Living in Fairfax, Virginia, Kate (Grimm) Andreottola ’98 is steeped in the day-to-day world of fundraising—serving a two-year term as the Stonehill College Fund chair and working as director of advancement at St. Paul VI Catholic High School, another one of her alma maters. “There is no better gift than an education,” she notes of her passion for raising money for school initiatives and student scholarships. “I have seen it firsthand change lives for families.” 
With a spirit of volunteerism, Andreottola not only devotes her time to Stonehill, but she is also a longtime coach of her daughter’s soccer team and is an advocate for breast cancer awareness. In five questions, Andreottola discusses the business side of education, shares a lasting lesson from Professor Warren Dahlin's Creative Process course, and recalls how a visit back to campus reminded her that—just like her mom's banana bread recipe—giving only works when you have “all of the ingredients.” 

How have you built a career that combines your love of business and passion for education? 

I put my Stonehill degree to good use, and started working in the corporate world after graduation. My first manager, Kelly (Fahlin) Finn ’95 really gave me the foundation for my professional career. In addition to developing the skills I needed, she showed me that you can be successful and lead with compassion, conviction and courage.
My career led me to higher education and now to a position at a Catholic high school. I quickly realized that there was something powerful in being a part of education, knowing how much my own education shaped who I am today. Seeing the connections between students and their teachers, knowing that on any given day a student may learn something that starts them down a path of learning about who they are and what they can become is extremely rewarding. This is why I feel passionate about my job and in service to Stonehill. We know that education feeds progress and change. To make that happen, there is a business side to it, to be financially sound, especially during challenging times. 

You carve out time to give back—as a soccer coach, an advocate for breast cancer awareness and as the chair of the Stonehill College Fund. Why is volunteering important to you?

My parents and my time at Stonehill showed me the power of giving back. During Orientation at Stonehill, we went on a service project through Campus Ministry's Into the Streets program. I loved that the College introduced service to others in our first days. This also connected me to Campus Ministry which played an important role in my time at Stonehill. 
Growing up the daughter of a high school basketball coach, I loved watching my father coach. This inspired me to start coaching my daughter's soccer team when she was 6 years old. Selfishly, my motivation was to be able to spend as much time with her as possible, having finished treatment for breast cancer and realizing that our minutes in life are precious. 
The role models and unexpected things in life often inspire me to ask myself how I can help. From coaching girls to see what they are capable of, to using my cancer journey to help others, to serving Stonehill as the chair of the Fund, it provides a sense of fulfillment while also, hopefully, helping others.

You tell a story about how your mom’s banana bread relates to Stonehill and giving. Can you share?

I truly believe banana bread is the cure-all! I enjoy making banana bread, often to give to others. One day, I moved a little too fast and forgot an ingredient. The banana bread fell flat—literally—and tasted awful. It made its way to the trash can. Always trying to find the learning experience in anything in life, I realized how this related to so many things. Giving was one.

When I walked through Stonehill's campus with one of my friends during a visit, we looked with awe at the Meehan School of Business building. My friend, who was also a business major, said, “I can’t give enough to name a building. How can my meager gift even help?” Enter the recipe analogy—banana bread as my reference…2 cups of flour, 1 cup of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of vanilla and baking soda. I equated the 2 cups of flour to those who can make a larger gift, and the vanilla and baking soda to a smaller gift. The recipe only works with all of the ingredients. 

As an alumna, I can appreciate the parallel of a recipe with the impact of giving, at all levels, to Stonehill. Stonehill Light and Hope is a great way to join others and make a gift, no matter the size, that in the end, combined with others, will result in a transformational gift. Much like a banana bread made with all of the right ingredients and measurements!

Mom Grimm's Banana Bread Recipe

Kate Andreottola ’98 shares her mom's banana bread recipe. "I truly believe banana bread is the cure-all!" she says. "I enjoy making banana bread, often to give to others."

What is a lesson from one of your Stonehill courses that you refer to often?

Professor Warren Dahlin’s Creative Process course inspired me to approach all things with a creative lens—to see multiple ways to solve a problem, present an opportunity or tell a story. The class gave students permission to flex their creative muscle and identify their personal gifts and talents. One student may prefer to write a paper, someone else may want to present to the class, and another create a video. This flexibility encouraged me to think creatively and learn more about the content. I am grateful for what Professor Dahlin taught me. As a parent, a coach, in my career, and in all I do, I pause to think through the creative process. I find that creativity allows people to feel appreciated and worthy. It injects a vibrancy into life.

Stonehill’s motto is Lux et Spes, Light and Hope. What does this mean to you?

Light and hope evoke a sense of curiosity and possibility, and at the same time strength and selflessness. The curiosity and possibility lend themselves to education beautifully. Much like Professor Dahlin’s class, the concept of light and hope means being open to let something into your life through learning, experiencing and serving. Sometimes we are the recipients of light and hope, and sometimes it is our responsibility to give it to others, so they can see light and hope in their lives.

I admire Stonehill for embodying this in all they do and living their mission. I know it was happening when I was a student, and I see it in action in all of the people that make up the Stonehill family. I take great pride in the commitment the College makes to this. It is one of many reasons I choose to give back.

Stonehill Light and Hope Giving Days

Stonehill Light and Hope Giving Days are on April 29-May 3. Please support what makes you Stonehill proud by making an early gift today!