Katie Hallahan Rahhal is a public relations professional, game designer and co-founder of video game publisher, Phoenix Online Studios. “As a woman in the game industry, it is a constant hope of mine that my work and accomplishments might be an inspiration in even some small way to someone else… Being a company owner and founder has not always been glamorous or financially stable work, but whatever happens, I have tried as
hard as possible and given everything I can to make this dream succeed.” Katie’s strong writing and editing background comes from her years working in the publishing industry across a variety of roles. Co-designer for The Silver Lining™ and award-winning Cognition™ (as well as Director for Cognition: Episode 2), she has led the public relations department through Phoenix’s period of greatest growth, including appearances on Bloomberg TV, Wired, CNN, Joystiq, and PC Gamer, among others.
Katie doesn’t think that, back in high school, she was the girl that anyone would believe would someday be founder and part-owner of a computer game company, but does think that her writing and designing games as a career could have been predicted! While at Needham High, Katie was in the marching band and Color guard, was involved with The Rag Literary Magazine, worked as a media aide, and was part of the chorus and in musicals. Katie enjoyed her years at NHS, where she made lifelong friends, and learned a lot both in and out of the classroom. In particular, Katie recalls
that she learned a lot about writing at NHS. Katie graduated from Boston College with a BA in English and writing has been a mainstay in her career. She has been part of a writing group for several years, and much of her time has been spent working on learning about game design, writing games, PR and marketing, and in general building up her company, Phoenix Online Studios.
She also learned at NHS to pursue what she loved, regardless of what was “popular” or what other people thought. “What I loved and what made me happy was more important than what anyone else had to say about it. It’s where and when I learned to take what anyone else might call me and make it my own. Damn right I was a geek, and I loved it.”
Katie’s message to students: “it can be hard to ignore voices that tell you you’re different or a loser or that make fun of you and what you love—but that’s just noise. The people who love you, support you, and doing what makes you happy – that’s what matters… Learning that anything worth doing is worth doing well, never giving up, and having pride in that work is something that I started to learn in high school, and it’s a lesson that I’ve taken to heart as not just something worth knowing but as a part of who I am.”
Outside of work, Katie trained for six years in American Jiu Jitsu, achieving the rank of 1st Kyu brown belt (the rank just below 1st degree black belt). She loved jiu jitsu for many reasons – “it was a great challenge and excellent workout, I met and trained with a great group of people, and was learning something practical. It’s an excellent pursuit for not just physical fitness, but also for discipline and self-confidence.” She was certified as an instructor during training, and hopes to be able to go back and earn her black belt.
Katie lives in Braintree, MA with her husband, Brandon, and 11-month-old son, Rowan.