Katrina Zheleznyak

Katrina is driven by a fascination with human decision-making, sensory systems, and finding the common point where perception, interpretation, and reality meet. Bringing a dual business and neuroscience background to her role at West, she is able to bridge these strengths by helping companies balance consumer behavior and brand strategy, user experience and go-to-market plans. Katrina has long-running experience navigating the inner workings and rapid growth of early-stage startups, aligning internal team needs with the externalization of a strong, emotionally resonant, scalable brand. 

Born and raised in the Bay Area, Katrina ventured over to the East Coast for close to a decade in order to calibrate to different cultures, perspectives, and speeds. She most recently completed her MBA at NYU Stern in New York, where she absorbed an unfettered sense of the stark differences – and similarities – across the spectrum of human experience. Prior, she lived in D.C. while obtaining her undergraduate degree in Neurobiology from Georgetown University, where she countered long days (and nights) in the research lab and library with her work at the local radio station and art studio. Katrina has worked for a number of seed-stage and Series A startups, most notably as an early employee of Recess, a category-defining CBD beverage company. While initially brought in due to her life science, healthcare, and R&D background, she witnessed firsthand the unparalleled power of brand and building deep, bidirectional relationships with the consumer. She has since collaborated with ethically-driven companies in areas such as bioengineering, alternative protein, music streaming, and mental health, as well as a number of nonprofits focused on upskilling, workforce development, and restorative justice. 

Outside of the professional realm, Katrina is an avid outdoor enthusiast and budding adrenaline junkie, staying true to her Bay Area roots. She loves camping and backpacking, touting an ability to start a roaring campfire in any terrain or conditions. She turns to trail running when she wants to move from point A to B quickly, or opts for a meandering hike when she wants to slow down. She will come to a full stop for the occasional tree, plant, mushroom, or vantage point of interest, keeping alive her childlike love of foraging, biology, and our natural world.