Escape Adulthood is fueled by some pretty amazing, talented people. And nice, too. Click a head to find out more about what they do and what makes them tick!
Jason Kotecki is the co-founder of Escape Adulthood and delivers the speaking programs, makes the pretty pictures, does a bunch of the writing, and oversees the design and overall direction of this ship. | Contact Jason
Where I Grew Up: Peru, IL
Some of My Previous Jobs Include: Scorekeeping Little League games; Washing cars for a GM dealership; Drawing a sports panel cartoon; Assembling widgets at a nail factory; Teaching college art history; Newspaper ad layout designer; Creating web sites.
Why I Love Working Here: I get to make a living doing what I love every. single. day. Plus I get to work with and meet really cool people and travel to cool places.
Artistic Influences: I’ve always been fond of a wide variety of artists, among them being Norman Rockwell, Drew Struzan, J.C. Leyendecker, Vermeer, Monet, and Alfonse Mucha. On the cartooning side, the top two are Charles Schulz (Peanuts) and Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes). I also have great admiration for Pat Brady (Rose Is Rose), Michael Fry and T Lewis (Over The Hedge), Michael Jantze (The Norm) and Gary Larson (Far Side). Comedians such as Bill Cosby and Jerry Seinfeld have been key influences on me, with respect to their ability to find humor in the everyday little things.
When I Was a Kid, I…adored Michael Jordan, Ryne Sandberg, Michael J. Fox and Han Solo, wanted to be George Lucas, and was afraid of the Thunder, the Lightning, and the Fire Trucks (among other things).
The One Event From My Childhood that had the Greatest Impact on What I Do Today Was: When my third grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, asked me to draw Santa Claus for the school newsletter. Her saying that I could draw him better than she could blew me away, and it instilled in me the confidence to pursue art.
The Lesson From Mom I Still Live By Is: Try it; you might like it. (Although I fought this one for a long time.)
My Favorite Childhood Toy(s) and Book(s): My favorite toys were my vast collections of Star Wars stuff and baseball cards. My favorite books: Where the Wild Things Are, George’s Marvelous Medicine, and anything by Shel Silverstein.
My Favorite Way to Fight Adultitis Is: by wearing fun, retro t-shirts, browsing the children’s book section at Barnes & Noble, and asking lots of questions.
Stuff I Love: Long walks by the lakes here in Madison, spending hours and hours at Barnes & Noble, cooking, photography, travel, art supply stores, watching NFL football, Seth Godin, Apple, Arby’s, live music, art museums and galleries, Jars of Clay, Joshua Radin, Jon Foreman, Switchfoot, Toad the Wet Sprocket, The Weepies, U2, Andrew Peterson, Good Old War, Dave Matthews, Michael W. Smith, Ray Lamontagne, The Beatles, watching really good movies (Empire Strikes Back, Field of Dreams, The Crow, The Dark Knight, anything by Pixar), Seinfeld, Arrested Development, Parenthood, Ed, Gordon Ramsay, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Blizzards from Dairy Queen, thin crust pizza, cherry pie, shrimp, fresh crab, Krispy Kreme doughnuts and sugar laden cereal (especially Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Oh’s).
What I Know So Far: Be yourself. Be nice. Question everything. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
Kim Kotecki is the other co-founder of Escape Adulthood. She manages the communication, calendar, travel arrangements, and all sorts of important details that have to do with Jason’s speaking engagements and the Escape Adulthood Summit. Kim co-conspires with Jason on all the big projects and is quite good at coming up with tangible ideas for fighting Adultitis. | Contact Kim
Where I Grew Up: Ottawa, IL
Some of My Previous Jobs Include: Neighborhood Pet & Babysitter, Subway Sandwich Artist, Waitress at the Pondo Pit (Ponderosa Steak House), Checker at Save-A-Lot Grocery Store, Admin. Asst. in the Counseling Center at Illinois Valley Community College, Asst. Preschool Teacher, Summer Camp Teacher, Kindergarten Teacher.
Why I Love Working Here: Every day I am able to fulfill my life’s mission, which is to inspire and encourage people to live an intentional life, giving them permission to savor, have fun, find whimsy, live life abundantly – discovering and owning who they are meant to be.
When I Was a Kid, I…was a spark plug! Being the youngest of four girls, it soon became natural for me to make my presence known and there are many (blackmail) home VHS tapes of me “hamming it” up to prove it. Case in point: The Kim Fonda Workout, circa 1989, which of course would not be complete without the neon blue spandex shorts.
The One Event From My Childhood that had the Greatest Impact on What I Do Today Was: I met Jason! I was only 16. In a lot of ways we grew up together. He is my eternal fountain of youth. I would not have embraced my natural childlike spirit and spunk as wholeheartedly without his encouragement.
The Lesson From Mom I Still Live By Is: Trust in the Lord.
My Favorite Childhood Toy(s) and Book(s): Toys: My swing set, my Little People Sesame Street house, my wooden ironing board that my Boompa made me. Books: “One Kitten for Kim” and anything about Ramona.
My Favorite Way to Fight Adultitis Is: Spending a “family day” with Jason and our kiddos. These days usually contain some of the following: picnics, walks by the lake, ice cream, spontaneous dance parties in the living room, savoring a sunset, an episode of “Little House on the Prairie” and a nap!
Stuff I Love: my husband’s homemade noodles, the smell of fresh cut grass, daisies, mismatched socks, bare footed babies, pigtails, soft brownies, campfires, pine trees, singer-songwriters, Make-A-Wish Foundation, the smells and sounds only found at the ocean, feeling the kicks of a baby in my belly, homeschooling my kidlets, dreaming big with Jason.
What I Know So Far: The greatest day in the history of the entire world is… TODAY.
Jenna Regis has been with us from the earliest days and has done a little bit of everything over the years. Truth is, she still does. These days, she takes care of The Lemonade Stand, including lovingly packing and shipping your orders and handling customer service. Jenna is a big behind-the-scenes contributor to the magic and creativity that bursts forth from Escape Adulthood. | Contact Jenna
Where I Grew Up: Reddick, IL
Some of My Previous Jobs Include: Grill Crew at McDonald’s, Assets Protections Specialist at Target, Assistant Manager at Dollar General, Justice and Social Action Coordinator at the Newman Catholic Student Center, Child Wrangler at Red Caboose Afterschool, VP of Customer Service for Fall Protections Pros.
Why I Love Working Here: It’s not enough in life to have a Bucket List of adventures; you need a mission to fulfill using your gifts. Being a part of the fight against Adultitis allows me to use my talents to help touch lives and make the world a more awesome place to play.
When I Was a Kid, I…loved losing myself in books while perched in the branches of an apple tree.
The One Event From My Childhood that had the Greatest Impact on What I Do Today Was: When I was 8 years old we moved from a two flat on a city street to a farmhouse on a country road. My third grade year brought be some of the best childhood experiences of creativity, curiosity, friendship, and fun.
The Lesson From Mom I Still Live By Is: Love the important people in your life unconditionally.
My Favorite Childhood Toy(s) and Book(s): I have a well-worn stuffed dog named Henry and a dog-eared copy of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory both imbued with warm memories.
My Favorite Way to Fight Adultitis Is: Nothing treats my Adultitis symptoms like playing in the snow!
Stuff I Love: blowing bubbles, jumping in puddles, playing with kids, fantasy stories, sci-fi tv, superhero movies, fairytales, penguins, the sound of waves, the smell of old books, gazing at a sky full of stars, donuts, coffee, Mountain Dew, playing cards, camping, road trips, family get togethers
What I Know So Far: Everything that has happened in my life so far has brought me right where I’m supposed to be.
Lynn Carter helps Kim manage details and data. Lots and lots of details and data. Her organization, timeliness, communication skills and attention to the little things make her Kim’s virtual right hand and allow us to get a lot more done. | Contact Lynn
Where I Grew Up: Plymouth, Michigan.
Some of My Previous Jobs Include: Flipping burgers, tutoring, house cleaning, babysitting. I spent a few years during and after grad school as an academic advisor to international students at the university level. I’m currently in private practice as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant and I moonlight as a substitute teacher.
Why I Love Working Here: The realest reason I love working here is because Kim is an amazing communicator and never discourages me from asking questions and making suggestions so that I know exactly what’s expected of me. I also really believe in the mission of Escape Adulthood, and it’s great to be a part of that in any capacity.
When I Was a Kid, I…Read everything I could get my hands on.
My Favorite Childhood Toy(s) and Book(s): The Chronicles of Narnia, hands down. Legos. Back when there were only five colors and everything was a rectangle.
My Favorite Way to Fight Adultitis Is: To hang out in multigenerational groups of friends eating wonderful food and talking about everything under the sun. And to laugh encouragingly when the younger ones burp.
Stuff I Love: Substitute teaching. The Eucharist. Walking everywhere. Bad sci fi movies (good ones, too, but those are getting harder to find!) Cooking. Ballroom dancing. Singing.
What I Know So Far: A good friend who never gives advice, broke that rule once to advise me to Live in the Moment, and it’s the best thing I’ve ever learned to do.