Serial Side Hustler? Ask Katherine Andrikopoulos!

What is your day job? Roles and responsibilities? I work at Cossette Media as a Performance Manager where I develop the strategy and oversee paid search, SEO, performance display and social media campaigns. My clients include large CPG and retail companies. I lead a small team thats ensures our clients are seeing in-store and online revenue from their ad campaigns. I also stay on top of consumer trends so my clients can best serve their consumers' needs. Part of my responsibilities include educating clients on the latest search and social developments, thoughtful analysis and optimization of our clients' campaigns and developing progression plans for junior team members.

What is your passion?

I'm a people person, I love collaborating with my colleagues and mentoring team members who are newer to the media and advertising industry. I care about promoting equality and diversity in addition to awareness about early-onset Alzheimer's disease.

What side projects are you involved in? What made you get involved/co-found? How do you find the time to it all? How did you overcome the challenges?

I co-founded Memory Ball, a charity event that focuses on raising awareness of Alzheimer's disease within the under 40 demographic. Memory Ball was the result of my mentor (and also my best friend's mom) Jane, being diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer's when she was in her early fifties. At the time, no one could fathom that Jane had Alzheimer's at such a young age. I remember being very concerned and confused seeing her behaviour change. Seeing my best friend, Carolyn Poirier, and her younger sister, Claire, be so brave in the face of care-giving in their teens made me realize how little support there is for young caregivers.

In addition to Memory Ball, I work on Filling the Gap, a women's empowerment event that donates all proceeds to the Schlifer Clinic and I'm involved in HER Collective, a network of creative women. Filling the Gap came out of seeing very few women at the top corporate ranks. My co-founders Sadie, Janice and I wanted to do something to help women advance in their careers, showoff women's accomplishments and of course, close the wage gap for women. Gender equality is a hard thing to tackle so we wanted to help women throughout the community which is why working with the Schlifer Clinic and supporting their work with women, who've been affected by violence is very meaningful. HER Collective was started by my good friend Talya Macedo who brought me on at the very beginning, and it's been a great outlet for my creative pursuits and opportunity to work with with an incredibly talented group of young women.

On top of that, I teach digital marketing foundations on a part-time basis at Red Academy. I enjoy working with my students and other instructors.

How do you maintain a work-life balance? How do you stay organized?

My friends will tell you that I live by my GCal, everything goes in there or it's not happening. I also try and get up early to work out (which I'll admit I've been slacking on) and I make time to stretch and walk around during the day. My coworkers think I'm a nerd because I have a standing desk which makes me feel healthy and helps me focus. I also try and stay strict with time commitments and being realistic of how much I can commit to within a day. I also find completing a task right away or designating a time to do something helps keep me on track. I'm a fan of a number of productivity apps but my absolute favourite is a good old fashioned written to-do list.

Why should people get involved with side projects while working?

Side projects are a great way to learn new skills and meet people. I find that working on different pieces ultimately makes me better at my day job. I often get ideas and inspiration from my side projects to incorporate at work and vice versa.

For example, working on marketing Memory Ball puts me in the role of a marketing director, similar to what any business deals with (at a much smaller level) so I'm better equipped to understand business objectives; whereas with Red, teaching students, I can figure out a better way to explain a concept to my clients and make my presentations to them more fun and interactive.

Name a success you are proud of that’s come out of your projects?

I'm incredibly proud of what we've been able to achieve with Memory Ball. In 5 years, we raised over $300,000 for the Alzheimer Society of Toronto. I'm always incredulous when people say they've heard of Memory Ball. Oftentimes, they're confusing it with Motionball, but when they're not, it's a very proud moment. We've also gotten coverage in the Toronto Star, Notable, the Globe and Mail, CBC News, influential Toronto blogs and more, which has been significant for us to reach more people with our message that Alzheimer's isn't just an old person's disease.

How do you find downtime/relax?

Ha..ha..ha...This summer has been incredibly busy but I am making time for a beach vacation. In addition to that, and to be completely cliché, I've been re-introducing meditation into my life with the help of apps like Headspace and a book I have that has a collection of different meditations. Working on so many different projects has also helped me zero in on what's important to me, such as spending time with friends, family and my partner. I try to more of that in, which sometimes means planning get-togethers in advance.

Favourite spot in the city to unwind?

I'm a big fan of going for a walk around Kensington market, lounging in Trinity Bellwoods park or pretending to be fancy in Yorkville. I like to go to Sweet Olenka's for ice cream or grab a juice or acai bowl from the Good Press. My best friends and I love to go to Cafe Nervosa for some pizza and sangria, hanging out on their patio. For healthier pursuits, I enjoy walking around the Scarborough Bluffs on the weekend, my friends who are from Scarborough always make fun of me because I think it looks like some exotic destination and they're very unimpressed because it's in their backyard and they don't think it's as cool as I do.