We are thrilled to announce the newest member of our team, Katherine Vander Vennet! Katherine joins us as EVP of Sales, Awe and Wonder for Zoobean. We invite you to learn more about Katherine's journey to what she calls "the perfect job for me." TLDR: She's the real deal, with a side of awesome sauce.
Katherine loves libraries. She grew up with storytime at the Cambrian Branch of San Jose PL, then pushing around a chair to hold all of the books she could check out each week. Her favorite authors include Laura Ingalls Wilder, L. M. Montgomery, and Louise Fitzhugh. Within two days of moving to her adopted city of Austin, Texas, she took her toddlers to the Westbank Community Library and signed up for a library card, even before she had moved in to her house. She is continually inspired by the ways libraries have grown and changed over the years, using technology and creativity to better serve their communities.
Katherine credits her adventurous childhood with instilling a profound sense of awe and wonder about the world: art, science, education, community and human beings. Hiking and biking the Sierras, Cascades, Canadian Rockies - all above the tree line - with her parents. Her dad, a geology teacher who at age 80 still rides his bicycle cross-country and her mom, a 35-year volunteer and gift shop curator at the San Jose Museum of Art now busy writing her memoirs. As a teen, with her sister and brother, the family rode their bikes and camped across Europe - from the Cotswalds in England, along the Normandy coast of France, through the Swiss Alps to Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany, and back! - visiting cathedrals and art museums, stumbling across the Queen at the Royal Ascot and flirting with boys in a village on Bastille day.
Katherine has been working with librarians for nearly 8 years, most recently for Tutor.com as Sales Director for Libraries and previously providing Infotrac to public libraries and K-12 schools. A stay-at-home mom of two boys for 10 years between those positions, she has read aloud (and cannot give away) zillions of children's books, and volunteered at the school library and as President of the school's PTO.
Earning her Communications/Visual Arts BA at University of California, San Diego, Katherine specialized in photography and film while singing and touring with the UCSD gospel choir. Upon graduation, she surprised herself by "going corporate" and getting a job selling cutting-edge networking technology in Southern California. After a few years, she decided to combine business with pleasure and earned her master's in Art and Business Management at New York University. Katherine then established her own art consulting business in the Bay Area at the age of 28, and connected corporations and private collectors with the work of artists and galleries. Having babies riding tricycles down the halls curtailed the art business, but working to help communities using creative and beautifully designed solutions continues to be a passion.
As a mom of Henry (17) and Miles (15), Katherine loves the fact that these wonderful teenage boys still want to hang out with her. She recently spent an afternoon with Miles and his pals, singing with them in the car on the way to a traveling exhibit of quilts telling the stories of African-American history. She loves to play Scrabble and watch HBO documentaries with Henry as often as possible. Having teens who are gaining independence has also freed her up to make her own art - mostly pastel portraits and trying her hand at writing a children's book. As a parent and community leader, Katherine aspires to be a role model for committing to and caring about the value one can bring to others through hard work, while being a window to all the awe and wonder in the world.
Oh yeah, and she loves road trips, cool apps, friends and family, wine, live music, going to the ballet, watching high school performances, chips and guacamole and walking her dog, Roxi.
Welcome, Katherine, we are delighted to have you on the Zoobean team!