Member Spotlight: Katherine Laguna, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Orlando

By Dianne Towalski
The Catholic Journalist

Tell us a little about your background and how you got into Catholic media.

I was hired at the Diocese of Orlando in 2015 as a Writer/Photographer. That’s the beginning of my Catholic media journey. I wrote stories about the people of God for the Florida Catholic. It was eye-opening to learn how massive our diocese is and to experience the hard work many wonderful Catholics do across our state.

I became the Streaming Communications Manager shortly after. It’s amazing to be able to use my college background (Telecommunications) to share the love, joy, and mercy of Jesus Christ with everyone. I learned about the Catholic radio world, how to livestream events for St. James Catholic Cathedral in Orlando and for the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe near Disney World. Hosting and producing podcasts became important to our diocese. I love engaging with people and hearing how faith plays a role in their lives.

Then I moved on to Media Development Manager where I had the opportunity to speak to the hearts of thousands social media followers. Our social media accounts have grown tremendously over the last few years. We’ve taken this tool to reach the young, the elderly, non-Catholics and even Catholics outside of our own diocese. You get to create relationships with people from all over the world. To do well on social media you have to love it. You must have that desire to want to engage with people and give them spiritually moving articles and videos that will keep them wanting more. One of my favorite things is creating graphics for our accounts. It’s fun to find gorgeous art to accompany Scripture. I continuously dig deep into the spiritual lives of what our readers need. These graphics are accompanied with reflective, contemplative captions to deepen spiritual lives. It’s a blessing to call this my job. I’m so thankful to God!

Tell us about your job. And what you do. How long have you been in your current position?

For three years I was the Media Development Manager. Then in August of 2021, I was promoted to Director of Communications. It’s been an incredible experience of growing and learning. I’ve come full circle. I get to do a little bit of everything I’ve done throughout my six years at the Diocese and interact with different departments and Catholic entities I never had the opportunity to before. Our Catholic faith is such a beautiful community of incredible people of different backgrounds. I enjoy interviewing priests, seminarians, and volunteers for the annual Our Catholic Appeal. It’s a pleasure visiting our parishes and Catholic schools. Working for the Church is a blessing I never expected. My world feels bigger and better than before. I see God in everything and in everyone.

You were Social Media Professional of the Year for 2021. Where do you get ideas and inspiration?

During my time as the Media Development Manager, my main focus was social media, livestreaming, podcasting. It was incredible! However, Social Media Professional of the Year would never be possible without a talented and hardworking team. Everyone is truly encouraging and always focused on growing together. They’ve given me a sense of trust that has allowed me to come up with wonderful ideas to confidently execute. Always surround yourself with people who want to see you grow and achieve the impossible!

I find inspiration all around me. It could be found in people, in a good book. I love being creative! “Instagram Takeover” was one of those things that I took a leap of faith on. The mission: to give the faithful an opportunity to see the life of a priest by spending the day with him on Instagram. I spent the day with Father Miguel González, Rector of St. James Catholic Cathedral and our followers had the opportunity to see how busy a priest’s life is, walk through different Sacraments and ask him virtual questions about his faith. This was a huge success especially during the peak months of the pandemic. Throughout this entire campaign, we gained 400+ followers on the Diocese of Orlando Instagram account and received enormous praise from re-energized Catholics. I am happy to now share the social media responsibility with our new Digital Communications Manager who was hired this past summer.

Why is social media a good way to further the mission of the church?

Ultimately, people are hungry to learn. They are looking for inspiration and what better than to spiritually feed them the Word of God? We can do this by meeting them where they are. If we can spark hope and joy into the hearts of those who are seeking more in life, then we are furthering the mission of the Church. If we speak to them during the challenging moments, then they will not feel alone in their faith journey. It’s about saying, ‘Yes, life can be exciting and difficult, but God is with you through every season. You are loved.’

Do you have any advice for others in Catholic media who want to improve their social media presence?

You know that phrase, “Don’t reinvent the wheel?” Well, social media is the complete opposite. Anyone who oversees social media accounts are always reinventing their accounts, changing their look, creating new, fresh content that will engage their readers. It’s so important to try bold, new things and see how they play out. Who says Instagram isn’t for reading? I found an engaging and beautiful way to share our Florida Catholic news articles on the platform. The “magazine design layout” draws in the reader with professional photographs and interesting headlines. Showcasing articles in this fashion allows the reader to “turn the page” on a lovely visual journey.

Is there anything else you would like people to know about you?

My mission and dreams have evolved in fantastic ways. When I look back to the start of my journey, I could not have imagined the path Jesus wanted me to walk. Even through our darkest storms and seasons of doubt, you must have strength to see the light of Christ in everything you do. All I want is to continue the mission God gave me—that’s to share my faith and His love no matter where He takes me.

This article originally appeared in the January 2022 edition of The Catholic Journalist.