Kate Strathmann

Founder & Director, Wanderwell

Farmer. Yoga Teacher. Artist. One-time stilt walking teacher. Those roles merely scratch the surface of Kate Strathmann’s experience. Her mission is expanding entrepreneurial imagination, guiding entrepreneurs to their best path of doing business.

Kate believes it’s crucial for business owners to understand their profit structure, which allows them to care for themselves, their employees, and their customers. Her consulting and bookkeeping practice, Wanderwell, helps business owners grow and scale while impacting their work and their communities. It owes its name to Aloha Wanderwell, the first woman who traveled worldwide in a model T Ford.

There is a lot of toxic information out there, and Kate reminds us to find more ease in our businesses. She’s not only helped her clients turn a profit but also helped them take a vacation.

Kate geeks out about economics, anti-capitalism, and rusted nail collections (fun fact: she has two!).

🤓 I geek out about…

Economics… I’m really interested in the systems underlying how we “do business” for better or worse. I spend a lot of time studying and reading about different forms of anti-capitalist, feminist, Marxist Economics.

🎒 I collect…

My house is basically a wunderkammer, but my most infamous collection is probably my two separate rusted nail collections: one, a huge pile of hand-hewn square nails in an old wooden dynamite box; purchased about 20 yrs ago for a quarter at a yard sale on the White Earth Reservation in Northern Minnesota. The second, smaller collection is various hand-hewn square nails found on the mean streets of Philadelphia over the years.

💬 My friends ask my advice about…

My friends ask me about a lot of things, but strangers ask me for relationship advice; Lyft drivers, random people sitting near me at a bar. In the #beforetimes I definitely could have launched a whole podcast called “Dump Him: advice from the road”

🧰 How my weird obsessions show up in my work…

Wanderwell derives its name after Aloha Wanderwell, a woman who once circumnavigated the globe in a model T Ford.

🌱 What form(s) of growth is/are most important for your company?

We still track conventional metrics, but for me, “right livelihood” building is where I ultimately look— can we create robust, supportive, flexible, autonomous livelihoods?

🌤️ A thing that makes me hopeful about the future of business:

Seeing the discourse change in the past year — the number of people reaching out and asking about cooperatives, redistribution and reparations, equitable business structures and compensation, etc… there’s been a palpable shift in people awakening and wondering about shifting their business practices.

💭 I wish more companies would…

Become worker-owned.

💛 How can companies and industries take better care of people?

One of the aspects of Wanderwell’s culture we’ve been discussing a lot lately is the importance of healthy, clear boundaries with clients — that a work culture optimizing towards focused, effective work, and a space where people can set their own schedules, requires clear boundaries with clients. The company itself has to create those guardrails and good relationships, so that other’s urgencies don’t become our emergencies.

❓ A question I love:

What would each of us build if the goal was to care for everybody?

🚶 I would walk/drive/travel 500 miles to…

For an intriguing dinner invitation.

You can connect with Kate by subscribing to her “irreverent email newsletter.”