As the sun rises over my home on Vashon Island (a ferry’s ride from Seattle), I plug in my camera and click to call colleagues in Europe, Malawi, and Ghana. As we talk, the sun sets on their day.
Before founding Kati Collective, I managed a large social change organization and worked as a consultant in large consulting firm. With this firsthand knowledge of both client needs as well as the innerworkings of the consulting business, I figured out what worked – and what didn’t – in international development consulting. Using these experiences, I created a firm with a different kind of model; one where we could stay lean, flexible, and responsive to ever-changing client needs.
With Kati, I wanted to be able to move quickly and without constraints. By tapping into my global network of experts across a variety of topic areas and at different stages of their careers, I am able to strategize and take action much more swiftly than if I was still working in a larger, more formal structure. I have built a trusted team of frequent collaborators who are independent contractors and whose expertise complements my own. I can bring in the right perspective for the right project at the right time.
The issues our clients face are often complex and, while connected to global issues, they are just as often specific to a region and/or a particular topic areas. When considering what a project needs, I pull in people who have the best skill set for each project and fit them together in the right balance. Some of our collaborators – who range from early to mid to seasoned professionals – are full-time consultants, others are looking for flexibility in their lives, and others are interested in applying their skills on project work during a break between longer-term leadership positions. I am always excited to find a new opportunity on which we can work together.
Recently, I needed someone with a deep understanding of the gender justice landscape so I connected with Clare Winterton, the former Chief Operating Officer of Global Fund for Women. Clare has a deep knowledge of humanitarian issues facing women and girls across the globe as well as the growing network of funders, advocates, and programs that is working to support a variety of gender-related causes. She was able to plug into our project work and bring a deep and important perspective to our client.
Katie Schlepp Zatorski has been working with me for nearly a year on a variety of projects. With her background managing high-level cross-sector partnership engagements, Katie keeps projects moving smoothly while quickly synthesizing vast amounts of project data, goals, and aspirations. She works with the team to create a project plan for programmatic strategies and then facilitates putting that plan into action. Katie is the management “glue” on our team; nothing slips by her.
Anitha Moorthy, Ph.D. has recently joined our team to help us think creatively about designing and implementing digital health systems in LMICs. Her rigorous approach coupled with her interest in human-centered design centers the humanitarian approach while still allowing for creative exploration of new technology.
When I need someone to do due diligence in the digital health landscape, I call in Ruthie Bryant. Ruthie is an MPH candidate at Johns Hopkins and was a critical part of my team at MAMA. I knew that she had a deep understanding of digital health and, as a graduate student, was adept at conducting rapid research and analysis. She is right in the thick of new discussions and innovations in the field and brings a fresh, academic perspective to the team.
In order to ensure that Kati’s work is amplified to the world, I work with communication strategist Dana Van Nest and graphic designer Audrey Nezer. They ensure Kati is reaching its target audiences with strong content and clean, arresting visuals.
It’s no accident that Kati collaborators tend to be women who are passionate about creating a flexible lifestyle that supports their career goals as well as meeting family and personal needs. This is important to me personally and is ingrained into the ethos of the company.
When building our network, I look for content expertise, compassion, intelligence, curiosity, and a strong commitment to Kati’s three pillars: women, digital, and partnerships. All of Kati’s collaborators believe in centering women and girls to affect systemic change in LMICs and globally. By bringing in these expert, targeted perspectives for specific pieces of work, Kati Collective can offer reliable, flexible, highly skilled, and scalable resources for our clients.