Ranch Hand Spotlight: AJ LeSage
Catalyst Ranch is staffed by an incredible team of quirky characters known as Ranch Hands. Creative individuals are drawn to Catalyst Ranch’s colorful workspace, diverse clientele, and co-workers of similar sensibility. Ranch Hand Spotlight is an occasional blog series that invites you to take a sneak peek behind the scenes. Meet the fine folks who work together to anticipate and accommodate our clients’ every need from copies to catering. See what they do here at the Ranch and how they spend their time off too!
Previous Job Title(s): I’ve had lots of them but almost all customer service related! Most recently before being here I was a Kitchen Manager/KM Trainer for Chipotle Mexican Grill as well as being a line cook at Rockit Burger Bar.
Current Job Title: I am the new PM Shift Supervisor!
Nickname(s): AJ, Age, Rage LeSage, big_l0ve
Favorite Color: Purple
Favorite thing to do in Chicago: Explore and experience all the great performing arts the city has to offer!
What do you do at Catalyst Ranch? I am the PM Shift Supervisor so my job is to ensure that the clients have a smooth finish to their event as well as to clean and set up rooms at night for the next day’s meetings and events.
What do you like about working at the Ranch? I love the atmosphere and I love my coworkers. It’s so great to be able to come into work every day and be surrounded by things like toys and loud colors everywhere. I’m certainly never bored and it’s a joy to be surrounded by creative, caring staff that is always ready to help. Many of whom share lots of my interests!
What was your initial reaction to the Catalyst Ranch environment?
I was first introduced to the Ranch by my friend Kasey, who got me the interview. She and I work together in theater here in the city and she was using the Cha Cha room as rehearsal space. I was invited to rehearsals by her and was shocked to find that the space was so unique. I honestly didn’t know where to look first! It was very distracting (in the best kind of way) during rehearsals for the first couple of nights until I got more used to all the things I wanted to look at and play with!
Favorite toy or piece of decor at the Ranch and why? I really like the robot and spaceman cutout things in the Cha-Cha where you can put your hands and face through it. I just find it hilarious imagining trying to play with those because I think it’d be so hard to move around.
Tell us about a moment in life that made you proud, either of yourself or of a friend?
After I graduated from Roosevelt University I moved to Los Angeles for a while and then back home to Portland after going broke in LA. It was a difficult time for me personally, but I was kept going by the great successes of my friends in our theatre company, Inappropriate Theatre. When I moved back to Chicago at the beginning of this year, I was back just in time to help the company put the finishing touches on our show “Romeo and Juliet: A Techno Ballet.” Watching that show go up and seeing the amazing response from the shockingly large crowds we were getting each night filled me with more pride than I thought possible. I was proud to be part of this company, proud of the work they were doing while I was gone, and extremely proud of the work they were producing and the direction we were headed. We’re currently on summer hiatus, but I cannot wait to see what the future brings!
What kind of projects or hobbies have you been working on outside the Ranch?
I got my BFA in Acting here in Chicago at Roosevelt University and it is something I still love doing and am very much involved in outside of the Ranch life. Currently I am the Directing Manager of the Inappropriate Theatre Company here in the city, and I will also be appearing in The Hyacinth McCaw at the Bridge Theatre in Bridgeport in late September this year.
I am also an avid writer and fan of poetry and you can occasionally find me at poetry readings or slams around the city!
Any other fun facts about you? What else do you want our readers to know?
I am a HUGE nerd and when I am not pursuing my more creative paths you can almost always find me playing video games. My favorite game is called Dota2 and I play on an amateur tier team called “LP Legends”. Online gaming is a big part of my life because I grew up in Portland, Oregon and playing games online in a team setting has allowed me to keep in close touch with, and play with, the friends I grew up with.