By Michael Gresham
The Texas Catholic
When it comes to discussing how her Catholic faith impacts her daily life, Katy Kiser relies on a fairly familiar and modern analogy: AirPods.
“I think of my Catholic faith as having both my AirPods operational,” said Kiser, explaining that while a single AirPod, in one ear, provides a good listening experience, that experience is diminished. The same can be said for one’s faith life. “While you can go through ‘life with one AirPod,’ you’re not getting the whole experience of what it means to be a child of God. For me, incorporating my faith into my work lets my life be fuller. It’s like having both AirPods — it gives you the whole experience.”
It was that desire to integrate her own Catholic faith into her everyday life that led Kiser to accept a position as the new director of communications for the Diocese of Dallas. And, now, she hopes to help others get the “whole experience” when it comes to welcoming God’s love into their lives.
“There’s so much opportunity to advance how we communicate to others and not just the faithful,” said Kiser, who assumed her new diocesan role on Nov. 7. “I am thrilled to be part of an exceptional team and have the opportunity to work with all those in our Catholic diocese.”
Kiser’s experience in communications, and in Catholic communications in particular, made her a natural fit for the position, said Diocesan Senior Director of Ministries Peter J. Ductrám.
“Katy brings a wealth of experience leading multi-national communications operations and corporate marketing,” Ductrám said. “She is a great addition to our diocese and to our Office of Ministries team.”
Ductrám said Kiser in her role as the director of communications will be responsible for the implementation of communication policy and programs that support the mission of the Church in Dallas. The communications director works under the direction of the senior director of ministries, exercising responsibility for the oversight and management of the daily activity of the diocesan communication function.
“I am confident that Katy will provide steady and organic leadership and oversight of the diocesan communications initiatives,” Ductrám said.
Guided by faith
Kiser is an award-winning strategic communications professional with more than 20 years of experience in the field. She comes to the diocese after spending the past seven years as the communications director for CHRISTUS Health System, a Catholic, not-for-profit system made up of more than 600 centers, including urgent care facilities, community hospitals, physician clinics, health insurance companies and other health ministries. Prior to her work at CHRISTUS Health, Kiser worked in broadcast journalism as a television news anchor in Tallahassee, Fla., and Corpus Christi, Texas.
“My faith has always formed the way I look at the world, and I’ve been fortunate to be able to work in communication fields that give back to others — whether it was my time in television news telling the stories of others in need or working in health care at CHRISTUS Health telling the stories of how Catholic health care offers compassionate care and advanced medicine to so many regardless of their background or ability to pay,” Kiser said. “Dignity and integrity are important values to me. Working in Catholic communication right now in this present day we get to live out those core values and not only is that positive, it is a real privilege.”
For Kiser, her work with the diocese provides an opportunity to help others connect to the Catholic faith in a meaningful way as well as help the faithful embrace Bishop Edward J. Burns’ vision for the Diocese of Dallas.
“I find Bishop Burns and the leadership team at the Catholic diocese to be exceptionally positive, approachable and transparent,” she said. “They believe in truth and moving us forward and that calls to me and should call out to all of us who are passionate about sharing the Good News.”
To successfully share that Good News, Kiser said the diocese cannot be dependent on one communication source.
“There are so many avenues across our digital landscape, on social media, video news releases, podcasts, The Texas Catholic and through our public relations initiatives,” Kiser explained. “It is exciting to fine-tune our work and be responsive and modern in our approach to internal and external communication so as to best support our ministries, parishes, schools, and all our entities.”
When it comes to communications, Kiser admits she is passionate about having a “good strategy.”
“I want to sort through the clutter, avoid obstacles and determine the best way forward,” she said. “A good communication plan for our team will mean a good communication plan for all those we serve. We are here to help enrich the lives of those we serve by offering them communication tools and access to information that makes their lives easier, more engaging and enriching.”
Kiser believes a good communication plan involves storytelling and bringing things to life.
“Our work as communication professionals means we should be engaging and offer vivid images, examples, and metaphors to help others understand what it might mean to be Catholic in the 21st century,” she said. “My hope as I take on this new role is that this strategy won’t be just rewarding for us as communication professionals but also for those in the pews and anyone extending the ministry of Jesus Christ throughout the communities we serve.”
Kiser grew up in Dallas, attending Bishop Lynch High School. She attended Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri, earning a bachelor’s degree in mass communications while graduating with honors. She received her Master of Arts degree from Texas A&M University at Corpus Christi. Kiser and her son, Ethan, are parishioners at St. Monica Catholic Church in Dallas, where he is also a seventh grader at St. Monica Catholic School.