Chicago, United States
Katie, 38
Consultant, 270 Strategies
see her Chicago city guide

ask Katie about


a bit about Katie

What do you do and why do you do it?

I advise on international campaigns and projects that address complex global issues, and I build systems that support democratic participation for populations (and their governments) in transition. I love helping people adapt the things I've learned to their unique cultures and situations. It's always a new puzzle to solve together and I love the adventure. I also care about making governments work better for the people they serve and think this is one of the best ways to do it.

What’s the worst job you’ve ever had and why was it so effing bad?

I've had a job or two in the past where management simply refused to address critical issues that were apparent to everyone. It sucked. But I've been really lucky to mostly have fantastic jobs.

Were you born and raised in Chicago? If not, where did you grow up and what brought you to Chicago?

Nope! Born and grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. Then high school in Indiana. I came to Chicago for university, then came back again about 10 years after I'd graduated. This time around, I've been here for 4 years.

What’s your current hood in Chicago and what’s the best/worst thing about it?

Logan Square. The rumors are true: it's hipster heaven.

What kind of music do you listen to and what kind of music do you absolutely HATE?

Depends on the season and what I'm doing! While I'm working, I love anything high tempo, so go for Girl Talk, Kanye, and Rye Rye. As the weather turns to spring and summer, it's a lot of classic stuff: Talking Heads, Led Zeppelin, Tina Turner, The Shadows, Beach Boys, The Rolling Stones, etc. Lately, I've been listening to a lot of Gil Evans, Phil Cohran, Bud Powell Trio, and Ike Turner's solo stuff. There's not much music I HATE: but Matchbox 20 and anything Rob Thomas touches would fall into that category.

You’re broken hearted - what tracks does your heartbreak playlist consist of?

Kate Bush. Lori Anderson. Robyn.

Name the best TV shows of all time, and what makes them so good?

Twin Peaks - nothing else like it on television; and particularly the unique mix of weird, tense, and hilarious. 30 Rock - the most consistent, and DENSE, comedy ever made. The Wire - finally, we were let into the lives of people with no good choices and could understand how poor communities end up trapped in violence and poverty. Also, the script wasn't written 'for the audience', which at the time, was pretty new. As far as current TV, I'm really enjoying The Expanse. It's hard scifi, with solid characters and story lines.

Name some spots in Chicago that are good for a Tinder date.

Probably any restaurant along Randolph or Fulton in the near West Side will be a safe bet.

Which public figure would you want to see “roasted”? (every public figure is fair game).

Surely, Donald Trump.

Who’s your hero and where in Chicago would you take them out for a serious hang?

The leading ladies of international politics are all heroes: Samantha Power, Madeleine Albright, Christine LaGarde, Angela Merkel, Condaleeza Rice. I'd love to take them out for drinks and hear all their stories and advice. Maybe Three Dots and a Dash. That's a cheeky basement tiki bar with fantastic tropical creations.

Where do you buy those fabulous clothes of yours?

Nordstrom Rack.

What’s the area/ spot in town you’ll never be caught dead in?

Each Chicago neighborhood has its own treasures. I honestly can't think of one I wouldn't visit.

What’s the thing you LOVE to do in your city that you never get to do?

This isn't a "never get to do" - but I definitely would love to see more live music. There are loads of great venues for any sort of music you'd want to hear.

Where do you go in Chicago for a casual night out?

Lula Cafe is one of my favorite spots in Chicago. I'm there nearly every weekend for brunch, but will also go there for a casual drink.

Where would you go in Chicago to celebrate some freaking good news?

Longman and Eagle. Another fantastic restaurant in Logan Square (with a Michelin Star!), a back patio for afternoon drinks, and a massive whiskey selection.

What’s your choice of transportation in Chicago and why?

Public transport or Uber. The L is great for getting around the city, unless you want to cross east<>west. Then you're stuck on a bus, or taking a car if you want to get there faster.

What are the Chicago spots a first-time visitor can’t miss?

The Art Institute of Chicago and the Lincoln Park Zoo. If you're here in the summer, find whichever neighborhood festival is happening that weekend and head straight for it.

What are the Chicago spots tourists should run from screaming?

Willis Tower.

Tomorrow’s your last day in Chicago. How do you spend it?

Brunch at Lula. Stroll through the Seminary Coop Bookstore in Hyde Park. Walk along the lakeshore. Evening drinks back in Logan Square at Billy Sunday.

What’s your favorite vacation city in the world and why?

This changes frequently. But currently, it's London. You can walk anywhere, or take the Tube. And it's impossible to be bored. The museums are free, the walk along the Thames is magical, and any time you need a break, there's always a pub to duck into for a pint.

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Nicholas Zepeda