Kate Purchase: The Woman Behind the Man Who Has Everything

February 13 - Sarah Ashlock


The other day, I had a conversation with a girlfriend about how someone’s personality can either make them 10x sexier or 10x grosser. If you’ve got Ryan Gosling’s bod and Peter Griffin’s personality, don’t even look at me. That’s why if you’re a straight woman with a pulse, chances are your heart flutters a little when you see Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Speaking up for women’s rights? Now that’s attractive. Women deserve safety and equal pay and men should be “equal partners” to fight against gender inequality? Oh, tell me more, Justin. There’s a ridiculous saying that nice guys finish last, but I think it should be, “Feminist guys will always finish first.”


One of the ideas that Justin Trudeau called out in a recent speech is the BS of hiring and promotion practices. Did you know that women only make up 25 percent of senior-level positions? It’s been shown that gender diversity can increase problem solving, probably because a diverse team is often a more collaborative one. Women have also demonstrated excellent mentorship. Overall, companies see an increase in profitability with more female hires. I’m convinced.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Kate Purchase, Executive Director of Communications and Planning for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

While so much of a public servant is genuine to his or her personality, a great deal of what they say and do reflects the team that does the behind-the-scenes stuff. Kate Purchase is that behind-the-scenes gal, but not for long. As the executive director of communications and planning for Justin Trudeau, Kate has helped create the buzz that surrounds the prime minister.

If you’ve ever watched the popular political TV series Veep, you know how one’s team can either make or break a position. There are constant threats to the position of communications director. In Canada, no communications director has lasted a full four years since 1999. One former prime minister went through nine directors, as the position often receives a lot of public backlash.

It’s also a job that leads to quick burnout, with six-or-so days a week at anywhere between 12-18 grueling hours each day. But, Kate is proving to be unlike any “man” behind the man. Justin chose wisely when he hired her, as she led the viral and ultimately successful messaging for his 2015 campaign. She’s a trained Shakespearean actress, which gives her unusual insight on speech variations and emphases.

Back in college, Kate underwent successful chemotherapy for a rare form of endocrinal cancer and, at the same time, lost her cousin to neuroendocrine cancer. While Kate’s everyday life would stress out even the most energetic woman, family is essential to her sanity. She’s a first-time mother who gave birth to a healthy baby in 2018 and took maternity leave.

You know that saying, the one about how absence makes the heart grow fonder? Though it’s usually reserved for romance, in the case of Kate, it’s about her career. You see, in 2015, Trudeau didn’t necessarily see Kate being a part of his long-term plan. It wasn’t until she went on vacation that her team realized all the ways in which she held the campaign together.

Let Kate convince you to take those vacation days. Remind your colleagues and boss just how much you do around the workplace. Hey, you might even return with more than a tan, maybe even a promotion waiting for you.


Author Diane Mariechild said:

"A woman is the full circle. Within her is the power to create, nurture and transform."

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