iTheme’s Content Wrangler on loving a challenge, staying true to yourself, and encouraging others.
Kathryn Lang was born and raised in a small town in North Alabama. “If you are looking at a map,” she says, “the Tennessee River dips into Alabama. Guntersville Lake is the dip of the Tennessee River.” Lang grew up swimming, skiing, and riding her horse around the lake. Even though she’s the daughter of a former beauty queen, hers was an athletic upbringing. As a high school student, she played varsity basketball, volleyball, baseball, and ran track. “My parents encouraged me to find my own way and be true to myself,” she says. “My mom let go of her dream to have a girly girl when I used my canopy bed as monkey bars.”
Despite her love for the outdoors and athletics, words have always been Lang’s passion. “I finally had the opportunity to pursue that passion when I began writing for a regional newspaper, The Huntsville Times.” Lang began finding online writing gigs as a freelancer and launched her first website on WordPress in 2006. “Once I found the online connections, I never stopped. From books, to blogs, to podcasts, to Livestream, to WordCamps—if there is a place where I can share words, then I’m there!”
Lang began working as a freelance writer in 2005, mostly writing answers on forums. At first, she took on topics she felt secure in, like homeschooling and gardening, but her husband soon challenged her to write in other areas. “You can write about anything for 15 words,” he told her. Soon, Lang was writing full-time and developing forums, blogs, and eBook content for clients.
Over the next several years, Lang found creative ways to balance homeschooling three boys, writing for clients, and creating her brand. “Along the way, it was important to me to maintain a focus on having fun, making friends, and finding ways to be relentlessly helpful. After all, it is all about relationships.”
It was an investment in relationships that led Lang to iThemes and Liquid Web. “Nathan Ingram, who is an instructor for iThemes Training, and I had connected through WordCamp Birmingham – “WP Y’all.” So when he heard about the position on the marketing team led by Kristen Wright, Nathan just knew it was custom designed for me,” she says. Ingram was right. From the beginning of her time at iThemes, Lang has appreciated the company’s focus on, as she says, “making people’s lives awesome.”
Lang serves as iTheme’s Content Wrangler. “On many days, I feel it’s a perfect description,” she says. “Some days, I’m creating content. Other days I’m lassoing content from others. It’s always exciting capturing and sharing words, no matter which day it is. It’s my job to share words to entertain, educate, or engage—hopefully, a little of all three.”
The role is a perfect fit for Lang, a natural-born encourager. “Picture a rainbow tornado, and you have summed me up in a meme,” she says. “If I can make you smile, or even better—laugh—then I have planted a seed of encouragement that I hope will grow and spread.”
Lang loves to learn new things almost as much as she loves a challenge. “I wrote my first book because I participated in the National Novel Writing Month. The challenges can be external or internal, but having a challenge dares me to push beyond where I am to where I want to be,” she says. In addition to the support of her husband, Lang attributes her success to her focus on faith.
In the warmer months, Lang loves swimming and soaking up vitamin D. In cooler weather, she enjoys a good book. “I’ve been known to start and finish a book in a weekend.” In all seasons, she loves spending time with her friends and family.
When talking with younger women, Lang challenges them to envision the life they want and then find ways to make it happen. “My one piece of advice is to set your eyes on what you dare to be, dream bigger than you ever imagined possible, and then keep moving bit by bit until you get there.” Lang believes that the future for women in tech is whatever women want it to be. “That’s the best part of this moment,” she says. “You get to make it what you want to make it.”
About the AuthorMore Content by Jackie Cowan