On the run with Katie Braun Name: Katie Braun Age: 25 Lives: Green Bay Occupation: Marketing manager at Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists of Green Bay. Education: UW-La Crosse, bachelor’s degree in marketing and information systems. What’s on her playlist? Anything country; Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song.” A small illustration of her overachiever-ness: Chasing Katie Braun is a little like chasing fog. Even if you manage to reach her (and at an hour when the sun isn’t yet at its highest), you’re still her third or fourth meeting for the day, and there’s one right after you. Her day rockets early and often lands her in back-to-back meetings starting at 7 a.m. It’s enough to make a person yearn for a nap just thinking about it. She probably even runs eight miles before going to work, right? “When I’m training, I do,” she says. In addition to her fulltime job directing marketing for nine Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Specialists in northeast Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, the Seymour native volunteers as Northeast Wisconsin regional director for myTeam Triumph Wisconsin, overseeing staff to plan events while working with captains, volunteers and families as an able-bodied athlete.
The national nonprofit athletic mentoring program lets people with disabilities participate in races with the help of special wheeled race chairs and angels who push or pull them. Unlike Special Olympics, myTeam Triumph doesn’t create its own events but brings athletes to existing events. Executive Director Christian Jensen said each year myTeam gets athletes to 15 road races, walks and triathlons, such as the Bellin Run, Green Bay Marathon and Y to Y Run in Appleton. Running is her “me” pastime, Braun said. Three years ago her employer sponsored a myTeam chair in the Packers 5K run. “Being a runner, I always saw the red shirts running around and I always wanted to get involved,” Braun said. “They (myTeam) offered me the opportunity to come in and help plan an event and after that, it kind of led to my role. I fell in love with the organization.” Braun devotes hours after work and on weekends to myTeam, Jensen said. “It’s definitely a very time-consuming, intensive process,” Jensen said. “She definitely is someone who takes a lot on. She’s very dedicated and reliable.” And Braun does it with a smile. “She’s constantly positive. She’s someone that always searches for a positive solution, in any situation,” Jensen said. “Stuff is going to come up where, ‘Oh, man, this happened and how do we deal with this?’ but she’s always like ‘How can we have a positive energy, a positive vibe toward creating a solution?’” Braun chairs the steering and executive committees for the Greater Green Bay Chamber’s Current Young Professionals group where Current YP Program Manager Brian Johnson finds her irreplaceable. “I would be lost without her,” said Johnson. “Her leadership has been tremendous through a challenging transitional time, and she has been very impactful with securing support of additional members in a lot of critical areas.” Johnson called her “advanced beyond her years” and said she’s one of the most fantastic people he knows. Braun also finds time to be the corporate chair of the Walk to Cure Arthritis the last two years, and she and her family host the Ride to End Alzheimer’s equestrian event in Seymour. The latter cause is near to her heart, as her grandmother has the condition. The first year, the event earned more than $6,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association. Helping others is a way of life she’s always known. “I always remember my parents being involved in things, which got me involved,” she said. “My dad was a volunteer firefighter my whole life, and my mom’s been very involved in Green Bay. So that probably pulled me in at a young age. I thought it was normal.” So how does she do everything she does without going crazy? “You have to really like what you are doing,” Braun said. “If I was running a lot and didn’t feel a lot of passion in what I was doing, I would get burned out, but I really like what I am doing, whether it’s for myTeam Triumph or Current or work or whatever, I just really like what I’m doing. And I like what those organizations are about, so that keeps me from losing my mind.”
NNB2B | August 2015 | 17