In her role as executive administrator, Katie Jensen keeps our team moving in the right direction while having fun doing it. Last summer, she shared seven creative ways we try to stay on mission as a team.
In this Q&A, Katie tells us about what first drew her to 1MISSION, what her day-to-day looks like, and talks about one of her passions outside the office.
How did you first get connected to 1MISSION?
I had the chance to see it from the beginning! When 1MISSION first started, my sister and her husband moved to Rocky Point for three years to help get things going. I was in college at the time, but I would visit them whenever I could and even went on a couple of build trips. I fell in love with the community. When we moved back to Phoenix, 1MISSION happened to be hiring and the rest is history. Actually, funny story, I got turned down for the position at first. But thanks to my amazing persuasion skills (ha!) I ended up getting the job. That was six and a half years ago. Hopefully by now I’ve proven my worth!
What does a typical day look like for you?
Honestly, there’s no “typical” day for me. Things are always changing, but I love the challenge. One day I’m planning our gala, the next day I’m working on staff development, and the day after that I’m organizing our office! I get to do all the behind-the-scenes stuff that helps keep our team going. As our team has grown over the years, I’ve gotten to focus a lot on our team culture and development so we can best support the families in the field. Because that’s what it’s all about.
What’s your favorite thing about 1MISSION’s work in the field?
I love that the work is so empowering. When a mom stands in her new house with tears in her eyes and says she never dreamed of having such a beautiful home, a home where her kids can be safe and healthy, a home that she worked for and earned, it doesn’t get more beautiful than that. Seeing people accomplish things they never thought were possible… I’m literally crying at my desk just thinking about it! I feel so lucky to be just a little part of that.
In addition to your work at 1MISSION, you also happen to be a superathlete. You completed a marathon several years ago. Then you turned around a did an Ironman. No biggie.
I’ve always loved a challenge. It’s both a blessing and a curse! So within a week of doing a marathon, I was already looking for the next big thing. Having watched the Ironman World Championships in Kona on TV, I knew it was something I wanted to do, so I started looking into it. Before signing up for Ironman Arizona, I didn’t own a bike and the extent of my swimming experience came from doing the doggy paddle at home. But when I set my mind to something, I do it.
A few months later I did my first triathlon. It was in Rocky Point, actually, and I ended up winning my age division! I should say that there were like two other people my age and they were on beach cruisers. But still. I did get a cool tequila bottle trophy out of the experience, so I’ll take it! From there I connected with some amazing Bikes Fight Poverty riders and I joined their tri club.
When it came to race time, after more than a year of training, I went into it absolutely terrified even though I knew I was fully prepared. I was determined to enjoy every second of it, and I did! I had a smile on my face the entire race. My family and friends cheered me on from before sunrise until after sunset. I laughed, I cried, I had a blast. And funny enough, I ended up running my fastest marathon to date… all after swimming 2.4 miles and biking 112!
Want to learn more about our team members? Meet them here.