Profiling Our Staff: Katarina Cook, Chief of Staff
by Daniela Schwartz
WE'RE TAKING A CLOSER LOOK AT THE INTERESTING LIVES OF OUR STAFF -- WHEN THEY AREN’T WORKING ON MANAGING CALIFORNIA’S FIRST SOCIAL IMPACT INCUBATOR FOR HIGH SCHOOL ENTREPRENEURS.
After an interview with Kat Cook, we …
How did you first hear about Elix?
Well, I’ve been friends with both Isabella and Haley for a very long time. We went to elementary and middle school together and I saw them start Elix. I thought it was a really interesting idea and I wanted to get involved and help out with it.
What does your job as Chief of Staff entail?
What I do is help keep all of the staff organized and make sure they are doing their job, and I also act as a sounding board for the officers and Isabella. Basically, I make sure there is cohesion and work flow within the company.
What made you interested in directing the staff of the company?
In general, I’m very good at organizing and getting my work done. Like in school, I don’t think I’ve missed an assignment this year. That’s a trait I know and that my peers recognize, including Haley and Isabella. So I think my confidence in management abilities lead to why I liked the sound of this job so much.
So it seems like you don’t procrastinate much, which is something that a lot of students do too often. What helps you not get distracted? Any advice to other teenagers?
My biggest motivation and advice to other teenagers is getting my work done right away so I don’t have to do it later. When I get home I do all of my homework so that I don’t need to worry about it later.
What is it like to direct people who are your own age? Do you think it’s easier because you can relate with one another, or harder to gain their attention and respect?
Well, so far I haven’t had any issues, because everyone at Elix is very respectful and recognizes when things need to be done and when they need to be serious. I personally really like working with my peers because I love seeing the innovative ideas that people have. It’s hard to discipline my peers, though, because nobody wants to be the bad guy, but if someone is really slacking off, I’ll tell them, “Hey, you have a deadline to meet,” or something like that.
How do you balance your school work with Elix?
I make sure to compartmentalize. So, when it’s time for school I focus on school. When I get home in the afternoon, that’s homework time and then later I can do whatever I want, like spend time with my family and friends or what not. And the same goes for the weekends. I’ll have my free time, but when it’s time to work on Elix or something else, I’ll focus on doing that. I’ve been pretty organized with my school work since I was very young because I had to do a lot on my own. But I think really this year and last year it solidified into being like a strict schedule and everything.
What things do you do when you aren’t working for Elix?
I really like to draw. I do graphic designing for Elix and I art projects on my own time occasionally. I also like painting because I’ve done that type of art for a really long time, but now I’ve switched more to digitized art. Additionally, I like being outdoors and going places. And also, this is kind of dumb, but I like shopping a lot too.
Before you joined Elix, what did you imagine your junior year being like?
I thought junior year was going to be harder than it’s been. Obviously it’s been tough, but I’ve been able to work through it and I’ve enjoyed it a lot. I think Elix has helped me change my outlook because originally what I wanted to pursue when I was older was medicine. I’ve always been a little interested in business and this really solidified a want for me to go into business in addition to science and medicine.
Last but not least, what is a quirky fact that most people may not know about you?
Well, in sixth grade I won my school spelling bee and I didn’t really mean to. I think it was just by luck because they kept giving me easy words. I got a trophy with a bee on it. I think that’s the only trophy I’ve won. I think I still have it up in a basket somewhere too.