OUR STORY

KATHY WEBER-BATES, FOUNDER & PRESIDENT

Our founder, Kathy Weber-Bates, is the product of the American Dream and the Peace Corps.

She was born on a small family ranch in the Bitterroot Valley, the daughter of a hard-working forester and a first generation immigrant from the South Pacific Islands.

 

The neighboring rancher cut her umbilical cord. She grew up playing in dirt, curious about everything and inspired by the work ethic of her parents and ancestors from the Pasifika islands of Rotuma and Samoa. Thanks to encouragement from her family, Kathy became the first person in her family to earn a master’s degree studying broadcast journalism and political science. Today, Kathy draws upon more than 20 years of experience as an award-winning journalist, political strategist, campaign advisor and business consultant to add firepower to her clients’ capacity. She's a trusted ally for small businesses, corporations, cooperatives, professional associations, non-profits, major events and organizations who value her ability to get the job done right. 

Kathy and her husband Joe are blessed to be raising their children in Western Montana. Their family can be found exploring the rivers, lakes and mountains around the West when they're not at the hockey rink or the fastpitch fields cheering on the kids.

 

As a passion project to honor her Rotuman heritage, Kathy has teamed up with Jonathan Fong (videographer, photographer & digital design expert) to launch The Rotuma Project. Learn more >>>

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OUR HERITAGE

 

Every day, we wake up hoping to do two things: to share stories that matter and to make the world a better place in the process. 

OUR MISSION

 

We believe businesses and organizations succeed because of soul, not spin. We believe public relations, done right, is about genuine storytelling delivered in the most compelling way possible. Our mission is to help our clients make more meaningful connections with the people they serve. 

OUR APPROACH

 

We take pride in seamlessly adding capacity, insight and firepower to your team. We specialize in building strategic communications roadmaps for small businesses, corporations, non-profits and major events with built-in capacity and experience to know that even the best laid plans will need to prepare for rapid-response and crisis communications.

 

We’re nimble. 

 

And, when it’s time for the rubber to hit the road, we offer the tactical deliverables including editorial, copywriting, design, web, digital, radio, video, print, social, earned and paid media – all coordinated to fulfill your strategic communications plan. 

OUR EXPERIENCE

Starhitch partners with businesses and organizations to tell their stories in a way that better connects them to the people they serve. We move beyond the news cycle and take pride in both reinforcing and reinventing brands and reputations.

 

Kathy was named one of the “20 Under 40” entrepreneurs making a splash in the business world in Montana. She was also invited to serve as a keynote speaker for the Public Relations Society of America Montana chapter to share best practices in storytelling for public relations professionals.

In her role directing communications and public relations for the Red Ants Pants Music Festival, the event has enjoyed multiple years of record attendance and media coverage.

 

For other clients, Kathy has developed crisis communications planning, rapid response and creative marketing initiatives resulting in triple digit percentage sales increases.

Prior to launching her public relations firm, Kathy served as communications director, speechwriter, and spokeswoman for Montana’s longest serving U.S. Senator and former U.S. Ambassador to China, Max Baucus. She worked with a diverse coalition of Montanans in building and implementing a robust communications plan to support the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act.

 

Kathy co-produced Senator Baucus’s Montana Economic Development Summits in Butte, America. The 4,000+ attendee business conferences featured Google’s Eric Schmidt, Elon Musk of Tesla, and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. 

 

As an award-winning journalist and adjunct professor at the University of Montana’s School of Journalism, Kathy is a respected media relations expert with close personal relationships among influential media gatekeepers. She draws on her experiences in the media, politics, and policy-making to help her clients develop and implement ambitious, forward-thinking, creative, and winning communications strategies. 

 
 
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Photo: Starhitch Founder, Kathy Weber-Bates with Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook Chief Operating Officer

A WORD FROM OUR CLIENTS

Marne Hayes,

Business for Montana's Outdoors Executive Director

I worked for many years with Kathy on important - and sometimes time sensitive - advocacy work that required attention to detail, accurate media outreach, and strategic messaging through a variety of publicity outlets. Her communications skills, professionalism, and diligent follow through make her public relations skills top notch. She is a joy to work with, equal parts talent and experience, someone I will always welcome to any project.  

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Sarah Calhoun,

Red Ants Pants Founder & Owner

The day Starhitch came on board was a major turning point for our company. Kathy's depth of experience, creativity, and professionalism are unparalleled. She has a keen understanding of how to tell a genuine story, and has the connections and reputation to appropriately engage the media  Kathy has proven herself time and time again to be at the top of her game. She is always willing to tackle new challenges, is a joy to work with, and works effectively under tight timelines.

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Charlie Beaton,

Big Dipper Ice Cream

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I’ve worked with Starhitch on a number of projects over the years and have always been impressed with Kathy's poise and work ethic. Having worked in the media for many years, it’s clear that reporters respect her and the material she produces. She’s a pro and I’d trust her to do an excellent job on any public relations, media relations or communications project.