Katie Tuff does lotsa stuff.
With a backpack as her briefcase, she’s usually on the go when seen riding her bike on Banff Avenue or Bear Street, because as the chief operating officer of Banff Hospitality Collective, Katie covers a lot of ground during the day. But catch her walking down the street and she will always asks how you’re doing or what you’ve been up to, because despite the fact that she’s moving fast, she hits the brakes at the opportunity to talk to people.
“Katie has a huge personality and is extremely engaging,” says Collective CEO Mike Mendelman. “She is genuinely interested in people and is far more interested in hearing people’s stories than she is concerned with talking about herself.”
That being said, Katie’s story is good conversation. Originally from Ontario, Katie spent 10 years living and working in a ski resort in Austria before moving to Banff. She’s spent time in countries like Mexico, Germany, China, and Sweden studying while learning languages — she’s up to being able to speak 4! (Make it 5, as she and her guy, Yannis, are well versed in toddler talk with young daughters Fawn and Frida.)
Starting as a server at the Maple Leaf, Katie then became the general manager of The Bison where she helped to open the Bear Street Tavern. From there, she moved into the Magpie & Stump then on to develop Park Distillery. Now, as the Collective COO, Katie enriches her staff, mostly 18 to 30 year olds, by leading them through what Mendelman affectionately calls “Katie U” — short for university.
“Katie teaches them how to conduct themselves in a professional and positive manner. She starts with people who in many cases have limited life and work experience and they come out the other end as more well rounded people after working with her,” Mendelman says. “This is by far her biggest contribution to Banff.”
When she’s not working, Katie can be found on the trails, which is one of her favourite parts about living in Banff — you don’t have far to go before you’re off on your own in nature.
“Spending time with Katie generally means you’re skiing, running, hiking, exploring, etc.,” Mendelman says. “She loves Banff and it permeates from her.”