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Kate Van Akin

Senior Client Communication Expert, London
Guides leaders of corporations across the globe on all aspects of engaging employees in change

About Kate

Kate coleads McKinsey’s transformation and communications work. Her multifaceted role includes working with senior leaders to develop their change stories, partnering with communication directors to develop and implement communication strategies, designing and running workshops on change management and communication skills, and engaging influencers within organizations to enable change at scale.

As an American expat who has worked across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa for the past 15 years, Kate is experienced in adapting communication styles for different organizational and national cultures.

Kate’s recent client projects include the following:

  • providing end-to-end change support for a global transformation of a €7 billion consumer-goods company. The initiative included coaching the CEO and senior executives to develop compelling change stories; partnering with the head of communications on an overall engagement strategy; developing change strategies for an operations transformation and functional consolidation; and designing a six-month change leadership training cascaded to hundreds of employees
  • coaching senior leadership teams at an international insurance company and a global renewable-energy company to align on a core change narrative and develop personalized change stories
  • partnering with the communication director at a regional manufacturer to design the communication strategy for a large-scale reorganization
  • designing and launching a 400-person change-agent network at a global energy company

Before joining McKinsey, Kate worked at both King & Spalding and Baker Botts in Dubai and is an inactive member of the New York State Bar. She is a certified integral development coach and a qualified practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Company’s MBTI Step I, the Realise2 strengths survey, and Kilmann Diagnostic’s TKI conflict modes tool.

Published work

Losing from day one: Why even successful transformations fall short,” McKinsey & Company, December 2021

How to communicate effectively in times of uncertainty,” McKinsey & Company, June 2020

A leader’s guide: Communicating with teams, stakeholders, and communities during COVID-19,” McKinsey & Company, April 2020


Harvard Law School
JD, negotiation and mediation, Islamic law

Boston University
BA, international relations and business administration