Recommendations

Last year I helped organize a Startup Weekend event in San Diego, CA and we flew in Katie to be our facilitator. I have to say that she was the best facilitator we've ever had. She was highly enthusiastic, had great charisma and really energized the participants. She was able to communicate clearly and effectively the mission and values of the Startup Weekend organization to the participants. I'd highly recommend Katie!

Wesley Quach   

I had the privilege of working side by side with Katie as the Assistant Director of Gangplank. Katie was capable of maneuvering relationships in a variety of settings. Katie is intelligent, articulate, warm, and energetic. Her charismatic personality draws people in and makes her easy to work with.

Trish Gillam   

Katie is a linchpin in every sense of the word.

She is a very warm and generous person who makes everyone feel welcome and who changes the tone wherever she is. Gangplank was always a nicer, happier place when she was on-site. And it extended beyond that. Knowing Gangplank for a good while "pre-Katie", it became a completely different place under Katie's leadership and is still so. While there were always great, innovative things going on at Gangplank, Katie humanized it and helped transform the culture to one of openness and inclusion. So many past and current Gangplankers owe their involvement with the community to the way Katie made them feel when they first came. If possible, it would do you well to see the video of her send off just to see the huge impact she had on so many people's lives.

This is not to say that she's not fantastic with program mission and values, that she's not great with both strategy and tactical implementation. Her event management, marketing and fund raising skills are fabulous. And she is a wonderful collaborator.

Chris Lee   

Katie was the guest facilitator for the Anchorage Startup Weekend in September 2012. Katie did a great job and the event ran smooth due to her ability to communicate the schedule and expectations for the weekend. Katie's communication style puts others "at ease" and is always positive.

Sioux-z Marshall   

My experience with Katie at Gangplank and during Startup Weekend events has always been tremendously positive. From my very first visit to Gangplank to right up when Katie left, I thought of her as the heart and limbs of the organization. I'm sure she was an integral part of the brains as well, but since that happened in behind the scenes, I'll have to leave it as an assumption. The open and very fluid nature of the co-working space left visitors and regulars alike often unsure of what to do, where to go, who to talk to, and what was going on. Katie was always making connections for people, encouraging and facilitating participation, and generally making it a better place to be. She could do that because she personally maintained a great relationship with so many people. A large part of my positive perception of Gangplank was directly due to the incredible way Katie did her job.

Nick Labadie   

The value Katie can bring to several teams at the same time is incalculable. The obvious talents of dealing with the day to day logistics within a physical space are superficial when compared to Katie's ability to assist, help manage, and grow the business and social interactions of entrepreneurs, often in a space she's unfamiliar with. Her ability to befriend anyone and immediately find a(n even very small) way to assist that person in both life and business sets her apart from every other facilitator or administrator I've known. Katie is a wildly intelligent, unstoppably driven, incredibly kind and thoughtful human being who is constantly asking how she can help others become increasingly more successful.

Jonathan Kressaty   

Katie is a catalyst. She makes things happen. She magnifies creative energy. Rarely have I met someone with such passion for entrepreneurship or as much ability to mobilize people and bind them together in support of it. Like many great entrepreneurs, her gift is in uniting people and bringing out their brilliance. I’ce watched her create communities and environments where ideas thrive and people are at their best. Our business simply would not exist without Gangplank and Katie was what made Gangplank work for us. We owe her one.

Shon Burton   

The church I pastor was graciously allowed to use the space where Katie previously worked in Chandler, AZ free of charge for over a year. During that time, I found Katie to be someone who was always willing to bend over backwards to support our church and ensure that we had everything we needed to thrive as a new community of faith.
In addition, we would often work alongside each other in supporting community projects at the Chandler Christian Community Center. Katie arranged backpack drives for low-income students and canned food drives for the Food Bank. Her leadership in these efforts gave our church frequent opportunities to donate to worthy causes.
Finally, I was able to work with Katie to organize a Brew Camp for those interested in learning the art of brewing their own beer. The event was a hit thanks to her willingness and ability to work with leaders from our church and the local brew clubs.
I highly endorse Katie for her ability to work with diverse constituencies!

Jay Cooper   

Katie is one of the strongest collaborators I have met. She is able to quickly build and navigate relationships for success. Her attention to detail and wide yet deep network makes her able to execute large events and meetups with what seems like next to no effort. While at Gangplank she built a strong tolerance for ambiguity, uncertainty and adaptability. She uses these skills to her advantage when organizing and executing events. Katie is the most effective startup event organizer that Arizona has ever seen.

Derek Neighbors   

Katie was able to function very effectively in a constantly moving and innovative environment of entrepreneurs. If I had the position, I would hire her myself as she is someone you can bring onto the job and she will adapt to the conditions the job needs. For the types of jobs today and the constant flux, she is a very important person to have on one's team. Also very rare to find.

Jeremy Babendure   

Katie was our facilitator for Startup Weekend TriCities in Johnson City, TN Nov 16-18, 2012. She did an incredible job, and we have asked her to return and facilitate our next SWT in April. Katie is very well organized and effective. Her energy level and enthusiasm is contagious, and she inspired the participants. She is an excellent coach and provided valuable hands-on assistance to the startups.

Dave Lawrence   

Katie is an uncommonly talented, energetic, and inspiring individual who has an amazing passion for entrepreneurship and the culture of startups. I worked with Katie on a daily basis at the Gangplank facilities in Arizona as well as being one of the organizers of a Startup Weekend for which she was our facilitator. Working with Katie stands out as one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my 25-plus years in business.

Katie's understanding of entrepreneurship and her desire to help startups succeed earned her the deepest respect of entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and policymakers – many of whom are more than twice her age and nationally or internationally recognized – not just inside Gangplank but also at the local community level and beyond.

Her natural gift for networking and identifying the strengths of those she meets and connecting them with others in need of those strengths is a wonder to see in action. I have benefited from it myself as have many, many of the others who came to Gangplank. It has been singled out as one of the key factors in the recent success and growth of the Gangplank community and is sorely missed since her leaving.

Gangplank is a highly unusual environment – a collection of extremely motivated and independent-minded people who reflexively reject structure and authority. It is typically very dynamic – even chaotic at times. Yet Katie was able to thrive in it and bring these individuals together into a cohesive community to collaborate to help themselves and others.

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Ed Allen   
Ed Allen   

Katie is an uncommonly talented, energetic, and inspiring individual who has an amazing passion for entrepreneurship and the culture of startups. I worked with Katie on a daily basis at the Gangplank facilities in Arizona as well as being one of the organizers of a Startup Weekend for which she was our facilitator. Working with Katie stands out as one of the most enjoyable and rewarding experiences of my 25-plus years in business.

Katie's understanding of entrepreneurship and her desire to help startups succeed earned her the deepest respect of entrepreneurs, investors, academics, and policymakers – many of whom are more than twice her age and nationally or internationally recognized – not just inside Gangplank but also at the local community level and beyond.

Her natural gift for networking and identifying the strengths of those she meets and connecting them with others in need of those strengths is a wonder to see in action. I have benefited from it myself as have many, many of the others who came to Gangplank. It has been singled out as one of the key factors in the recent success and growth of the Gangplank community and is sorely missed since her leaving.

Gangplank is a highly unusual environment – a collection of extremely motivated and independent-minded people who reflexively reject structure and authority. It is typically very dynamic – even chaotic at times. Yet Katie was able to thrive in it and bring these individuals together into a cohesive community to collaborate to help themselves and others. Her unflagging dedication to creating programs and curricula that would help businesses succeed and thereby help the community at-large made her one of – if not the most – respected people at Gangplank. She will kill me for bringing this up, but for those efforts – and those of her husband, Tyler – the mayor of the City of Chandler Arizona proclaimed October 26th, 2012 as Katie and Tyler Hurst Day. She's THAT good.

From a community outreach and public relations perspective Katie seems to know everybody. I have been constantly amazed at the high-level contacts she has within the business, non-profit, academic, political, and media communities. Her personal and professional network is quite impressive and loyal and will respond eagerly when called upon. When a sponsor was needed for an event she could bring in a big name. With a text message she could have a local news crew on-hand. She's exactly what a fledgling program needs.

Katie's ability to cut through red tape, politics, and bureaucracy makes her an asset to any organization where execution is key. She's a natural leader of people and knows how to motivate, inspire, and lead in order to accomplish goals larger than any member of the team. Her selfless determination to accomplish things means that she puts the mission first, and starts with the end in mind. The quality of her work is evidenced by the events, communities, and support she garners. She's a great asset to any organization, and I wouldn't hesitate to endorse her for "Moves Mountains With Only Shovels".

Amanda Blum   

As an Assistant Dean of Students for Arizona State University, I had the privilege of working closely with Katie during her tenure at Gangplank. Entrepreneurship can be a difficult concept for a traditional college student to conceptualize - let alone put into action. I repeatedly brought groups of university students from ASU to meet with Katie at Gangplank because she excelled in making entrepreneurship come to life for the college population. As an excellent communicator and inviting personality, Katie consistently demonstrated an ability to connect with the college population and explain the power and role of entrepreneurship. When students at the university were on the verge of a new venture or needed a contact I always referred them to Katie and she never disappointed in her ability to be a student first mentor and resource. Although Katie never worked for ASU, I always felt that she was a critical component in keeping the university connected to the Phoenix entrepreneurship community.

Garrett Westlake   

I had the pleasure of working with Katie on several projects over about two years time. Although our projects impacted many groups within the local entrepreneurial community Katie was able to work with the desperate needs of the groups and assure our projects were a success. I miss working with her and since she's left our engagement with her former employer has effectively gone to zero. She is intelligent, well spoken, considerate and able to deal with difficult projects with ease. I highly recommend Katie.

Wiley Larson   

At Gangplank, Katie was a one-woman band--teaching, marketing evangelizing, working in the community, developing and executing programs, and forging a cohesive environment in which companies and individuals could grow. She set up a mentoring program, ran big events, organized Brown Bag learning sessions for the entrepreneurial community, developed Gangplank as a social enterprise, and built a strong, stable, collaborative community. She is unique: both a leader and a team player.

Anonymous   

As Executive Director of Gangplank Chandler, Katie provided some amazing organization and energy to the community. Her ability to collaborate in an ambiguous environment and produce highly engaging events was impressive.

I participated with Katie at Gangplank in several roles. I was a volunteer for various events, a mentor to vistors, several times a presenter for Brownbag Lunch sessions or full day classes. In each of these experiences I found Katie a capable administrator and builder of community. She has a knack for drawing people in with a passionate authenticity and then leading them with clear goals.

Alan Dayley   

Katie has a tremendous ability to light a fire under people and is a catalyst for creativity and innovation in everything she does. I have been to numerous events Katie has put on, including StartUp Weekend Chandler, and she left her mark on every individual in a unique way. Whether it be her positive energy, her unquestioning drive for success, or her fierceness in motivating and inspiring others, she was always someone you want on your team and would always remember after working with her.

Anonymous   
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