{Women Who Move Buffalo} Katie Jordan at the Buffalo Zoo

IMG_3603 This week's Woman Who Moves Buffalo is person who is not only a colleague of mine, she is a friend and mentor and overall wonderful person, her name is Katie Jordan. Katie is the Senior Events Director at the Buffalo Zoo and not only shares a passion for animals, but she loves Buffalo!

Katie graduated from New York University in 2008 with a bachelor degree in Media, Culture and Communications.  She didn't really have a clear idea of what she wanted her career path to be until she started working with a small firm in New York during her senior year. It was made up of two women who had just started an event business in Manhattan. Since it was only a two person company at the time, she was able to really dive into the business and get some great experience out of it. They relied on her to be part of their team and also gave her the creative freedom to bring her own ideas to the table. Through this, she found her path and learned to love being a part of the events world.


Katie has always been someone who looks to better the community and really wanted to come back to Buffalo and use her career to do so. "Non-profit work isn't glamorous, but the end result is definitely worth it. To see your work benefit someone or something really puts everything into perspective." To have your work mean something is very important to me. Animal conservation is very important to me, and working for the Buffalo Zoo has given me the opportunity to use my skills and expertise to help a cause I am very close to. I am able to raise funds for the Zoo, while also educating and providing awareness to the Buffalo community about why the Zoo is so important to our city and to the survival of precious species around the World."


Other than seeing her work mean something, having a job that allows Katie to work closely with some of the most beautiful creatures on Earth is incredible. From being able to feed elephants, getting kissed by a sea lion, working up close with a baby rhino or introducing a baby polar bear to the public, her job is unlike any other and she couldn't be more grateful for it.  Each day is unique and she never knows what to expect.

When I asked her what she loves about Buffalo this is what she said: "When I moved to New York City, I didn't expect to come back to Buffalo so soon. After living in Manhattan, I appreciated what I had left in Buffalo right away. Unlike other cities, Buffalo is a place where life long friends can be found on any given day. I've learned this first hand and can thank community spirit and friendliness for it. Not only are great things on the horizon for Buffalo as a whole, but more and more people are recognizing that the positives are outweighing the negatives in our city, and that is something to be proud of."  


So working with the Zoo is a pretty neat gig and has a lot of memorable moments, but for Katie she says, BuffaLoveFest, {which she created in 2013 along with a team of community leaders} would have to be her best event/most proudest moment so far. "We wanted to have an event that celebrated everything we love about our city, at the most unique venue in town, the Buffalo Zoo. I really wanted to take advantage of the "BuffaLove" movement so we gathered a group of popular food trucks, Buffalo themed artisans, Buffalo trivia and more."  If you've attended BuffaLoveFest, you've seen tents around the Zoo including a variety of locally crafted beers and entertainment acts (rest in peace Lance Diamond). In it's inaugural year, this event brought in over 1,800 people and raised more than $30,000 for the Buffalo Zoo. This was above and beyond Katie's expectations, but once again proved to her that Buffalo is a supportive community. "A lot of hard work, sweat and even some tears went in to this event, but it was all worth it in the end."  Now Katie and her team are headed into the 3rd annual BuffaLoveFest planning and the event seems to be growing with even more support each year.

Anyone who works in the event business knows that you never stop working. You are always looking for new ideas or trying to make something bigger and better. The events business is demanding since things are always changing and you are always planning ahead and rarely living "in the moment." Because of this, Katie doesn't get to attend as many other events or fundraisers run by organizations as she would like. She would love to go out and support more organizations and check out what they are doing because there is some great work out there that she would like to support.

Overall, Katie is a driving force for a lot of events and activities that take place at the zoo. Some of the most popular being Polar Bites {coming up on Feb. 19} and Wines in the Wild {July 22}. If you ever go to the Zoo or attend one of these events and see Katie make sure to stop and say hi to her! Thank you Katie, for letting me share your story and for all that you do  in our community and for Buffalo's Wildest Place in Town.

{Fun Facts about Katie}

  1. I have coached women's basketball at Amherst, which is my Alma mater, for 5 seasons.
  2. I started dog sitting over 10 years ago and now "pup-sit" over 30 dogs each year.
  3. I live in North Buffalo with my two rescued cats, Agnes and Arlene.