Yana Beranek, partner at Useagility and co-founder of Pointworks Academy, talks running, drinking, cheering on the Royals and more in The Pitch Questionnaire

Hometown: Born in Brooklyn, New York, but a KC “native” since I was 4 years old.

Current neighborhood: Brookside

What I do:
At Useagility, I lead our UX research and design teams in the creation of easy-to-use digital products for our clients. At Pointworks Academy, we train people in UX.

What’s your addiction? Trail running. Anywhere, anytime.

What’s your game? KC Royals baseball. I was a fan in ’85, and I’m still a sucker for a summer evening at the K.

What’s your drink? Cinder Block Prime Extra Pale Ale

Where’s dinner? Bella Napoli

What’s on your KC postcard? The mountain-bike trails at Swope. People think Kansas City is flat … lol.

Finish these sentences: “Kansas City got it right when …” They built their parks and boulevards.

“Kansas City screwed up when …” They let the KCMO public schools fall apart.
 
“Kansas City needs …” A beach with an ocean.

“As a kid, I wanted to be …” French.

“In five years, I’ll be …” Better at golf. Maybe.

“I always laugh at …” myself.

“I’ve been known to binge watch …”
Sunrises, sunsets and all the clouds in between. I’m not much for TV.

“I can’t stop listening to …” Bossa nova. I got hooked on “The Girl From Ipanema” and haven’t been able to shake it.

“My dream concert lineup is …” Samantha Fish, Stevie Ray Vaughan and John Mayer.

“I just read …” A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman – a story about how unintended friendships interrupt your plans to call it quits — literally.

What’s your hidden talent? Breakfast. Eight years of owning a B&B was great practice.

What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Christopher Elbow’s Crème Fraiche ice cream at Glacé. It’s right on the way home from my office.

The best advice I ever got: Tell the truth and you’ll never have to remember what you said.

Worst advice?
You have to try the moonshine when you’re in Ecuador! My stomach burned for hours afterwards.

My sidekick? My cat Jack, aka Jackjack the Awesome Cat

What is your spirit animal? Snow leopard, of course. Cool on the trails

Who is your hero? My dad. He just did a rock-star job of kicking cancer. I hope I’d be as brave, tough and positive as he was if I ever had to deal with a challenge like that.

Who (or what) is your nemesis? The parking-control officer in Westport. I’m never sure if my choice of parking spot is legal.

What’s your greatest struggle right now?
Making myself take a little down time. Between my businesses and my extracurricular fun, my calendar can get pretty silly.

My favorite toy as a child: Legos. My brother and I probably made our parents crazy leaving them all over the basement floor.

My brush with fame:
I’m pretty clueless about celebrities, so if I’ve had a brush, I probably missed it.

My soapbox: I want kids, and especially girls, to know there are lots of jobs in tech that aren’t writing code. Design and soft skills have a key role in making technology easy and accessible.

My recent triumph: Launching Pointworks Academy. The supportive and enthusiastic response we’ve gotten from the tech and training communities in KC has been awesome!

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