Focus on Women – Katie Cappellini — Member of Sylvania City Council

Creative Oxygen
by Linda Szyskowski

Katie Cappellini — Member of Sylvania City Council

Katie Cappellini is a go-getter who is not afraid of challenges. After graduating from Northwestern University, Katie moved to San Francisco and worked for Esprit de Corp until she lost her apartment in an earthquake. She sold her car, armed herself with her federal relief money, and bought a one-way ticket to Fiji and New Zealand. After a year of travel in Asia, she returned to California with an idea for a business.

Her vision was a baked potato shop that offered assorted toppings along with soups and salads. She and her future husband, Tom, decided that the perfect spot for their venture was near the entrance to UC Berkeley. They quickly realized that lenders don’t give loans to people with a dream and no money in the bank, so they decided to build a food truck and finance it with credit cards. That was the easy part according to Katie. The real challenge was navigating the bureaucracy of Berkeley city government; but vision and determination paid off, and their baked potato business was born. With 30,000 people crossing their corner daily, they soon had somewhat of a cult following. In 10 years, they grew to two retail locations and a commercial catering kitchen.

Then came family; their priorities shifted and they knew they didn’t want their children to grow up in such a crazy fast-paced environment. Katie’s parents lived in Sylvania and after visiting Katie and Tom knew that this was where they wanted to move their family. “I wanted to live in a small town where we could walk everywhere,” said Katie; so she gave their realtor the mission of finding a house near downtown.

She never imagined being in involved in politics; but after spearheading a successful movement to improve Burnham Park’s playground, Katie began going to council meetings. Eventually she ran for office and is now serving her third full term. “I love being a part of the positive changes that have been taking place,” smiles Katie. “I fell in love with downtown Sylvania and feel we are just seeing the beginning of its true potential.”

Vision and determination have paid off for Sylvania City Council as well with the River Trail and the SOMO development project in downtown. Katie is passionate about downtown improvements and expanding safe walking/biking pathways that connect downtown with surrounding neighborhoods, parks, and other community assets.

There will be two council seats opening up at the end of this year and Katie strongly encourages people to consider running. “We have a lot of super smart people in Sylvania. We hope visionaries and critical thinkers will seriously consider running and get their names on the ballot.” And Katie? She’ll be here, working on her dreams for the city.

Sylvania Advantage, in cooperation with Creative Oxygen, is proud to honor Katie Cappellini—a true advocate and asset for our community. We’re so glad you’re here and involved.

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