All Online Exclusives

A Pool of Support

Carter Kale ’19 builds on the community he found at W&M

May 14, 2024
By Gabriela Trauttmansdorff ’26

Carter Kale ’19 — standout swimmer, successful consultant and rising social media star — is a man of many talents. His career has taken flight since his time at William & Mary, but Kale has maintained his connection with key communities that gave him the support he needed to thrive academically, professionally and personally. Now, he is paying it forward by serving as an integral contributor to W&M alumni engagement and by providing career opportunities for students.

Although he grew up going to William & Mary football games in Zable Stadium and even graduated from high school in Kaplan Arena, Kale started his freshman year of college as a swimmer for Virginia Tech. However, he soon realized that it wasn’t the right fit and made the decision to transfer to W&M following his first year. Kale explains that the culture he witnessed at William & Mary, which embraced people’s individuality and celebrated authenticity, inspired him to make the switch.

“I just knew that I would fit in better here. I knew that I had friends already on the swimming team. I knew I had a good relationship with the coaches,” Kale says. “After going through my freshman year, I realized that I needed to find a place where I could thrive, both academically and athletically, and that had a culture of acceptance and authenticity.”

Once at W&M, Kale found the welcoming community he was searching for within the varsity men’s swimming team.

“I think it's because that culture from the school is ingrained into how our athletes operate as well. Being part of a team that welcomed me with open arms was an incredible experience for me,” says Kale.

Carter Kale at the CAA swimming championships
Kale at the 2019 CAA Swimming and Diving Championships. He credits the W&M swim community with providing an inclusive, supportive place for him to grow. 

From his warm acceptance into the team to winning the CAA championships his sophomore year, Kale recalls many treasured memories from swimming at W&M. However, the memory that has stuck with him the most was when he came out as gay to some of his teammates.

“My coming out experience with my team turned into a very silly, funny moment,” he says. “I just blurted it out to them randomly and without hesitation, they accepted me and expressed their support. They basically said, ‘It didn’t even need to be a conversation. We’re proud of you and will love you no matter what.’ It was just a really awesome moment.”

Kale began his W&M career with the intention of majoring in biology on the pre-medicine track but switched to a marketing major with a concentration in organizational leadership. He also participated in Agency 1693, a student-run marketing agency within the Raymond A. Mason School of Business.

At first, he had trouble determining exactly what career path he wanted to take. He initially pursued entertainment marketing with an internship at PBS during the summer of his junior year, but he realized that field wasn’t exactly what he was looking for. Feeling lost, Kale spoke to some friends about his dilemma.

“They all said, ‘Well, it sounds like you don’t quite know what you want. And you kind of want to get experience before you decide. So why don’t you look into consulting?’” Kale says. “So I started by practicing for consulting interviews and ended up interviewing for a couple during the on-campus recruiting process. Ultimately, I got an offer from Accenture Federal, a management consulting firm, and I accepted.”

Consulting gave Kale more flexibility to explore the specific fields he was interested in and gain a better understanding of his long-term goals. He says his marketing background still came in handy, because all of his roles at Accenture have leveraged the communication skills he learned in marketing classes.

Currently, Kale is an associate manager at Accenture, specializing in human capital and change management. He helps government clients while they’re implementing information technology changes and prepares clients make a shift from previous, or nonexistent, IT solutions to new ones.

“I make sure that those people feel like they’re being heard, that they feel ready to move to the new IT and that they know how to use it — so that ultimately when the IT does become available, they can start from day one and be ready to start using what we’ve built,” he says.

Carter Kale swimming
A champion swimmer, Kale’s time on the varsity men’s swimming team taught him many valuable skills that benefited him after graduating. Photo by Kymm Davidson-Hamley

Kale credits the business school and W&M Athletics with teaching him many skills that have equipped him for his career. In addition to the actual content he learned in his business classes, he says that practicing soft skills such as communication, presenting in front of a crowd, time management, balancing multiple priorities, working under pressure and networking with alumni have been beneficial parts of his W&M education.

He explains, “Once I got to Accenture, I got the hands-on experience that I needed. And because I had the soft skills, I was able to move forward at a pace that maybe not everybody would experience.”

One aspect of marketing that Kale began to miss was the ability to be more creative in his work. Soon, however, he discovered a new outlet: TikTok. On the popular social media app, Kale could create videos with his friends that showcased his life and what he loved.

“It basically started out as an opportunity for me to be creative. Then I leveraged what I knew about social media marketing to basically market myself. Now TikTok has kind of blown up for me and turned into another career avenue for me to explore.”

With close to 200,000 followers, Kale (@carter.kale) has amassed a notable presence on the app. On his page, he strives to portray himself authentically and turn what would seem like an ordinary life into his own mini sitcom. More importantly, Kale wants to use his platform to set an example for other queer people in the United States.

 “I just want to show that there's no reason why I can't exist in my skin and live my life because of the way that I was born,” he says. “When people see my page, they just see a very ordinary, average gay guy being silly on the internet, having a good time, telling stories and documenting his life. But not taking it too seriously. Just figuring things out as I go.”

Another way that Kale stays in touch with what is important to him is by maintaining his W&M connections. From visiting campus multiple times a year to giving career and networking advice to the current swimming team, he makes an effort to pass along his acquired wisdom to the W&M community. Supporting the W&M@Work initiative that brings together the W&M community through the workplace to uncover powerful connections between career and alma mater, Kale conducts on-campus recruiting and hosts happy hours for Accenture to give W&M students and alumni an introduction to the company.

Although his connections with swimming teammates remain crucial for Kale, he also found a place of belonging in Washington, D.C.’s gay community.

Now, Kale is embarking on his next adventure — relocating to Philadelphia and buying his own house. He and his boyfriend are looking forward to a change of scenery, the opportunity to explore the city, and perhaps even connect with the W&M community there.

“I've never lived anywhere other than Williamsburg,” Kale says. “And so, as you can imagine, it'll be nice to get a little bit of exposure somewhere else in the world.”

Kale sees a bright future for himself in consulting and he hopes to continue to progress in his career.

“Outside of consulting, a personal goal of mine is to continue to post on social media, grow my social media presence and provide a positive culture, ambience and environment with my social media page to see where that goes,” he says.

As Kale looks to the future, he also acknowledges the importance of his past. By preserving a relationship with W&M, he ensures that he doesn’t lose the valuable connections he made here.

“It's nice to be at that pivot point where I’m no longer fresh out of college, and I kind of have an idea of what's going on,” he says. “But I still get to have these roots at William & Mary and I always know that the W&M community is going to be there for me if I ever need to call back.”