Voice of the Board: Kathy Shea Westra
Meet Educando Board Member Kathy Shea Westra
Ms. Kathy Shea Westra has tirelessly served Educando since 2004. After three years serving on the Advisory Council, Kathy joined the Board of Directors where she continues to help guide and advance the Educando mission. Kathy heads the Audit Committee and is part of the Executive Committee as well.
Kathy is a Director at HSBC Securities specialized in Latin American Equity Sales. She was previously an Executive Director and Head of the Latin American Equity sales desk Morgan Stanley, and was Co-Head of Sales at Santander Investment Securities. Kathy has been involved in Latin America for most of her career, including 4 years living in Brazil. Kathy earned her M.I.M. at the Gavin School of International Management (Thunderbird) and her B.A. at Trinity College.
What inspired you to first get involved with Educando?
Two things inspired me to get involved with Educando. Luanne Zurlo, the founder of Educando, and the cause of improving education in Latin America. Like Luanne, I have built a career around doing business in Latin America and I wanted to give back. There is huge opportunity in the region. However, how can countries develop, if they are only educating a small segment of the population? In most Latam countries, the public school education systems are not adequate, illiteracy and drop out rates are high. I am a firm believer in education helping to break the vicious cycle of poverty. When my grandparents on my father’s side came to the US from Ireland, their first jobs in the US, were as gardener and a maid. However, my grandmother was very focused on education. My father and his sisters all went to private schools and then college. They all had professions that allowed them to have a better lifestyle than what they grew up in.