Tenacity and daring to do things differently. KT Speetzen, of Mother Cluckers Comedy, LLC, tells us how she used these two “superpowers” to go from stay-at-home mom to CEO.
My company, Mother Cluckers Comedy, LLC is itself a brazen act. I founded my company 18 months ago as a response to soul-crushing creative boredom as the mother of two young children in the suburbs. Don’t get me wrong, I love my kids, but Girl. As a woman who’s worked her ass off since she heard in 9th grade what it took to get into the college of my dreams (and my eventual alma mater), Northwestern University, I’ve never stopped working. Or figuring out weird paths. I’ve been in the stand-up comedy community since my teens, and my first career was behind the scenes in documentary television.
Despite being on a team that was nominated for an Emmy, I followed my love of teaching to earn my Masters in Education, and eventual National Boards Certification, to teach Middle School for the Chicago Public Schools. I *loved* teaching, especially for the age group that is roughly my maturity level. However, once my eldest daughter was born in 2011, I made the decision that staying home was the best for my family at the time. And for the next five years I became a stay-at-home Mom.
While having baby time with my kids was a gift, at other times it was soul-crushing. I thrive on community, collaboration, and leadership. And my kids are just starting to get sarcasm seven years later. So, after re-entering the Chicago comedy scene, I realized two things: my kids woke up too early in the morning for me to be hanging out exclusively at open mic nights, and there was no opportunity for female comics to perform in the Chicago suburbs.
With that, I pounded the pavement and cold called numerous businesses in person and found a home for both the show and after party for my stand-up and storytelling troupe, The Mother Cluckers.
The mass majority of the businesses I approached turned me down, even though I would be providing them with free entertainment and a way to drive increased foot traffic. I held firm, however, and found two amazing organizations to partner with.
My first show consisted of three new comics that I had pulled from my daughter’s Kindergarten playground class, two of which are now pursuing their own comedy careers through classes and national bookings. I’m extremely proud to have provided an outlet for these women’s creativity and to give them support to share gifts they weren’t aware they had.
We now have over 30 women from the Chicagoland area performing with The Mother Cluckers, some who have been featured on Netflix, Last Comic Standing, and headline at Zanie’s. I’m additionally proud that The Mother Cluckers have a reputation of one of the best shows for talent: I pay my comics well above scale, and ensure they are cared for when they perform.
I was so excited by the birth of The Mother Cluckers because it showed me that my love for educating and encouraging others could meld with this next phase of my life. It also proved that my superpower — my tenacity — will continue to get me anywhere I want to go.
My advice to other female entrepreneurs? The no’s you hear today don’t translate into the no’s of tomorrow. Keep tweaking, keep asking, keep pushing. You will find your open door sooner than you think, and it will launch you into places you can’t imagine.
During the past year, I’ve branched out into corporate storytelling training, and my company is exploding in ways I didn’t think was imaginable.
KT Speetzen is a comedic storytelling strategist, who helps organizations leverage storytelling to increase sales, attract and retain clients, and increase workplace happiness. In addition, KT produces a monthly stand-up and storytelling show, The Mother Cluckers. A 20+ year veteran stand-up comic, KT has told stories through both documentary television production and as a Master Educator for Chicago Public Schools middle school students and Illinois State University teaching fellows. She’s here to help you Find Your Funny™.