There are so many fascinating Kates out there. And every week, Kate-book.com is resolving to introduce you to a new one. This week, I would like you to meet Kate Ellenz, 22, of Seattle, Washington. Without further ado, 13 questions with Kate.
What’s your favorite thing about your name?
I like to think it suits me. I definitely “look” like a Kate. It’s always strange when someone’s name doesn’t fit the way they look. Also I really haven’t ever met a Kate I didn’t like. I’m sure you’d all agree, Kates are pretty awesome.
Your least favorite thing about your name?
When I was growing up, I went by Katie and I felt like I had the most popular name ever. It really drove me crazy. At one point I was in a class in high school with five other Katies. When I got to college I thought Kate sounded more mature. At that point I’d never met another Kate so it seemed a good idea.
Another least favorite part, my best friend’s affectionate nickname for me: Kathleenie-weenie.
Who is a Kate you wish were a household name?
Not a person but rather a location … Kate’s Pub in Seattle. One of the best happy hours I have ever seen! Three dollar good draft beers and half price off all menu items. And free pool or darts. Also it’s filled with photos of famous Kates. Even better, if you are a Kate they will take your picture and put it on the bulletin board of Kates. Clearly they recognize the greatness in the name Kate. Be sure to try the pulled pork mac & cheese.
So, what do you do by day?
I work at Lumana, an organization that offers microloans to rural entrepreneurs as well as provide them with savings accounts, business education classes, and mentorship from local Ghanaian leaders. I am the Operations Manager, which basically just means that I wear many different hats on any given day. I’m the public relations, event planning, office manager, project manager extraordinaire of Lumana.
I first discovered Lumana in a class I was taking on Global Poverty at Seattle University. One of the founders came in a spoke to my class about Lumana’s unique and successful approach to microfinance and I just thought, man, these guys really have got it figured out. Lumana focuses on empowering clients and helping them make their own successes and meet their own personal and financial goals. It’s absolutely amazing how much of a difference a loan can make in the lives of our clients who otherwise just wouldn’t have access to these services.
What’s something you wish people knew or understood better about your job?
I wish that more people realized how seriously impactful microfinance can be when done respectfully and responsibly. Microfinance has been getting some bad heat lately, but most of the organizations that are encountering problems aren’t pairing their efforts with things like education and mentorship within the communities they are working in. It can really make a huge difference.
Also microfinance is pretty low on the list of “sexy” solutions for alleviating poverty. Yeah, it’s not giving comfy shoes to impoverished kids or bringing celebrities and rockstars to Ghana, but it is allowing families to move out of poverty, to have a safe place to keep their money, to plan ahead for their futures, to create savings for emergencies, and to save for their children’s schooling.
I have two main passions in life: eating and traveling while learning about other cultures. If I could just combine the two of those by eating my way around the world, meeting awesome people in foreign countries, I would be in absolute bliss. I’ve been lucky enough to travel to over thirty countries in my life and I’ve had so many awesome experiences. It’s on my bucket list to hit all seven continents — even Antarctica — in my lifetime.
What do you like to do outside of work?
Well besides traveling and eating, I enjoy a variety of other activities. I love video games, board games (Settlers of Catan anyone?), reading, yoga, and watching semi-trashy TV shows. I also used to be on a men’s rowing team as a coxswain (the bossy loud one who steers the boat).
What’s a band, television show, book, or movie that you hope Kate-book readers will go watch, listen to, or read RIGHT NOW?
Kate-book readers should check out any/all movies by director/writer Hayao Miyazaki RIGHT NOW. They are beautifully made, thought-provoking, animated Japanese films by the Japanese-Disney. Nah, he’s better than Disney. But seriously, watch any of them and prepared to be wowed. And don’t let the animated bit throw you off, they aren’t like you’d expect. “The Secret of Arriety” is in theaters right now and was really enjoyable but I liked “Spirited Away” best.
What’s your favorite stop to make on a road trip?
Depends on where the road trip is to, but usually to specialty food places I can’t get in Seattle like In-n-out, Cracker Barrel, and Burgerville.
Who is your celebrity doppelganger?
People tell me I look like Julia Stiles or Kate Moss (maybe it’s just the name that makes them make that connection!) a lot.
What’s the first concert you ever went to?
Spice Girls. Which I might add are still up there in my “most played” in iTunes.
If you were forced to get a tattoo right at this moment, what would you get?
Probably something in calligraphy, reminding me to chill out and not stress the little stuff or to be present in each moment. I’d love to get a tattoo but still figuring what I want permanently on my skin.
Who is your favorite famous Kate?
I have to pick only one? Probably would have to be Kate Winslet. Her role in “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” was brilliant and is probably one of my favorite films of all time.
Know a Kate, Caty, Katherine, or Catelynn who needs to be Kate of the Week? Awesome! Send me a tip at email@example.com. I will be in touch with them soon.