AZ Tech Podcast Episode 10: Kate Sieker, Executive Director, PHX StartupWeek

Kate Sieker loves Arizona. Like really loves Arizona. She loves it so much that she’s made it her job to convince others to love Arizona, too. Kate helps build organizations and events that bring together innovative Arizonans to convince business leaders both inside and outside of the state how great it is.

Kate has always been focused on empowering people throughout her career as the people guru at several startups. But in early 2020, Kate felt her world completely shift under her feet. Her father passed away from cancer and a week later she found out she was pregnant. Not only that, but she was also starting to quarantine for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kate sat at home for the entire month of March grieving the loss of her father — newly pregnant and rethinking everything. She quit her job and took a much-needed break.

“Okay, shit. What do I do?” Kate said about that time in an interview for AZ Tech Podcast.

One of the only things that made her feel better, she realized, was talking about how to build the entrepreneur community in Arizona. She threw herself into that work and is now part of several organizations that do just that.

Now, Kate says she’s more grounded than ever — and busy. She’s co-founder and executive director of ThrivePHX, Director of Community at StartupAZ Foundation and she’s also spearheading PHX StartupWeek at the end of April. The conference, which will be completely virtual for the first time ever, is a more scaled-down version this year. They’re having to re-invent how to still build bridges without people being able to look someone in the eye and shake hands. Still, she’s excited and evangelizing about it to anyone who will listen.

In this episode, Hamid talks to Kate about the journey she took to get to where she is, what it was like to be pregnant in a pandemic and how her dedication to eating healthy (like eating a salad at Chick-fil-A while her son eats chicken nuggets) has significantly improved her mental and physical health.