Who is Tania Katan?

The inside scoop on the creator of the “It was never a dress” campaign

by Staff Written

November 24, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Award-winning author.

French bulldog lover.

Keynote speaker.

Performer.

Content curator.

But most importantly, she describes herself as “a creative trespasser, BAM.”

For those of you who know Tania, you can imagine how many pages of notes I accumulated in just one interview. To keep things interesting, I drew out what I found to be the most compelling moments of our conversation. 

Knowing Tania is someone deeply involved in the arts, naturally my first thought was why come to Arizona? Then my next question after watching her Tedx Talk, was how can someone be so in-tune with their audience? Here’s a little insight on what drives her and inspires her.

Why Arizona?

“Eight years ago, my lady friend got a great job here. What I did for the first five years was do everything I could to not be in Arizona. Then I thought maybe this is an opportunity for me to bring all the arts and culture I have had the privilege to be a part of here. 

Arizona is not saturated with the arts like New York City and Los Angeles. I was at a critical moment with my book coming out, but I thought, hey we get to live in a house that is bigger than 300 square feet.

I realized we live a really luxurious life here and that it’s not so bad in the winter…it’s actually kind of pretty.

It’s like Arizona and I have been dating for about 5 months and we like each other but we aren’t talking marriage yet – but we could.” 

What was the driving factor that made you move from SMoCA to Axosoft?

“I got to a point where I wanted to grow even more audiences for the museum. At that point, I was supported in creation but the value wasn’t there for growing further and I wanted to continue on this trajectory of addressing significant challenges.

The owners of Axosoft have always wanted a tech evangelist and I was like, I think that would freak my Jewish mom out.

They explained an evangelist, as someone who speaks publicly, writes creatively and makes connections to apt audiences; this is exactly what I’ve done my entire personal and professional life! I thought, what an awesome challenge to take a software tool and make a connection between creative arts.

What’s been cool about working at Axosoft is they hired an artist and trusted in whatever special sauce I was bringing.”

How do you prepare for a public speaking opportunity?

“A lot of hard work. I create a foundation for every talk through research and writing. I write 17 million drafts then I take cue cards and I take a pen and I write more. But here’s the trick, muscle memory. Every time I write it down my DNA says I REMEMBER THIS. It takes months. At that point, it is in my body so I can show up and be present with the audience and respond in real time.”

Do you have any advice on public speaking?

“The most profound thing I learned is that it is not about you. The minute you realize you are there for an audience and not for yourself, then you cease to be nervous. We are nervous because we are worried about ego. Instead, try offering a gift to the audience because nobody is going to say no to a gift.”

What’s next for you or for the creative community?

“I see a cappuccino around midday, and also investing in innovation.”

What would you say to a woman or girl who is holding back on who they are?

“I would say that you deserve to be seen, heard and celebrated. Find and use your voice every chance you get!”   

We know a lot about what you like to do, but what don’t you like to do?

“I’m not keen on doing the dishes and I’m not so talented with a Swiffer.”

What do you have to say about the It Was Never a Dress campaign?

“It’s amazing how all the good ideas live in the everyday, in the margins and, sometimes, all it takes are people who have been trained to find the extraordinary in the ordinary (artists) to help bring them to life! We didn’t know it would go viral, but that’s a testament to technology and need.” 

What did I, Cara Pritulsky, learn from this conversation? Becoming successful and well respected in your community takes an incredible amount of hard work, passion, coffee and risk taking. I also learned that being able to express the energy of Tania Katan cannot be described in only one word, but can be summed up in three: dynamic, refreshing and daring.

November 24, 2015 at 12:11 pm

Staff Written