TITLE: Founder and Chief Executive Officer
What the nominator said: “Catherine has been an instrumental force in changing the educational landscape for lower-income youth in Wilmington, Del., and beyond. She is the founder and executive director of the Summer Learning Collaborative (Summer Collab), which works with existing community-based centers to implement high-quality summer programming. She also helped found Delaware’s branch of Teach for America, building innovative systems that dramatically increase recruitment and fundraising.”
Best career advice you ever got: “Pick one, just one.” That was the advice I received from a mentor when discussing several ideas I’d had for driving social sector change. The “one” I chose became SummerCollab, which now serves 2,000 high-need youths in Delaware.
Two words that best describe you: Intense and optimistic.
Work /life balance technique you recommend: Don’t work on weekends. Just make the decision and stick to it. Boundaries are important.
If you were in charge of Delaware: Empowering young people to dream big and cultivate a sense of agency is a priority. I would set up a fund that teens and young professionals can apply to in order to set up small-scale community-based programs and innovative projects. If I were “in charge,” I would also incentivize mentorship in a very concrete way, inspiring high school and college students — as well as professionals — to regularly and consistently spend time supporting our highest-need kids.
In one sentence, define “success.” It would seem to me that the history of the world is the constant redefinition of what is possible; success, to me, then is empowering others to believe they can make more possible.