Meet Katherine Montero, Chief Executive Officer of Global Deeds, a non-profit and social enterprise that assists public schools, teachers, and corporations in empowering disadvantaged youth through innovative education and employment.
While working at Harvard Medical School, Katherine decided to start an organization during her lunch breaks. Global Deeds was created out of a sheer accident, based on the need to assist disadvantaged high school students. What started out as an accident is now a group of experts supporting local and international low-income youth. It helps the students/youth until they achieve financial stability in their lives. “The number of property deeds under the name of our alumni will be a very tangible indicator of our success as a program“, said Ms. Montero.
Katherine arrived in the United States in 1991 from the Dominican Republic with her mother chasing the “American dream”. They settled in The Bronx, New York, where she realized the value of her life back home that she had taken for granted. Most of her childhood memories include working as her grandmother’s “business partner”. They used to sell raffle tickets on the streets, an activity that taught her to make her own money. Katherine considers her late grandmother to be the best business “professor” she has ever had. Prior to starting Global Deeds, she worked as a teacher in schools across Massachusetts. She wanted to become a scientist thereafter while working at Harvard Medical. “But the love for my students and the mission and vision of Global Deeds brought me to a point of focus where I decided to give it my all and move forward knowing that it was going to be extremely challenging, yet incomparably rewarding…. Becoming “Ms. Montero” had a tremendous impact in my life“, she mentioned.
She shared with us the mission and vision statements of the organization… “Global Deeds is devoted to systemically disrupting the cycle of poverty by assisting public schools, nonprofits, and corporations in empowering disadvantaged youth through modern education and employment. We create customized support systems that enable students to reach their potential as technically savvy, financially stable, and socially conscious citizens”. The non-profit / social enterprise helps these students become financially independent and secure their future. They inspire the students to become the change themselves instead of waiting for the change in others.
When she started the organization, Katherine had a background in only science, more specifically, genomics. Although she had never started a nonprofit corporation, she had been part of the nonprofit sector as a student within after school programs ever since she arrived at the US. Additionally, she had developed a series of transferable skills after working as a teacher, researcher, as the financial manager of a lab at Harvard Medical school, and as coordinator of a national program under the NIH. She had to put in additional hours and worked two jobs simultaneously. But her passion for learning helped her get through this phase. Presently, like most organizations, Global Deeds is also facing a lack of funds and the organization is utilizing a good number of volunteers to help raise capital and process grants. The situation has been aggravated further by the pandemic, although the in-kind support Global Deeds has received in the midst of this global disaster is a testament of the trust different communities, foundations, and companies have in the work that they do. The corporation has a strategic process in place to recruit new members, and given the pandemic, this has been particularly challenging for them when dealing with unexpected situations of sickness and deaths due to COVID-19. They are currently working to resolve these issues and welcome any help and ideas for this purpose.
Ms. Montero considers her organization fortunate enough to get constant support from world-renowned individuals in the fields of technology, genetics, education, among others. Public schools and teachers have expressed gratitude and satisfaction for the services they provide, as it is the case of public schools in Massachusetts. She is happy to announce that the non-profit has been recognized by several organizations including the New England Educational Opportunity Association, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the United Way, and the Schmidt Futures. Nevertheless, the need for support is constant.
She encourages the women of today to take control of their daily choices. According to her, “one cannot achieve new results unless one adopts a new system. One should never stop learning, and we should always respect the value of our time. Make sure everyone respects your time too because it is an invaluable asset. Lastly, she leaves a message saying, “Being true to yourself is the most important thing in life… do you know you’re ‘enough’? What would you like your obituary to say about the way you lived your life and how you treated others? Start with the end in mind…”.