It’s been a circuitous road to Bay, and Kat Sullivan wouldn’t change a minute of it. Bay’s new Director of Admission, Kat recently joined the staffulty by moving cross-country from Connecticut to San Francisco. While such a big move might have intimidated some people, it’s just been yet another in a long line of adventures for Kat.
Adopted from the Philippines, Kat’s early childhood found her living in the Philippines, Tokyo, and Hong Kong – all by the age of 13. From Hong Kong, Kat traveled to the US to attend high school, settling into Kent School, a Connecticut boarding school. After graduation, she earned a degree in fashion design from Syracuse University, which signaled that it was time for another change: moves to Chicago, then New York City, and entry into the world of marketing and advertising. What attracted her to this type of work? As Kat notes, “this meshed my creative skills with what I would consider my strengths: my people and communication skills.”
Her professional interests took a sharp turn after one significant day: Sept. 11, 2001. Living in Manhattan, Kat was shaken by what happened. “That really threw me for a loop. I really had a hard time going back to work, and felt that, while marketing was fun, I just needed more purpose.” To find that, she called up the headmaster of her old high school; Kat had lived in Kent for four years, and after 9/11 she needed to return to a place that made sense, to a place that felt like home. A few days later, Kat was packed up and ready to move “from Manhattan to a small town with one stoplight,” she laughs, “but I left my home in Hong Kong when I was 13, so moving around has always been my M.O. I like to keep things fresh!”
Once there, Kat began working in Development, and then Admission. After three years, she became Kent’s Director of Admission, and was not only the youngest director ever, but also the first female director in the school’s 100 year history. Not satisfied with that accomplishment, Kat enrolled in Georgetown’s Global Executive MBA program. Through her classes, she travelled all over the world, visiting Washington D.C., Spain, Argentina, Brazil, China, India and New York City. That program, she notes, sparked her desire to do something new: “I thought, ok, what am I going to do now? Am I going to stay here, doing the same thing? It was like I had seen the world again through the MBA program, and I was getting the itch to see if there were other opportunities.”
Then she heard about Bay. The first thing she noticed? “The mindfulness and the thoughtfulness. Not every kid is the same type of learner, not every kid is passionate about the same things, but they all have the courage to really find themselves. It just resonated with me.” After her visit, Kat knew that Bay would be a great fit. “The kids and teachers are actually walking the talk. What you read on the website and in the publications is actually happening, and that is really inspiring.”
As Kat begins her first year at Bay, she says she can’t wait to get started on her work. As she puts it, “I love being the starting point to someone’s future.”