We had the good fortune of connecting with Kate Katz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kate, is your business focused on helping the community? If so, how?
All Hands In sees our contribution to world through shifting culture towards compassion, authenticity, and connectivity. The focus of our work is based on soft skills training helping individuals and teams expand skills such as awareness, adaptability, communication, problem solving, and collaboration. Empowering participants to creatively engage with these skills produces more effective leaders, connected communities, and purpose driven people. All Hands In believes the world improves greatly when everyone feels seen, heard and valued. Our workshops give individuals and organizations practical ways to master the skills that lead to a more compassionate, authentic, and connected society.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My background is as a puppeteer and special effects artist. I attended the University of Connecticut’s Puppetry Arts program as a graduate student and from there went on to study puppetry at the Sandglass institute and the Engine O’Neill puppet program. Puppetry has been my primary passion for as long as I can remember. My puppetry background is the foundation I bring to the table when doing soft skills training with All Hands In. During my career in entertainment I discovered that my puppetry training had given me an enhanced level of soft skills such as adaptability, collaboration, communication, and problem solving. Thanks in large part to these skills, I became a stronger asset on teams, was able to navigate difficult situations with clarity and confidence, and lead effectively with compassion. Puppetry allowed me a unique perspective into how teams and leaders can improve collaborative environments to be more equitable and authentic while still maintaining productivity and purpose. When I made the connection between puppetry and soft skills training I began developing workshops that were founded from my puppetry training. I offered these to my friends for free, just to see if the work translated to non-puppeteers and that was when I was given the encouragement to make this a business. It has not been an easy path, I cannot imagine two more abstract concepts that few know or understand. But with each workshop I see the “Ah-ha” moment happen in each participant and the power of this work is confirmed for me. Blending my artistic passion with the practical needs of our society has been a massive undertaking but it has also been the most important work of my life and I feel deeply grateful and honored by this journey.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
1st stop would be Taco’s at Guisado’s right off the bat. I’m an east sider who loves the water so, when I’m not limited by a pandemic, I try and cover as much of the city as I can. I’m also a big fan of high / end low end… So breakfast at Millie’s (counter only) but the next day may be the brunch at Yamashiro. Similarly I may take you to a show at Bob Baker Marionette theater and the next night a concert at Disney Music hall. I can walk to Dodger stadium so we’d work in a game, but we’d also walk around echo park lake and just people watch. Two days for DTLA- top spots: Grand Central market and then take angel’s flight up to the Broad. Then Olvera St. / Chinatown, Union Station, the free museums in that area showcasing native LA history, The arts district, Cole’s (and the varnish), The Last Bookstore, Langer’s, and walking down broadway over to the fashion and floral districts. We would also do a day in Pasadena that would include The Huntington, and the Gamble House, with a movie at the IPic just to spoil ourselves. Heading to the westside we’d head out to Point Dume, the Getty Villa and grab lunch at Neptune’s Net taking one of the canyon drives to get over there, then a drive down the PCH to get home. On the last day before I drop you at LAX we’d walk the Venice canals, head down to Manhattan Beach and drive through In and Out so you had a last bite of LA as you take off.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I would not be where I am today without an entire host of mothers, mentors, teachers, and sages around me. I struggled with confidence and self esteem from my childhood on, so having cheerleaders in my corner was essential for me not to give up and stay persistent. But the journey of my company would not have been possible without the initial support of a number of incredible friends and loved ones including my sister Julie Katz, my dear friends Sandra Madera and Leah Olbrich, constant champion Rob Watzke, and my advocate and advisor Anna Kennedy. It would be remiss of me not to also mention that my larger community of friends who attend my workshops, give me honest feedback, and encourage me not to give up have also played a large part in my growth and development. I am deeply grateful for each of their contributions.
Anisa El-Khouri & Turbine Arts (Rob Watzke)