Employee Spotlight: Caitlin Kollgaard

July 16th, 2013

Posted in Meet the team

Imagine a tour through the beautiful city of San Francisco. An early morning start just north of the city in Marin County, looking out into the bay as the sun rises and fills the hills with its golden glow. Lunch at Olde Mill Park with Mt. Tamalpais looming over your shoulder before you cross the majestic Golden Gate Bridge. Through The Presidio and Golden Gate Park to enjoy the quiet respite from the big city and along the coast to Lake Merced. A stop at Mission Dolores to see a community as old as the country itself and into downtown with the towering skyscrapers on the horizon. Finally stopping in the heart of the city at Civic Center. It’s a tour that will take you from the country to the city, along the ocean and through land locked lakes to the urban streets of one of the largest cities in the country. Now imagine making that trek on foot, all 60 miles of it, in the name of sisterhood and community. Our own Caitlin Kollgaard did just that a few weeks back.

Caitlin started her journey at Whitehall Lane in late 2011. She had just graduated from UC Davis and took a position in our tasting room. It wasn’t long before she moved into sales support to take her love for great wines to the next level. All the while she was training for her first attempt at the Susan G. Komen 3-Day walk to support breast cancer research.

The 3-Day walk gathers men and women from around the country to show their support and raise money for the cause. It inspires the participants to each raise at least $2300 and walk alongside survivors and supporters of the largest nonprofit fund towards breast cancer research. Caitlin has now finished two walks with her mother (and training partner), sharing training tips and home brewed blister remedies. Two years ago, an advertisement for the walk shocked her with the statistic that one in eight women born today will be diagnosed with breast cancer. “I, personally, cannot cure cancer, but I can walk 60 miles and raise at least $2300 and help work toward a future free of cancer,” Caitlin says. She started saving a chunk of each paycheck and collected donations from her team of coworkers to reach the goal.

With every free weekend filled with walking in preparation for the event, she now admits to being addicted. “Once the event is over it’s like there’s this void that you just can’t wait to fill with another 3-Day!” Without a San Francisco event next year, she and her mother are looking at Seattle, San Diego or Atlanta for their next walk. There’s no shortage of inspiration among the walkers to keep her going. This year she met an 80 year old man that had completed dozens of walks, as well as a group of ladies, known as “Mich Mash.” She learned later as the ladies visited the winery that two of the women were breast cancer survivors themselves. Caitlin hopes to walk with them again in the future.

Her plans for next year include a neighbor sponsored yard sale so that she can get help from her community without asking directly for money. She also plans to encourage the Susan G. Komen foundation to end the walk with baskets of puppies because, as she states, “I can’t think of a better way to celebrate 60 miles than getting to play with puppies.” The next time you stop at Whitehall Lane, say hi to Caitlin and wish her the best on her next 3-Day challenge. See you soon!