Meet the VIC Mentors
Katrina Khao

Katrina Khao

Katrina Khao

Head Brand Thinker, Thinkerbell

Katrina (she/her) has had a colourful journey in the world of marketing comms, having held roles in almost every discipline, which has made her an extremely considered but curious strategist. Over the last few years, Katrina has been helping brands find their own path at Thinkerbell where she heads up strategy for some of the largest accounts in the agency. Katrina is a quiet but powerful force who quietly bends the world to be more open, both strategically and intellectually, but also to help people embrace diversity more and others to overcome whatever adversity they may find.

Career & Background

What inspired you to do what you are doing now?

To be honest, not knowing what I wanted to do and just figuring it out via trial and error has led me here. Over a decade in the game, and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up!

What was your journey and where are you headed in your career right now?

I’ve been abit all over the place in my career, I kind of fell into the industry because I had no idea what I wanted to do so I just did a bachelor of arts. I’ve gone from working in executional areas of communications (PR, events, digital) to building a new product in an agency. I’ve also been a Future Lions judge, B&T WIM 2023 Strategy Finalist and now a brand strategist.

In terms of where I’m heading in my career, I’m just kind of staying still for the next year or so at the moment, as I’ve just come off a sabbatical, before I figure out my next direction.

Your favourite food for thought


  • Books aren’t probably what I’d recommend for a career crossroads, I’d recommend some kind of real-life experience depending what the cross roads are.

Podcasts / Thought Leaders

  • Pivot – Kara Swisher & Scott Galloway
  • Any of the daily news (today explained, the daily NYT, ABC etc)
  • Black T-Shirts – Brent Smart & Adam Ferrier

What drives and inspires you

What are your core values?

  • Humour
  • Self-respect
  • Trust

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

This is going to sound abit sad and/or childish, but ironically my mum is probably my biggest inpso (ironic because we don’t have the greatest relationship). Whenever I think I’ve got it tough, I just think about my mum who came to Australia as a young teen, with her family, who were fleeing the Khmer Rouge and had to restart their lives here.

She is a fierce woman, who is annoyingly determined and ambitious, and nothing is impossible for that woman (except knowing how to not answer her phone on loud speaker)


You as a Mentor

Why have you decided to become a mentor?

It’s something I’ve always done informally throughout my career, and something I’d like to now formalise as time has become more of a scarce resource in my life, because being a mentor has always given me a lot of joy.

What are the top 5 skills or qualities you bring to mentoring?

  • Asking powerful questions
  • Direct
  • Empathic
  • Intuitive
  • Non-judgemental

Ready to apply?

The best time is right now. Take a chance – you never know where an Assisterhood mentor can take you.