Student Leadership Network is an organization that has been supporting youth in underserved areas to gain access to higher education for over 25 years. I get to work alongside their amazing and inspiring team to create content that will help to drive their mission forward.
One such amazing member of the Student Leadership Network team is Katie Kohlbeck who is the Senior Manager of Content Marketing for SLN. This #WomensHistoryMonth, I wanted to give a shoutout to some of the incredible women I get to work with and learn from.
Below, Katie discusses her experience as a woman in the workforce as well as some women she finds inspiring!
Is there a woman in history that you find especially inspiring?
There are so many inspiring women in history that I could name but I’m especially heartened and inspired by girls and young women around the world who are using their voices to address pressing social issues on a global and local level.
What has been your experience as a woman in the nonprofit sector?
My experience in the nonprofit sector has been very positive. From my very first nonprofit job nearly 20 years ago to my current role at Student Leadership Network, I have been fortunate to work with an incredible roster of women. Nearly all of my managers to date have been women, each of them believing strongly in the power of empowering other women. I often reflect on this and I don’t take this experience for granted.
What drives you to do the wonderful work that you do?
Ever since I was a kid, all I’ve ever wanted to do was help others and to put it most simply, help make the world a fairer, more just place. This might explain why I’ve been drawn to the nonprofit sector! In my current role at Student Leadership Network, I am driven by the hope that we are not only giving students an opportunity to access higher education but in doing so, we are also dismantling systemic barriers that will have a ripple effect on generations to come.
What advice would you give to other women who are trying to find their voice or confidence in a professional environment?
Small mindset adjustments can go a long way. One example: when someone commends you, accept it with grace and don’t downplay it! Believe in yourself and be proud of your achievements, big AND small.
What does the phrase “empowered women, empower women” mean to you and how do you live this in your daily life?
I can truly say that this phrase has been present in my professional and personal life! I am surrounded by other women who believe in the power of empowering other women and it only drives me to keep working towards my goals, and more importantly, to love myself.
What strides towards women's rights and gender equality do you find particularly important or powerful?
Seeing more women in leadership positions is particularly powerful, especially for girls and young women.
What would you say are important ways to best support women both in the workplace and in general?
Just as I think it’s important to celebrate our own wins - big and small - it’s also important to encourage and celebrate other women and their achievements. When we lift each other up, we all rise.
We are genuinely inspired by the women we get to call clients and friends. Women's history is being made every day and we encourage all women to do as Katie suggests and celebrate their wins!
A big thank you to Katie for her time and thoughtful answers!