Katie Levans

Hi! Meet Katie. Our next speaker. I followed Katie (not creepily) for a long time. From Sweet Tater Blog and Honeystuck to Plateshare, Tresata, Charlotte Agenda and more. To be honest, she intimidated me. I felt more like a fan than a friend. Then we sat, had coffee and who would’ve thought. She’s human… just like all of this. Since then she’s become someone I trust implicitly. A true friend.

Katie is also the first person to every make me feel like #WeLoveCLT was worth my time. That I was doing something truly awesome. Validation is a good feeling and she gave that to me. Thanks Katie. I asked her five questions.

What is your passion?

Hmm… how do I answer that? I think the thing that comes most naturally to me and lights me up the most but also benefits the most people is writing. I think that I can put words together in a way that tells a story that is engaging and appealing to people. In a way that I can’t do with spoken words for some reason. Writing is definitely my passion. I’ve had moments where I have forgotten that and not written for a long time. It’s lead to depression so when I do write I think that it lights me up.

What frustrates you?

Lots of things frustrate me actually. I get frustrated with myself more than anything. I’m harder on myself than anyone else ever could be so when I feel like i’m not living up to the potential that I can hit I’ll start constantly beating myself up. When I don’t feel like my life is aligned with things that I’m passionate about I also get really frustrated. I get frustrated when I hear people complaining about the same but not doing anything to change it. I’m preaching to the choir here. I could say the same about myself.

What was your first email address?

CatLover43@hotmail.com … how appropriate. That was me

What’s your go to escape activity?

Definitely working out. Running, yoga, any kind of workout is really the only time you’ll get my phone out of my hand. So that’s the only 45, hour long escape that I have from anything else. I have all my very best thoughts and ideas during those moments.

If I gave you $1,000 right now what would you do with it?

Ha, pay my taxes. No, hmmm… I immediately with $1,000 would look to so many people that need it more than I do. I won’t list them off but I know where it would go. There’s nothing I need right now.

Tell me about your parents.

I am the perfect mix of my parents who are polar opposites. My dad trusts no one until you’ve proven yourself to him. My mom trusts and loves everyone immediately almost to a fault. I am kind of the perfect balance of the two of them together.

Jolenna Mapes asked if you could instantly improve one area of your life what would it be?

Definitely time wasting, mind sucking activities on the internet. I wish I did less of that. Just in general.

You can find Katie on Twitter @katie_levans.

Rachel Martin

Hi! Meet Rachel. If I had to pick one word to describe her it’d be extraordinary. Her work as a designer. Extraordinary. Her desire to make the world a better place by only working with socially conscious businesses. Extraordinary. Her ability to light up a room with her smile. Extraordinary. She’s someone I wouldn’t mind running into every day. That would be… well, extraordinary. Also ask her about the local food alphabet photography series she’s doing. It’s awesome. You can see some of it here on her Instagram.

What is your passion?

My life and how I live it is driven by my passion for design. I’m really focused on sustainability and socially responsible design. Also how things are designed and how user experience is effected by it. Whether i’m walking down the street or i’m eating in a restaurant, let’s say a food experience. It’s all related to design. I see it everywhere.

What frustrates you?

Hmmm… what frustrates me? Lots of things. Bad drivers in Charlotte definitely frustrate me.

What’s your greatest indulgence?

Food, craft beer and crazy craft cocktails. That’s probably a passion too. Food and drink.

If you were a wrestler what would your entrance song be?

I like some good 80’s hairband music. We’re not gonna take it by Twisted Sister or Def Leopard pour some sugar on me. This is terrible. Oh man. I’m going to hate reading this later.

If you could have a conversation with someone that is no longer living who would that be and why?

Probably my grandfather or grandmother on my dad’s side. I don’t know as much as I would like about my family history and I would love to just pick their brains. I love history and stories when I meet people and I lived so far away from them so I never really had the chance to hear about their childhoods and life. When I was younger I couldn’t have cared less but now that I’m older I look back and wish I had just listened a little more.

Savannah asked what are three physical things you love about yourself?

My smile. Maybe my hair somedays, usually second day dirty and my feet.

You can find more of Rachel’s work on her site here or follow her on Twitter at @Rachellmartin. She also just made Charlotte Agenda’s top 31 designers in Charlotte list.

Aaron Dodge

Hi! Meet Aaron. There’s very few people I know in real life that have a true knack for comedy. It’s a skill. Funny all the time is hard. Aaron is that person. He’s hysterical. I think consistency is everything and he nails it 100% of the time. We all need a little more laughter in our lives. Get to know Aaron. It’s a guarantee. He’s awesome. Also, ask him about the time he set up a camera in the front yard of his house and danced in the snow. I have stomach pains I laughed so hard.

What is your passion?

My passion is definitely making people laugh. For sure. Everyone always tells me that I missed my calling to be an actor. My entire life I’ve heard you remind me a lot of Jim Carrey. I get that a lot. I’d say that’s my passion.

If you were a wrestler what would your intro song be?

I would probably have to say Skrillex Bangarang. I have a different one if that’s not ok. No? Ok cool, then Skrillex. I just started listening to dubstep a couple years ago and Skrillex is awesome.

What frustrates you?

Ohhh. 100%! On social media when people post something and then like it in general OR like it before anyone else likes it. It bothers me because obviously you like the post because you posted it. Why would you post it if you didn’t like it? I’m sorry. Huge pain point for me. Sorry.

If you could move somewhere to live the rest of your life where would you move?

I’m gonna go with… this might be cheesy but I don’t see myself ever moving far from my family so I could see myself living in Charlotte for a long time. If I take my family out of it I’d say Sydney Australia. I have a college buddy from South of Sydney and he talks about it like it’s the greatest place in the world. I also worked on my Australian accent a lot in college. I think I could really work well there. Good day mate.

What’s your perfect day look like?

A perfect day for me is waking up, bacon and eggs for breakfast, then literally doing something outside all day. Could be a workout, then popping around the city. Love sand volleyball and we have that at VGBG now. Music festivals, outdoor festivals, breweries. I’m addicted to really good sunsets. Anything athletic inclined. Freedom park, knights game.

Addie asked what was your screen name in high school?

RinMan156. AaRON so Rin. My baseball number was 15 and my basketball number was 6.

You can find Aaron on Twitter at @Mr_Aaron_dodge.

Brigitte Acosta

Hi! Meet Brigitte. Another Twitter turned IRL friendship. I try to break down those digital barriers and meet as many people IRL as possible. I can definitely say Brigitte is without a doubt one of the more fascinating people I’ve met. I try to keep my meetings very scheduled because they can quickly get off the rails. This is one that I’d wish I had left a little more time for. She’s interesting and doing some awesome things here in Charlotte. Ask her about Share Charlotte or if she’d take the red pill or the blue pill.

What is your greatest indulgence?

I really do enjoy watching movies. I’m not a film buff but for a long time I was obsessed with foreign movies and I just loved seeing and experiencing different cultures and how people reacted to them. I like perspective so I guess my greatest indulgence is other people’s perspective.

What frustrates you?

I get frustrated when people ask me what I do. Only because there’s so much more to who we are than our jobs and who we are as a person and what defines me. Whenever I talk to someone I like to ask them different questions, things that start a conversation. Maybe we’re out and they are drinking a unique looking drink or they’re reading a magazine I’m unfamiliar with. I’ll ask them about those things. I feel like I’m very good at starting a conversation. I’d rather lead in with those type of questions.

How do you think people would describe you?

My friends say that I am very extroverted and fun to be around. I think some people would describe me as fearless. Someone that just does things on the fly. How would I describe myself? I’m just curious about everything. I really do like experiencing different things, traveling and getting outside my own box. People don’t know what I’m about when they look at me so I try really hard to flip the script.

Tell me 3 physical things you love about yourself?

This is a new one. This is good. A lot of people don’t like their hair. I love my hair. I’m not going to lie. So that’s one. I really like my eyes. I always get compliments on them whether they’re expressive or something. They definitely portray my personality. The last thing I like about myself are my hands. A long time ago I thought to myself if I didn’t have this many scars on my hands I could definitely be a hand model.

Katie Levans wanted to know about your parents.

Wow, I could go on and on. Both of my parents are my best friends. I’m an only child. This is going to sound weird. My parents are very friendly people but they are also kind of to themselves. They really rely on each other for companionship and friendship. And so I seem how they are. Very individual and independent. My dad, he is his own person and he’s very caring and respectful. So a friendly guy but he doesn’t change for other people. My mom is very similar to that. I’ve always had my parents to look up to. They always said people would love me for who I am. I don’t need to change how I am to get people to love me. Some people won’t like me and that’s ok. They’ve instilled a huge sense of confidence in me growing up.

Steven Radney said tell me about a great experience you had in a team setting.

Hmm. I’ve had so many. I’ve met so many people in my life along the way. So many people have contributed to my self-discovery. I don’t think I can think of one instance. Ok, here. It’s actually related to my job since I really enjoy the people I work with. When we were organizing the giving Tuesday campaign for Share Charlotte I was working with all women. I was still learning about the non-profit scene. What I loved is that there was so much creativity and collaboration. Nothing was off the table. It was just a matter of honing in on things that really touched us as an individuals and I think that team experience really helped me love Charlotte a little more.

You can find Brigitte on Twitter @brihjit.

Green Teacher Network

Hi! Meet Beth. I met her working on a project for Green Teacher Network so I’ve seen first hand the passion and drive to make a difference. I’m a pretty positive, happy person but Beth takes it to a new level. People that always smile have a skill. Beth has this skill. She’s awesome and making it happen here in Charlotte. Show your support. Give her a shout and say keep up the good work. Also, ask her about her haircut as a child or her unrivaled goofballness.

What is your passion?

Overall, just making the world a better place. As cheesy as that sounds I want leave it better than when I came into it. My passion is food nutrition and those sort of things so helping people realize that food is medicine and it impacts your longevity, your quality of life. Those sort of things would be my passion.

What frustrates you?

One of the things that I’ve encountered here in Charlotte but is getting a lot better is all these different groups that are working towards the same thing but not together. Uniting all the powers and blow it up. Ya know, make it happen and in a bigger way. It frustrates me that we’re not getting it all done together.

If I gave you $10,000 right now what would you do with it?

$10,000. That’s a good chunk of money. I’d love go on a trip to Europe. Maybe bank some of it. Non-profit wise, there’s so many things we could use it for. I’d say just use it in creative ways to spread GTN’s cause.

What has been your hardest trial and how did it change you?

I would say my hardest trial both personally and professionally was SEED20. It was incredibly hard and time intensive but it changed me and opened up my eyes. I met so many other non-profits doing awesome things. I met a lot cool people that are incredibly supportive like Hannah Levinson. It was incredible. But it was hard to go through all the motions and not make it to the top in the end. Putting your all, your heart into something and not being able to go to the end was really defeating. But it’s all about picking yourself up, learning from it all and continuing to make it happen.

Tell me something incredibly embarrassing about yourself that you don’t usually share?

Andrew asked What is missing from Charlotte that would support non-profits?

I would say some sort of organization that gets all these creative minds together. Example, we need a graphic designer or people on our board that are financially savvy cause I’m not. An organization where people could go and say I really want to help. The organization then based on their passion puts them in touch with non-profits that need the type of services they offer. In our case they would put a graphic designer in touch with us as opposed to us trying to find a designer that understands the non-profit space and budgetary restrictions at times.

Eric Halili asked If you have the ability to change one thing about Charlotte, what would it be?

I would make it more walkable/bike friendly. I can have a touch of road rage at times (I may or may not have laid on my horn twice today) and would love to get rid of my car if I could.

You can find Beth on Twitter at @BethMark21. Check out GTN Charlotte and show your support. This is a simple as saying awesome job, love what you’re doing or maybe a high five.

Kelly DeMario

Hi! Meet Kelly. I met her and her husband John last week through CLT Food Fight and continue to be amazed by the passion and drive to make a difference. It’s not just something they do. It’s a part of their culture and something I aspire to engrain in the little family I’m trying to grow on my own right now. They are truly inspirational. Kelly organizes Purses With A Purpose. Her big event is this Saturday, May 9th at the Ballantyne hotel. From what I can tell it looks like quite a few ladies line up REALLY early to get first dibs on the purses. Be there… it’s awesome.

What is your passion?

Ultimately just making a small smudge on the world and making a difference in ways that’s comfortable and meshes with our lifestyle. For John and I it really struck a chord with us when we started a family and had little people around all the time. It makes you think someone is watching every little thing I do and say. It eally makes you want to set a good example and put our best food forward. I’d say it brought out what was already inside of us. Let’s see what we can do locally and it it happens to grow and keep on going then all the better. That’s what we feel like. It’s family culture.

What frustrates you?

I’d say the complete opposite of what I said. People that can’t see the forest from the trees. I think what I realized from doing Purses with a Purpose is that it’s little and I get that but that’s ok for me. But so many people say If I can’t raise a million dollars then why raise the first dollar. When if they just kept asking and pushing and after the 20th no you get a yes it would break down a huge hole in the wall and make a doorway to all sorts of opportunities. I’m completely normal. I’m a mom, a wife, doing laundry and all that stuff and I’m able to do this. I picked purses. What’s your thing? It’s right there but they just don’t take the first step. I can do it so why can’t they.

What’s your go to escape activity for yourself?

My uniform combination is a perfect book and a waterfall. John and I just discovered through Pinterest this water here in North Carolina. I told John we need to go HERE but it ended up being on private property. Turns out the owners are really cool and they’ll let you come park and experience it all. So escape for me is a perfect waterfall in North Carolina. Pitch a lawn chair in the shallow part of the water, John and the kids in front of me, the perfect book and maybe a great drink right next to me. That’s my fuel.

How do you think people would describe you?

Giving. That I am a pleaser. I like everyone to have a good time. I’m that person that will just knock myself over and wear myself out to ensure someone has a good time. Perfectionist to a fault and that it gets in my way at times.

What was your screen name in high school?

Oh no, see I’m so vanilla and high compliance. It was just the first part of my first and less name and the year that I was born. That’s it. Sorry i’m vanilla.

McKenna asked what is your favorite hangout spot in Charlotte?

Oh god. I’m such a nerd. {laughing} Target.

What’s one thing you’d like to do in Charlotte in the next 3 months?

It looks like I need to find a new hangout spot so just getting out there and seeing more of the city.

You can find Kelly on Twitter at @PursesWAP and check out her event THIS Saturday the 9th. The information for that is here on Facebook.

Savannah Holder

Hi! Meet Savannah. She’s the designer of the #WeLoveCLT crown. A foster parent to all the puppies. An amazing friend who will always have you laughing. A World Explorer. All the things. Nothing stops her.

She also just turned 24 and is doing a 2400 for 24 campaign with Charity Water. The goal of $2,400 was reached so she’s extending it and going for $3,000. Check it out here. So awesome.

What are you passionate about?

I’m really passionate about being a fire starter. I love being the sidekick and really showing up along side something or someone and seeing them catch that flame. Ya know, something that they are really excited about. If I am really excited about, let’s say Charlotte and I tell someone about it and then all of sudden you see them get excited about Charlotte. That’s it. I love it.

Where do you wish you were from?

Ooooooo, hmmmm. I wish I was from Australia. {I asked why?} Because it would be so much easier to meet someone if I had a cool accent. Whenever I go anywhere outside North Carolina if I have a southern accent that day I’ll get introduced to people much quicker and so ANYWHERE you have Australian accent you’re going to meet a ton of people.

If you could commit any crime if it was legal what would it be?

I would probably punch people in the face for smoking cigarettes in the car when their kids are with them. So… assault.

If I gave you $10,000 right now what would you do with it?

I would use part of it to fund a trip to Italy and then the other larger part of it to go be a field volunteer with Charity Water. See a well get built start to finish.

@Corriasmith asked how did you get so fly?

Have you seen my mom?

Tim Cheadle asked if you could make your own ice cream what’s in it and why?

Dude, I would put dark chocolate, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. Why? Well, why not? That would be the best ice cream ever.

Check out Savannah’s portfolio site here or go give her a visit at Social Design House.


Welcome to Have You Supported?! Each and every Friday we’ll be highlighting one awesome Charlotte non-profit but not the non-profit itself exactly. We’re going to introduce one awesome person making things happen behind the scenes.

Hi! Meet Dee of Uncommen. We met at the Daily Press in NODA. His passion for connecting the dots and educating everyone around him is amazing. He’s awesome. His app UNCOMMEN is designed to connect men in the key relationships of their life through short, disruptive, and fun video driven challenges. We asked him 5 questions. Andrew of Heart Meter asked him one.

What is your passion?

What is my passion? My passion is seeing my multiple passions converge and serving others through that convergence of those passions. Through Uncommen my passion is fatherhood and “attacking the dad crisis in America”. I’m also a technologist and an educator. I also have a ministry and sociology background so I look at the world through this lens of ethical responsibility in helping to improve society but also equipping others to do those things as well.

What frustrates you?

That’s a big question. What would frustrates me is if I walked into @809(co-working space) and you told me all of this was private offices and everyone had their individual space where they work in isolation. That they are productive working in isolation and independently. I see those as mutually exclusive. Independence and isolation combined does not produce success when it pertains to serving others. It takes collaboration.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Conversation and coffee. The Daily Press!

If I gave you $10,000 right now what would you do with it?

I would create a think tank. Because so many professional’s expertise costs and costs beyond what many could pay. I would create a think tank around aiming to solve societal ills as they pertain to family and say how can be team up in order to connect the dots because we are so fragmented. Otherwise I’d say just technology. I’m a technology guy. I love having all the latest greatest tech.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

I remember when I played percussion and I was the pastoral assistant at the church so I was on the staff at the church and I played percussion. The whole teams up on stage practicing together. The speaker popped really loud in the back. The sound guy must have done something cause it went “BWAHAHAHAR” really loud and it through me off. I was in the zone. I looked back and the sound guy is laughing. I got so mad I kicked the monitor picked up something and through it across the room. In that absolute moment I knew I lost my cool big time. I had to leave. I walked off and was like what did i just do. Definitely the most embarrassing low point for me there.

Andrew of Heart Meter asked what is Charlotte missing for non-profits?

Unity. I love SVP and SEED20 because they are doing great things to get the Charlotte non-profits speaking together and meeting one another. I am forever grateful for what they’ve done for Uncommen. In that space I didn’t consider us strong collaborators. We had to initiate that. Those who wanted to collaborate. There’s a lot of great non-profits doing awesome things here and were not working together to maximize our strengths.

Tim Cheadle

Hi! Meet Tim. We met at @809 back in September 2014 and have since become great friends. We share a common interest in bringing awesome people together. He loves the concept of co-working and seeing what happens when talented people come together. He’s also been my new dad support group which is awesome and has helped me through some tough times during the first four months of my daughters life. He’s awesome. Also, ask him about Bourbon, his time at Google or his mission to provide the ultimate customer experience.

Where does your drive come from?

My drive comes from pursuing the lifestyle that I want. Rather than chasing money or any sort of possessions, anything like that we moved here knowing that we wanted to start a family, work from anywhere and not be beholden to somebody else’s schedule. We really wanted to enjoy our professional lives just as much as our personal lives. That is my biggest motivation.

What is your greatest indulgence?

Bourbon. I buy way too much bourbon.

In one sentence, what advice would you give yourself ten years ago?

That’s a good question. Focus on saving money but don’t focus on money.

Where would you move to live the rest of your life if you could only move one more time?

My gut feeling is Boulder, Colorado. I’m gonna throw that out there. I love the Western United States. I love the mountains. I love the food. I like being able to travel to other places really easily and Boulder has all of that.

What is your least favorite trait about yourself?

I try to over optimize. I have grass is greener syndrome.

Amy Chiou asked Tim if you had a set of day of the week underwear what is your favorite day and what color are they?

Friday and orange. Without hesitation. I love Friday and orange is my favorite color.

You can find Tim hanging out at @809, on Twitter @timcheadle or contact him through his company Rational Means.

Amy Chiou

Hi! Meet Amy. When I first met her I told her I hated politics and that I rarely if ever engaged them. (I’ve never voted nor am I registered to do so). Instead of dismissing me outright she actively listened to my issues and followed them with a thoughtful response. Turns out she’s the first person EVER to make me feel like I should care and that my voice mattered. She has an immense respect for everyone no matter what side of the coin they fall on. I appreciate that. She’s awesome. Also, ask her about her startup library, obsession with queso or her app Ballot.

I asked her five questions. McKenna Brandon who we introduced you to previously on Charlotte Agenda asked her one. We also asked several people how they would describe Amy Chiou. Their responses are at the bottom.

What is your passion?

My passion is connecting people so they can realize their potential and change the world together.

What frustrates you?

People who doubt themselves and then doubt others as it spreads. Also, I am easily frustrated by egos that get in the way of work coming to life.

Where do you excel and where do you quickly deflate?

I excel when it comes to meeting and connecting new people. I’m very good at getting easily attached and excited about people and then passing it around. Spreading it… it’s like glitter or confetti. I would say I’m easily deflated when it comes to things that involve numbers. That is not one of my strong suits against all stereotypes.

If you were a wrestler what would your entrance song be?

Lose Yourself by Eminem. It has been my mantra through every major thing in life. That is the most played song on my playlist. It got me through the Bar exam, the LSAT. Either that or a Taylor Swift song of sorts so there’s plenty of judgement opportunities at either end of that spectrum.

How do you think people would describe you?

I think people would describe me as cheerful and that I know a lot of people.

McKenna Brandon asked what’s your favorite hang out spot in Charlotte?

My favorite hangout in Charlotte is less about place and more about people and so it is any time that I can gather a group of friends. It can be simple like a couch or I’m a big fan of community tables cause it can fit more people.

I decided I’d ask a couple people how they would describe Amy. Here’s what they said.

“Ambitious Millennial with a passion for politics.” -Hannah Levinson

“An engaging entrepreneur and civic activist who listens and respects as much as she persuades and moves.” -Tim Cheadle

“All of her parties are about saving the world, which rocks.” -Sen. Jeff Jackson

You can find Amy all over the place. She’s got her hands in all sorts of awesome here in Charlotte. I’d start with #WTFweVote.