We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Voelpel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Katie, what do you attribute your success to?
I believe the two most important factors behind my success are my passion to always be learning/adapting and my passion to be a great leader. I have found that I am happiest and most motivated when I am connecting people and ideas, and helping others to feel fulfilled in their work. I find great joy in empowering the people around me; an example of this is the strength of the Virginia Highland District team of 12 dedicated volunteers, growing the brand to where it is today out of the love and joy for their community. Each volunteer has unique skills that they bring. We all show up because we feel important and needed. I believe it’s possible to make a difference in your community and have fun in the process. This is what inspires me and what I attribute to both my success, and the success of VHD.
What should our readers know about your business?
I realized after spending a lot of my early adulthood being what others wanted me to be, that that was very hard to sustain. Once I found my partner, Brett Johnson, and our community in Virginia Highland, I truly felt supported and called to use my passion, education, and experience to make an impact on my community. I’ve learned the benefits of patience and the invaluable feeling of being a leader to passionate volunteers who have become like family. I would like the world to know that civic pride is some of the best pride you can feel, and I encourage everyone to get involved in their community because that is where real change starts. There is nothing better than having an influence on your surroundings for the better. I always love to say, “When you know more, you can do more.”
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is a fun one! Recently, I had a friend and her friends come to town who I unfortunately wasn’t able to entertain, so I made her a quick map with a day long itinerary that she stretched into a weekend long event with her friends. The best part is you can do it at all on budgets. Basically, it’s a tour of some of Atlanta’s most iconic neighborhoods using the Beltline. I live in Virginia Highland, so I had it start and end around there. I love maps and getting people around to support local businesses and culture, giving them the freedom to feel safe to explore. I would love to do a series of these maps/adventures as a sort of travel guide book or even an app to choose your adventure through Atlanta depending on your interests for the day. In fact, that’s what I spent my thesis researching while earning my Masters in Architecture at University of South Florida in Tampa.
See map. Recommended method of travel is bike or scooter. Map instructions: (1) Start at Piedmont Park. (2) Take the Beltline to Ponce City Market, sit on the patio at Rina. (3) Continue to O4W for a beer on New Realm Brewery’s rooftop. (4) Eat at Fritti in Inman Park. (5) Take Beltline to Guac & Margys in Sweet Auburn. (6) Go across Dekalb Ave and right at Wylie Street to find Little’s and Carroll St. Cafe. (7) Finish day at Moe’s & Joe’s or Bar.bacoa by taking Beltline back to Monroe Dr. and up to Virginia Ave and Highland Ave.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mother is the foundation that everything in my life is built from. She has always inspired me to be a strong steward for those around me. I have countless stories of her giving to and forgiving others, which have critically shaped how I see the world and my relationship with others. She has taught me so much in grace and faith and continues to support both me and others in unexpected ways. She dedicated her life to me and I dedicate my life to her. She is the best!
Group shot for Spring and Fall Planting by Brett Johnson(2020). Portraits by Sarah Carpenter(2021). Map of Northeast Atlanta by Katie Voelpel(2021).