Downtime with Katy Brooks

Unwinding with the CEO and president of Bend’s Chamber of Commerce

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What are you reading?  

Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow by Gabrielle Zevin and Dinners With Ruth by Nina Totenberg. 

What are you watching? 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse 

What are you listening to? 

Tom Petty, Mt. Joy, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, Aerosmith and Astrud Gilberto. I’m also trying artists my 19-year-old twins listen to — keeping it fresh.   

Katy Brooks deploys her saber on a bottle of Champagne

What is your must-have gadget?  

Cell phone, Champagne saber. Seriously ready for anything with those two things.

What are your hobbies/interests?  

Mountain biking, hiking, gardening, traveling and chopping off the tops of Champagne bottles at special occasions. I like being curious about things I don’t understand, like dark matter — what the heck is that? 

What was your childhood or earliest ambition?  

Own a horse stable, be a world explorer, become an Olympic Nordic skier, marry Jonny Quest — yeah, I know he is a cartoon…but dang, what a lifestyle! 

Where is your favorite place to vacation?   

Italy, Camp Sherman, my house — I live in Bend, it’s awesome here.  

What is your biggest extravagance?   

Really good Champagne and earrings.

What motivates you to come to work?   

I love Bend and its diverse business landscape. One of my favorite things about working here is that it is a collaborative community; we regularly work with others to make things happen for businesses and their people. This year we were able to raise funds for affordable homes for our local workforce — a difficult achievement in Bend.   

Who is your professional role model?   

I have a lot of them for different reasons, but a few come to mind based on grit, vision and leadership. Julie Harrelson is a local venture investor and managing director of Cascade Seed Fund. She is smart as hell and got into the business later in her career, learning it from the ground up. Being willing to try new things and commit to it is something that I value. From the past, I reflect sometimes on Norma Paulus. She was the Oregon Secretary of State in the late 1970s, when Oregon voting laws were being tested with the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in Eastern Oregon pressing the limits on voter registration, among other things. I recently read a book about her called The Only Woman in the Room, and she was a rock. Made tough calls and convinced others to follow her lead when the state was in a lot of turmoil…sound familiar? Locally, in Bend, Bill Smith and Mike Hollern are two visionaries who helped change a logging town into what Bend is today.  

What ambitions do you still have?   

To be a part of making something with lasting value to people and to the community. Also to find a way to spend a few months a year traveling.

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