Natalie Black Kohler

On June 5, 2012, Natalie Black Kohler stood in front of nearly 200 Kohler Co. Communications associates to dedicate The Beacon, the company’s state-of-the-art global communications headquarters. This modern architectural masterpiece serves as a bricks-and-mortar culmination of Natalie’s career-long passion for elevating KOHLER as an aspirational brand through imaginative advertising and strong consumer brand pull—through presence that led the company to unprecedented business growth.

At the front entrance of The Beacon is a framed plaque, reciting the words Natalie shared at the June 2012 dedication, “The Beacon: Dedicated to the women and men who exemplify the rigor, persistence and teamwork required to make progress.”

Among the many disciplines in advertising and mass communications within Kohler Co., Natalie’s imprint is prominent with all of them.

Brand Awareness – Under her leadership, Kohler Co. passed former #1 American Standard and never looked back, with (1) Industry-Leading Unaided Awareness, (2) Industry-Leading Share of Web Visits, and (3) Industry-Leading Social Media Metrics in all categories.

National Advertising – With a steady, aggressive push and a consistent approach, few brands can match the ascent and domination KOHLER has enjoyed throughout many decades of creative, avant-garde advertising under the “As I See It” campaigns.

Catalogs/Literature – She has always instilled the importance and value of award-winning, hard-working literature, key tools to convey the beauty and design of our products, as well as the functionality and installation aspects. 

Trade Show Exhibits – What more is there to say? In a span of nearly 40 consecutive year, KOHLER earned “Most Remembered Exhibit” at the International Builders Show, and 15 consecutive years at the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show.

Public Relations – Always equally competitive and proud of our editorial dominance in print, broadcast and online media, Kohler’s high level of earned media results from third-party outlets were invaluable to sustained growth. – Kohler was among the first in the home and building space to join the World Wide Web in 1997. And Natalie’s support of Kohler digital has been a key strategic differentiator for the company.

Kohler Photo Studio – No matter where it has been located, her support, investment, and passion about photography sets, videos and visual assets are second to none.

Kohler Design Center – Since opening its doors in 1985 under Natalie’s guidance, the world-class kitchen and bath showcase has been the hometown face of the KOHLER brand for its products, ideas and history – drawing nearly 140,000 yearly.

Natalie is a member of the Board of Directors for Kohler Co. She joined Kohler Co. in 1981 as a member of the Legal Department, was elected Vice President and General Counsel in May 1983, and assumed responsibilities for Corporate Communications, which includes Public Affairs and Advertising in 1984. In 1998, she was named Group President of Interiors Group and General Counsel and became Senior Vice President and Chief Legal Officer in March 2012. Natalie retired from Kohler Co. on February 1, 2014.

Natalie has served on the Board of Directors for Johnson Controls, Inc. and has been a member of the Policy Advisory Board of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. She served on the Board of Trustees for the Medical College of Wisconsin, on the boards of the Sheboygan County YMCA and The Milwaukee Ballet Company, and as Chairman of the Committee on Corporate Law Departments for the Section on Business Law of the American Bar Association.