Meet the team: Kate Gottlieb
Kate Gottlieb has served as a Practice Greenhealth sustainability strategy manager since February. She lives in Yakima, Washington. Learn about what prompted her to work on environmental sustainability initiatives and how she went from hunting and fishing to eating a primarily plant-based diet.
What is the most important thing you have learned about our work?
Coming from a hospital sustainability coordinator role, the most important thing I have learned from our work at Practice Greenhealth is that we have an important role in connecting with leaders in hospital sustainability programs nationwide. We have the most current and comprehensive environmental sustainability resources designed to lead initiatives for creating healthy environments and communities. But Practice Greenhealth is more than just a resource. We are here to walk with you, going above and beyond to help our members accomplish common goals to better the world.
What is something your colleagues would not know about you?
Hunting, fishing, and preserving food is a big part of my family's culture. I grew up eating wild game, seafood, berries, and garden veggies. Many weekends were spent harvesting and processing our food to provide for our family year-round. In 2015, I shifted to eating primarily plant-based and vegan foods. At first, it was for the health benefits. My cholesterol dropped significantly and my energy level was better than ever. That was also the year my career in sustainability flourished. I now consider myself a climatarian, and abstaining from animal products is my family's way of lowering our carbon footprint.
What’s your favorite outdoor activity?
Growing up in a temperate rainforest on a glacier-fed lake, I have enjoyed outdoor activities all of my life, including hiking, water sports, beachcombing, and marinating in the sunshine while enjoying a beautiful view. My favorite, you ask? Doing it all with my son and reliving my childhood all over again.
When did you know you wanted to work for an environmental and/or health care nonprofit. What brought about this decision?
I grew up in Washington’s Olympic National Park, hiking the Olympic Mountains, and appreciating and respecting our land while experiencing the impact of environmental threats. I naturally gravitated toward environmental sustainability. For 18 years, I was my father’s health advocate as he battled cancer. My dad’s health care providers were my role models, and I spent hours in hospitals pondering how I could help heal the sick and what caused their diseases in the first place. The best day of my career was when I searched “healthy hospitals” online and found Practice Greenhealth. This pivotal moment led me to coordinating a sustainability program at Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital and fueled my passion for environmental sustainability.
What was your first job, and what was the most important lesson you learned there?
When I was 13, I worked for tips as a hostess and waited tables at Camp 7, a small-town restaurant named for an old logging camp. This developed my work ethic and customer service skills. At age 14, I began my first “real” summer job as a housekeeper at the Rainforest Resort. I learned early on about financial savings and that the customer is always right, even if they’re not.
What are three items that are always in your fridge or pantry? Why?
All-natural peanut butter: my staple vegan food. I like it in and on everything – burgers, energy bites, dressings, sauces, and soups.
Home-canned pickled asparagus: local, simply tangy, and delicious year-round. It’s the secret ingredient in my bloody mary.
Black beans: a quick can or soaked and cooked in my instant pot are my favorite ways to have beans in salads, soups, or blended with salsa for dips. They’re packed with fiber and protein and are so versatile. I love tricking people with my fudgy black bean brownies.
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