I first met Katie Moosmann ’13 through my friend and Katie’s boyfriend, Rob Selway ’07 (MBA ’10). After I found out she worked at Houzz, I realized we had so many more mutual connections. It’s amazing how many degrees of separation Chapman takes you. Katie and I are both huge travelers, love to give back and love our Chapman Family, so it’s easy to see why we connected!

Shauna Parisi ’11: Tell us about your career. What does a day on the job entail?

Katie Moosmann ’13: I currently manage the merchandising team at Houzz. Houzz is a platform for home remodeling and design that brings homeowners and home professionals together in a unique visual community. My team works hard to specifically build shop content for our marketplace. If you are looking to update your home with new furniture and decor, or are merely shopping for the best deals on home furnishings, our Houzz marketplace is a great place to start. The team I oversee is responsible for all of the curated buying guides and major sale events featured in our Shop Houzz newsletters. Fun fact: one-third of our merchandising team is from Chapman. Go Panthers!

SP: Why did this type of work originally interest you and how did you get started?

KM: When at Chapman, I did not have a specific career path in mind. I loved learning about communication studies and art, however, it wasn’t until I started working in sales that I felt inspired and could see the power of my degree unfold. I started at Houzz as an account coordinator, introducing the professional community to the site and signing them up with free profiles. I had the ability to talk to anyone and present information in different ways to see success. I was able to communicate in a clear, efficient and persistent way that did not always come as easily to others.

While I loved sales, when Houzz developed its marketplace and needed to hire its first merchandiser, I jumped at the opportunity to work in a role that would allow me to make more creative decisions. Understanding key elements of design is very important in merchandising and I would not have been prepared for this role if it was not for the classes I took at Chapman to fulfill my minor in art. Nearly three years after starting at Houzz, I am now managing a team of 17 and could not imagine doing anything else.

SP: What part of your job do you find most satisfying? Most challenging?

KM: The most satisfying part of my job is seeing the impact that our team can have on the vendors and sellers who have their products on our marketplace. While it is always great to see the team hit sales goals, it feels even better to receive positive feedback from the professionals on Houzz who are seeing success through the content we are building. We have seen vendors’ and sellers’ businesses explode due to specific product features by our merchandisers. It is extremely satisfying to see a small decision on our part translate into a big business opportunity for another. Our greatest challenge is sifting through massive amounts of information that constantly changes, so that we can make the best data-driven decisions on what products to feature.

SP: What are your highest aspirations?

KM: Professionally, I hope to continue managing the merchandising team, creating exceptional content, driving revenue for Houzz and helping this team of amazing women advance in their own careers. I am also excited to continue to be a part of Houzz as it grows and becomes an even better resource for homeowners and our pro community. You really feel your personal impact on a daily basis when you are working for a tech start-up like Houzz.

Personally, I look forward to getting married and having a family of my own. This aspiration includes seeing my kids (hopefully) attend Chapman one day!

SP: What are you most passionate about outside of work?

KM: Outside of work, I usually spend time with my family and friends. I enjoy volunteering with Big Brothers Big Sisters, and recently joined the Balboa Yacht Club, where I have had fun getting to know my community, being on the water, and helping out with various events. I also strongly believe that the whole world is a must see, so it wouldn’t be out of place to find me at LAX, jetting off on my next adventure.

SP: Who or what has inspired you most?

KM: There are so many things that have inspired me in many ways, but if I have to pick one I would say the opportunity to travel abroad through Chapman was the most inspiring. Chapman’s incredible study abroad program, along with its flexibility on credits coming from other universities, allowed me to travel to 30 countries while working towards my major and minor. The experiences you have while living abroad are priceless.

SP: How has your Chapman degree helped you?

KM: My Chapman degree has helped me in many ways, both inside and outside of the workplace. I can efficiently communicate with a wide variety of individuals and have used this skill set for many things, from closing a sale to managing a team, even when making new acquaintances. Thanks to my studies in art, I am able to easily identify the right composition to develop a visual strategy using scale, color and balance—something I use everyday while merchandising.

Above all, being a part of the Chapman Family has made a huge impact on my life. Whether it has been interviewing with a fellow Chapman alum, hiring alumni myself or meeting friendly faces from Chapman all over the world, being a Panther has opened many doors in both my professional and personal life.

SP: What’s the best advice you ever received and what words of encouragement do you have for future Chapman alumni?

KM: The best advice that I can give future Chapman alumni is that you don’t have to have it all figured out by the time you graduate. As long as you continue to learn, have an open mind and put energy into the things you love, you will wake up one day happy with the life that you have created for yourself. I never would have dreamed that I would have a career that I love as much as I do, and that I would be working for a company that makes every day in the office fun and exciting. I didn’t get to this point in my life by knowing what I wanted to do from day one. It took several less glamorous jobs and a few tough roads to build the skill set, experience and awareness of the world around me to get me where I am today.

SP: How would you like to further connect with your Chapman Family?

KM: I would love a better way to connect with current Chapman students for hiring interns. I have structured the merchandising team in a way that we can always benefit from the assistance of stellar interns, and nothing would make me happier than knowing they are bright students who come from Chapman University. Interested Panthers can contact me »

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