s out to change the world, and we’ve worked with stressed out marketing directors just trying to make it through each day.
We have helped organizations that run like clockwork (rare) and we’ve tried to help companies that have a habit of changing focus on a quarterly basis.
Some of our clients have been in business over 100 years. Some are start-ups working on getting their first round of venture capital.
The common denominator is that a strong, well-articulated brand can help each one of these people and organizations grow, prosper and fulfill their missions.
This is not an easy path—it requires commitment and hard work—but we believe that small and mid-size organizations can build brands equal in strength to global corporations. They can dominate their markets, increase profits (or for non-profits, the ability to do good), have happy, productive employees, loyal customers, and a clear vision and path to the future.
That’s the power of brand development. And we can help you get there.