Katharina Findlater makes things happen behind the scenes in Business Affairs. When she’s not assisting with projects, scheduling and everything in between, she’s spending her free time with her husband, Nick, and daughter, Sophia. She’s also from Germany and a basketball fanatic. Get to know Katharina in the interview below.
What is your job title? How would you both describe your role and responsibilities, and how has it changed during the COVID-19 pandemic?
I am Vice Chancellor Beth Hardin’s executive assistant. I support her and the Division of Business Affairs in many aspects that include preparing Beth for meetings, being in charge of special projects, keeping up with deadlines and assisting Cathy Bolen, the calendar wizard, in Beth’s calendar requests. I always like to say that the biggest part of my job is “other duties as assigned.” Since the pandemic began, assisting with the COVID-19 response has become my main special project. From setting up the town halls; ordering signs, t-shirts, banners and other items.; answering hundreds of inquiries from the campus community in our general intake form, organizing volunteers to build our welcome back to campus kits, I’ve just done what needed to get done.
What does your typical workday look like?
No workday looks the same for me. Even though it usually starts with a cup of coffee and catching up on Beth’s emails, I also comb through the calendar for any meetings that I may have to prepare for. Every day and week is different, and we usually have to pivot quickly, especially during this pandemic.
What is the most challenging part of your job? Most rewarding?
My priorities shift multiple times within a day or week, which is ironically the most challenging part of my job and at the same time what I absolutely love about it. It never gets boring, and I really enjoy the challenges it brings. I love managing big and small projects and working through every little detail. These past two years have been especially challenging for our division, but it gave me the chance to work with many colleagues across Business Affairs and the University as a whole, which has been a great and rewarding experience.
What is something you like to do in your spare time?
Well, since our three-year-old daughter, Sophia, consumes most of our time, my husband, Nick, and I basically do anything she likes. As she is growing older, I am spending more time learning how to care for her hair. This year I have spent hours on YouTube trying to learn about braids, twists and other styles, and how to put in beads. I had no idea what it takes and have a newfound respect for all women and parents who have to care for ethnically diverse hair. I am happy to say that I think I am doing a decent job.
What is something people may not know about you?
I absolutely love basketball! I grew up in Germany, which is a soccer country through and through, but my dad always played basketball and was very involved in my hometown basketball community. So I grew up around it. When I got older, my dad and I had season tickets to our hometown team as our Daddy-Daughter time. I just love the game. I don’t have a favorite NBA team though. I switch every season depending on who I enjoy watching most at the time. My favorite players of all time are Scottie Pippen -- since there would be no Jordan without Pippen -- Larry Bird, Anthony Davis and Luka Doncic. Another favorite, of course, is Dirk Nowitzki, who’s from Wuerzburg, my hometown. I was able to watch him develop, grow and get drafted to the NBA, so he has to be on my all-time favorite list as well.
Interview by Jordan Estabrook