5 questions with Caitlin McAllister, Catapult's New Managing Director

We are lucky to have Caitlin McAllister at Catapult as Managing Director, rounding out our team of April Lane, Executive Director, and Michelle Soble, Marketing Director. Caitlin will manage the day to day operations at Catapult, implement programming, and oversee the Peer Selection process.

Caitlin brings to Catapult her vast experience in operations, events, marketing and public relations. It’s only been a couple of weeks but it feels like Caitlin has been part of the Catapult family forever. Her enthusiasm for the community and eagerness to jump right in and get her hands “dirty” is infectious.

We sat down with Caitlin to learn more about her - her interests, her life BC (before Catapult), and most pressing, what possessed her to move to Chicago from Arizona in the dead of winter.

What were you doing before Catapult? What is your experience?

I was living in Arizona, working in luxury hospitality as a recreational programming director at a 5 diamond resort.

I started my career in advertising, realized I hated being tied to a desk and made my way into hospitality. My first gig in that industry was pouring wine and managing a tasting room for an Oregon winery. The bar was inside the Evergreen Aviation & Space museum in McMinnville and directly under the wing of the Spruce Goose - think the flying boat from “The Aviator.” Pretty cool.

How do you like working with entrepreneurs and tech startups? What do you think of Catapult so far?

This was an incredible opportunity for me to utilize my wheelhouse in a totally new arena. I am SO excited to learn about startups and entrepreneurship. I think Catapult is rich with knowledge and community, and I have felt incredibly welcomed. Thanks!  

Managing Director is a new position at Catapult. What are your goals for the short term and long term?

Great question. I think in the short term I want to get to know everyone at Catapult and their companies, familiarize myself with the industry (and the jargon!), and work on boosting the Catapultian (Catapult-er?) culture. With my programming background, I have a lot of ideas - starting with Halloween. Long term I would like to see Catapult evolve to its next level. How do we continue to establish ourselves in an ever changing landscape? What makes us special and how do we leverage that? How do we continue to attract new residents and maintain a strong alumni network?

You moved to Chicago from Arizona in January. Why would you do that?! Seriously though, what do you like most about living in Chicago?

Pure insanity (LOL). I knew I needed a change and had a surprisingly large community of people here in Chicago. I started to come and visit them and just fell in love. The architecture, the people, the fact that it didn’t smell and had open spaces - all of these things contributed to me making the move. January was strategically chosen, as I knew the weather would only get better. Now I’m living in perpetual fear. Winter is indeed coming, and like Jon Snow, I know nothing.

But seriously, my favorite part of living in Chicago is simply being in a metropolitan center. The culture, the food, the entertainment… It is so awesome and I love discovering new things every weekend.

What do you do in your free time?

I love spending time with my friends and family. I am a travel addict, so anytime I can get away and see something new I do! I like playing games - I’m a killer shark at bocce, and an avid air hockey enthusiast. I enjoy listening to Radiolab on the weekends and love making breakfast (avocado toast and poached eggs are my specialty).

Lightning round:

Best app for productivity?

Hmmm. I don’t really use one. My Google calendar app keeps me on track, but other than that it’s au natural. :)

Best app for killing time?

Two Dots

Favorite show to binge watch?

Mad Men and Outlander (shhhhh)

Last good book you read?

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Stay fit activity?

Love yoga, but haven’t really done it since I moved. Another plus of living in a city is how much you walk!