Katie Payer is Director of Partnerships at TEDxMileHigh. Her role is continue to galvanize relationships in the community to continue to spread the mission of inspired citizenship – and we are thrilled to have her! She is also VP of Communications at Young Americans Center for Financial Education and serves on the KIPP Colorado Advisory Board and the TEDxMileHigh:Women Advisory Board. Her full bio can be found here.
MW: So, Katie – How did you get involved with TEDxMileHigh?
KP: I had attended events in the Bay Area and I loved them. When I moved here in 2011, I dove into a variety of community stuff to get my feet wet and meet new people. I didn’t really know about the “x” part of TED before—then I attended the TEDxMileHighSalon. It was amazing. I was introduced to Jeremy Duhon (Curator) and the rest is history!
What are you passionate about?
Dot-connecting. I love meeting with people and hearing what makes them tick. I love introducing them to people who have similar goals, missions, and values. Those connections get me so fired up. I am also passionate about entrepreneurship. To my deepest regret, I am not particularly entrepreneurial (laughs). But I do love supporting the cause and connecting like-minded individuals.
What about entrepreneurship do you love?
How people are willing to take risks—how passionate they are about what they’re doing. They have so much fire—and you have to if you take risks like starting something brand new. It’s exhilarating to be part of that community.
What’s the most influential book you’ve read in the last year?
Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. Although I didn’t agree with everything she had to say, I found it so inspirational – especially this quote: “If you’re offered a seat on the rocketship, don’t ask which seat. Just get on.”
When you’re not serving with YAC or TEDxMileHigh, what do you love doing in your spare time?
I love to cook and to be outside. I love trying new recipes, and trying to not use recipes. And I love being outside—what’s not to love about being outside in this state?
Why do you live in CO?
I’m a native – a proud native. I lived in the Bay Area for 10 years—and it was great—but I just love it here. People here exude a focus on what is important. And it’s gorgeous here. I also live here because I think that there’s so much room to evolve the state, and I want to be part of making the community better.
What’s your favorite movie?
Pirates of the Caribbean. I’m pretty much a kid when it comes to that sort of thing. I love dinosaurs too.
In your opinion, what is the purpose of the TEDx movement?
To foster a community of thinkers and doers that cultivate ideas and actions to make Colorado better.
What are the current advancements happening in Denver that get you excited?>
One of the things that’s happening here is a massive expansion of entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial mindset. We’re never going to be Silicon Valley, but I think that’s good—we’re building our startup community our own way, our Colorado way.
What did you want to be when you were younger?
A national news anchor – the next Katie Couric!
If the opportunity arose would you go to space?
Aren’t you married? What about your husband?
I’d miss him…. but I would take pictures for him (laughs).
What’s something that you want the TEDxMH community to know about you?
I’m a big-picture thinker, and a detailed doer. I love to make connections and make a difference – I love to spread ideas!
What does “make a difference” mean?
As far as Denver, making a difference is positively impacting the things I believe in. I want this to be a startup hub—full of investors and VCs . I want better public transport, and for people to actually use it. I want our resources to be preserved but enjoyed simultaneously. I want to see our education system improve. What I do and the things I’m involved in are contributing to a few of these and making ‘a difference’ however I can.
What are three words you’d use to describe yourself?
Passionate. Engaged. Petite. (laughs)
What’s your favorite TEDxMileHigh talk?
Jandel Allen-Davis from TEDxMileHigh: Values and Instincts.
And your favorite TED talk?
Hans Rosling, Circle of Why, Pay more in non-profits
If you could live in any other time period, which would it be?
I would live in the 1840s— in the pioneer movement heading west. I would love to be one of those adventurers, making my way west to stake my place in the new frontier.
Where’s your favorite local brewery?
My basement where my husband makes our beer!
What are 3 big global challenges are you passionate about advancing?
Water (access, sanitation, sustainability). Girl empowerment. Healthy culinary alternatives for the developing world.
Why would you encourage someone to get involved with TEDxMileHigh?
Everyone has a role to play. There’s so much amazing potential for growth in this organization—we can address problems and face challenges that bring about true, lasting change. Everyone can bring something to the table and everyone can advance powerful ideas.