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 serves as the Chief Evangelist & Connector for Escape Adulthood and handles customer service at The Lemonade Stand. 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.
Rachel Crimmins applies her skillful wizardry at making connections and conjuring up good ideas in the Escape Adulthood League and the Wonder & Whimsy Society. She serves as a powerful voice of the brand to the community, and voice of the community to the brand. Rachel makes people feel heard and at home. | Contact Rachel
Where I Grew Up: Holly, Michigan.
Some of My Previous Jobs Include: Pumpkin Patch Worker, Donut Maker, Little League Umpire, Mt Holly Ski and Snowboard Rental Crew, Pizza Hut Waitress, DQ Blizzard Professional, Receptionist for CMU dorm desk- Sweeney Sweethearts <3, Daycare Toddler Wrangler, Children’s Museum Special Programs Director, Parent Education Home Visitor, Babysitter Extraordinaire, Photographer Assistant and MOST IMPORTANT Mommy to Josie and Bennett!
Why I Love Working Here: I feel so honored to be on the AMAZING team with Jason, Kim and Jenna! I feel energized and renewed with every skype meeting, brainstorm session and live chat! :) The main reason I love working for EA is it doesn’t feel like work! What a dream to get paid to help spread a message I am so passionate about! I love connecting with the EA Tribe, encouraging fun, and helping rid the world of Adultitis!
When I Was a Kid, I…loved being outside and active. Rollerblading and street hockey in front of my house while jamming Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever album was my jam!
The One Event From My Childhood that had the Greatest Impact on What I Do Today Was: Being raised in a huge, involved extended family! Christmas parties with sing-alongs, reunions with sports and games all day, so many weddings (Crimmins Cousins know how to get down on the dance floor!) It all taught me that family is the most important thing you will ever do and those connections are priceless. It has led me to always make my choices based on how to spend the most quality time with the ones I love.
The Lesson From Mom I Still Live By Is: Everyday is a chance to make a memory, it is up to you whether it will be a good one or a bad one.
My Favorite Childhood Toy(s) and Book(s): Anything I could get creative with: cardboard boxes, blanket forts, costumes, blank paper to make magazines out of! Favorite books include Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Where the Wild Things Are, The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, and of course the Harry Potter series!
My Favorite Way to Fight Adultitis Is: Adventuring! Trying new things feeds my soul! New Bike Trails, Fitness Classes, Tourist Attractions, Listening to new bands… My go-to quick remedies are Ice Cream for Dinner and Dance Parties!
Stuff I Love: Family Time, Tea, Bike Rides, Music, Dark Chocolate, Walking in Nature, Crossword Puzzles, Games (Board, Card, Yard) Word Art, Quotes, Song lyrics, and Puns!
What I Know So Far: I don’t know as much as I once thought I did and perspective changes everything.