This year OED is recognizing and celebrating Frederick County’s young professionals who are leaders in their industry, give back to the community and add significant value to their company and its culture. Join us as we get to know our Top 50 Under 40.
Mary Kate Battles, 38
Owner, Lead Photographer
UnCorporate Headshot by Mary Kate McKenna Photo
106 North Market Street, Suite A, Frederick
MK began her career as a photographer in 2004 from her DC dorm room. Over the last 17 years she has built a business of long-time clients, many who have been with her from the very beginning. Throughout her career, service to others and the community has been at the core of what she does.
What is your greatest professional accomplishment?
My greatest professional accomplishment is keeping my business alive for over 17 years- growing and thriving through recessions, big life changes and setbacks, multiple moves, and most recently, a pandemic.
Name one award you are most proud to have received.
I was chosen as a Washingtonian Wedding Best Wedding Vendor.
What is your experience with civic engagement?
I am a seven-year member of the Rotary Club of Carroll Creek. I am a participant of Leadership Frederick County and a member of Women Photojournalists of Washington.
Describe your volunteer experience.
I am a volunteer photographer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, which provides the gift of remembrance portraits to parents experiencing loss. I also volunteer as a photographer for local non-profit events including MHA’s Gala and Oktoberfest. I am a volunteer guest teacher in SHIP’s summer programs.
What was your first job?
Car hop at a drive-in restaurant.
What do you like to do for fun in Frederick County?
I love to explore different parks and trails with my husband and toddler.
Who has influenced you most when it comes to how you approach your work and why?
My dad. He always emphasized working hard, but always keeping in mind that in the end work is not everything. Family, friends and community are what really matters and to always keep that front and center. He died in 2019 and I think of him as my North Star- always reminding me that there's more to me than my business.
What behavior or personality trait do you most attribute to your success and why?
My ADHD is my superpower. When I was first diagnosed in my 20’s it made me sad, yet that diagnosis opened up the doors to diving deep into research, education and work techniques I never would have discovered otherwise. ADHD helps me to devise creative solutions others might not think of. I am constantly thinking of the bigger picture. I never run out of ideas and will work tirelessly to accomplish tasks that fire me up. ADHD also makes me work harder at things others might not struggle with, but with my other skills I can stick with it until it’s accomplished. Perhaps the greatest gift of my ADHD is the least understood to those who know little about it- as an ADHD-er, people think that means I don’t pay attention, but it’s quite the opposite- I pay attention to everything and everyone. This skill gives me great insight on “reading the room” which is a crucial skill in the world of photojournalism. I can sense and predict moments that most others would miss.
What is your favorite leadership book and why?
Atomic Habits- it gives practical examples and strategies for building a routine and systems that will open up the time you need to accomplish both work and life goals.