Board Member Spotlight: Katie Gerdes
Kathleen O. Gerdes currently serves as the Managing Director of Marketing and Client Relations for Harris Associates LP. Katie has been in her current position for the past decade and is in charge of platform/intermediary relationships for Harris and the Oakmark Family of mutual funds. Katie resides in Hyde Park with her husband and 5-year old son and has been an active member of the community. She and her husband, John, opened the Revival Theater earlier in 2016 with a goal of bringing comedy improvisation back to its birthplace in the Hyde Park neighborhood.
What motivated you to serve on the Board of the Illinois Equal Justice Foundation?
My good friend and fellow Board member Jennifer Shaw introduced me to this organization and I was amazed at all of the good work this group has facilitated within the Illinois community. I’m thrilled to be a small part of this positive action.
When you talk to legislators and other stakeholders about the importance of state funding for legal aid, what is your 15-second elevator pitch?
When you provide access to legal aid for our Illinois residents, we are offering an on-ramp to fair and equal housing options, educational opportunities and family safety. Too often a legal solution is overlooked because of lack of access to services. Small problems get bigger, more expensive and harder to solve. Let’s make things better for all of our Illinois residents by providing enhanced legal access now.
What is your personal philosophy on what should be done about civil legal aid?
Expand services, evaluate providers, execute on mission.
What might someone be surprised to know about you?
I was struck by lightning. (sort of)
What do you do when you aren’t working, volunteering?