Sometimes Dreams Morph
Here is a tale from the trek of a remarkable woman who never stops listening to her heart. After a talk I gave at an entrepreneur panel at MIT, Katherine introduced herself and we have been connected ever since. She gives me hope as she never stop listening to the needs of young people. She is one of the pioneers creating a healthy path into the new, healthy world we are creating now.
Katherine Montero had a dream of becoming a scientist specializing in genomics as she entered the gates of Harvard Medical School.
As a teen, she arrived in the Bronx from the Dominican Republican (DR). Her family dealt with many of the challenges new immigrants chasing the “American dream” faced—from serious financial difficulties to struggling with and adapting to the new culture and language. She experienced firsthand the deep divisions in her new society.
It made her appreciate the simplicity of life back home in the DR. Her grandmother had showed her what it was like to be a businesswoman by being one herself—making ends meet and always believing in yourself.
While working at Harvard Medical School, Katherine found herself listening to more and more stories about disadvantaged high school kids struggling to make their way in the world. During her lunch breaks, she started to architect ways to break these cycles by supporting local and international low-income youth.
Listening to Our Heart
Katherine knew in her heart that when the youth knew that someone cared about them, they would be able to change the course of their lives. To learn firsthand about the barriers and opportunities young people faced, she left her dream behind. She worked directly with young people as a teacher in schools across Massachusetts and started a social enterprise. She was listening to their needs and focusing on taking action.
Katherine is now the Chief Executive Officer of Global Deeds, a social enterprise that works with teachers, public schools, and corporations in empowering disadvantaged youth through innovative education and employment. “It helps the students and youth until they achieve financial stability in their lives,” Katherine shares.
“We create customized support systems that enable students to reach their potential as technically savvy, financially stable, and socially conscious citizens. The number of property deeds under the name of our alumni will be a very tangible indicator of our success as a program.”
Making it Real
Katherine knows that by inspiring students to become the change themselves and step into their own power, they no longer need to wait for anyone to help or “save” them. It is no simple task and there always is a need to raise more funds to be able to lift more young people and give them an equal opportunity to live healthy and full lives.
Katherine has an open invitation for any one of us to take part in these programs and is constantly building partnerships to create even more opportunities. For me, hers is a far more inspiring story than the financial success of a few celebrated individuals. When young leaders like Katherine make it “big,” they reinvest their profits in areas that benefit our society and planet, while wanting to remain off the radar of celebrated success.
Katherine encourages today’s youth, especially women, to take control of the choices we make. According to her, “Whenever you chase or value someone else more than yourself, you assume the subordinate position and put yourself at a serious disadvantage. Please love and respect yourself enough,” she advises herself and others.
Listening means asking questions. She asks each of us, “Being true to yourself is the most important thing in life … do you know your ‘enough’? What would you like your obituary to say about the way you lived your life and how you treated yourself and others?”