Katie (Keck) Sanders (MIPA ’05)

Job title

Executive Director


Safe & Sound



Undergraduate education

Bachelor’s degree in international relations, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001

Why a MIPA?

I studied abroad my junior year of college (Florence, Italy, and Munich, Germany), and one of my majors was international relations. Although my career path took me in a more domestic policy direction, I am still fascinated by the European Union; and with recent events, it continues to be a very interesting case study in international relations.

Project assistantship

As a project assistant for Professor Carolyn Heinrich, I worked on a variety of very interesting projects. I had to work independently, creatively problem solve, and manage my time very effectively in order to meet research deadlines, giving me real world experience and exposure to very interesting topics.

How do you use what you learned at La Follette on the job?

Safe & Sound is a nonprofit organization that unites residents, youth, law enforcement, and community resources to build safe and empowered neighborhoods in Milwaukee. We are a great example of a public-private partnership, which was the topic of my capstone project at La Follette. Safe & Sound operates at the intersection of policy and practice, and it’s an exciting opportunity to see how the research plays out in community work on a daily basis.

Most rewarding experience at the La Follette School

It’s difficult to pick one. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have attended La Follette. My professors were incredible, the coursework is still relevant in my day-to-day life, and I developed lifelong friendships with some of my classmates.

Volunteer activities

I serve on the board of Lutheran Living Services and on the advisory board of the Milwaukee County Salvation Army. I also am treasurer of Home and School at my children’s school.


Milwaukee Business Journal’s 40 Under 40 (2015)

Faculty, alumni guidance

The La Follette family still helps me! Two years ago, La Follette students created an evaluation framework for Safe & Sound, which has been incredibly helpful. Professor Dave Weimer also recently helped us with some research, and I will always be incredibly gratefully to Professor Heinrich for my time with her as a PA.

Why does public service matter to you, and how does that apply in your current position?

Public policy impacts citizens’ lives—good and bad—in deep and lasting ways. Public servants have the opportunity and responsibility to improve the community, and this service is at the heart of this country and its values. At Safe & Sound, we convene the public and private sectors in efforts to improve public safety for Milwaukee residents. It’s an honor to serve my community, my city, and my colleagues at this special organization.

Anything else?

My sons, Leo, Judah and Graeme, inspire me every day to make this world a better place for the next generation.