About Kat

Kat is a constructive deconstructionist, anti-racist, educator, entrepreneur, curator, activist, writer, and spoken word artist. A Senior level Executive with over 25-years of refined experience in the human/social services field working in a variety of professional settings and levels including grassroots organizations, city, state, and federal entities, public k-12 schools, public and private higher education institutions. Kat has 14-years of diversity, equity, inclusion, justice and belonging (DEIJB) education experience, and extensive community engagement expertise working in and with diverse communities. She is killed in innovative approaches and transformative interdisciplinary pedagogy, with experience working with cross-sector teams locally, nationally, and globally. Kat’s is an ardent speaker whose specialty topic areas include; leadership, faith & spirituality, human sexuality, empathy, trauma, addictions, education, mental health, family & community engagement, youth work, social justice education, training, and connectivity. Kat Co-Founded Power of Self-Education (POSE) Inc. a community engagement & advocacy nonprofit whose mission was “to inspire people and mobilize resources to strengthen communities” which she ran for 12 years serving the Merrimack Valley, Boston, and Chicago. She is the Founder and CEO of Everetts Enterprise LLC and Kateverett.com a certified black owned /woman owned business that provides large and small-scale consulting, coaching and facilitation services to assist with transformative culture shifting in an effort to foster places of belonging. Kat is Founder, curator and owner of COCO Brown, a cultural community healing center, studio & co-working space that uses the mediums of art, music, storytelling, and movement to strengthen community relationships. She is also an Adjunct Instructor teaching in a Social Justice program at a private liberal arts college. Kat ‘s personal mission statement is to “Constantly Cultivate Community”.

My Why?

Because the truth sets us free, and it is our testimony that helps others overcome. Truth is, I have been an outcast, a misfit, an outlier. I know what it is to feel alone. I have been resistant to change, disillusioned, unmovable and toxic to my own demise. I know what is to “wake up” to see life for what it is, and all its polarities, and I have learned to be OK in any season I find myself in. I have had to reinvent myself, and build something out of nothing more than once in my life. I know the power of the pivot and I use the tools life has taught me, along with my education and professional experience to help others heal, wake-up, get unstuck and move forward.  I am often asked why I do what I do. My motivation is to see people whole and thriving. I do it for the little me, abused, traumatized and made to feel “weak”. For every adult, who’s inner child is still clunky and awkward. For every shy introvert, who knows they have so much to say. For the dreamers and list makers, who second-guess and don’t get to the “doing”. For every person who’s ever felt like a misfit. For every voice silenced, for every dream deferred. For the world that my daughters and my sons will live in.  For anyone seeking growth, healing, safety, belonging, and change. For companies and business that want to learn how to harness the innovative power of diversity. I do this work for the hope of seeing a just and equitable world realized. 

The Early Years

I grew up in a beautiful home on a quiet cul-de-sac street. I came from a two-parent household with amazing parents who loved God, each other, our family and the community. I never knew we were low-income as a child. My parents owned their home, dressed impeccable, and were well respected in our community. On the surface you would have thought everything in my life was perfect. I have more happy memories than sad ones and I have been privileged and blessed in many ways due to my parents sacrifice to provide us with a good life to the best of their abilities, and for that I will always be grateful. 

But I’ll let you in on a little secret…. I spent years loathing my voice. From a young age, I knew that I was “different”. I never really fit in to the crowd. I had a deep voice that I never grew out of, buckteeth, and a bad case of what I now know as body-dysmorphia. Everything about me was wrong, my hair, my skin tone, my voice, my body, everything except for my eyes. “Oh, you have such pretty eyes” this was the only compliment I recall as kid. Any comment about my looks was connected to my eyes “You are so pretty, look at your eyes, just like Aunty D”. My eyes were the only visible connection I could see by way of similarity to any of the women in my family. I hated that, and I vividly remember wishing I was somebody else. I truly thought I was a born a mistake. A perfect storm combined of life circumstances and genetics, left 8- year- old me feeing as awkward and as out of place as an ugly duckling. Being #10 of 13 children (11 living), let’s just say it was hard for me to find my own way. In school, I would be the only brown face in my entire school up until 5th grade. Going from a home space where I could just have easily been invisible, to schools where I drastically stood out would be my first lesson on how to pivot that would unlock my superpower that has sustained me in any setting or situation I’ve found myself in ever since.

Growing up in a small suburban Massachusetts town, most of my peers were White and Catholic. I, a dark brown daughter of a Pentecostal Pastor, stuck out like the misplaced thing on the Sesame Street game “one of these things is not like the other”. The photo on the left part of this section is me and my 4th  grade class. This was one year after one of these same classmates told me that they would not date me because I was “black”. It was one year before I would meet another peer of color.  That’s right, I met my first BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color) peer in 5th  grade, and she is still one of my best-friends to this day. Growing up my classmates would talk about going to CCD after school. I being Pentecostal, had no idea what CCD was, and I did not understand why it seemed like I was the only one not going to this club. As I got older I would learn that my peers who attended CCD were going to religious instruction classes to learn about their Catholic faith. It became clear that although we may have been the same age and in the same grade, our faiths, and our lives were very different. No one understood when revival time came, and my family spent 7 nights in a row going to church until the wee hours of the morning, yet showing up to school tired and wearing my slip under my clothes. There was no safe space to share any of this, to ask questions about their faiths, and learn from each other’s lives, cultures and lived experiences. I don’t remember at what age I was first called “blackey”, “chocolate”, “brown face”, or asked if I washed hard enough would my color come off. I do remember uninvited touching of my hair, especially when I had my braids in and feeling very othered and alone. I am grateful for the few peers who played with me regardless of my difference. None the less race and religion were hurdles I had to overcome, just attending elementary school. To add to that I had a deep-voice, buckteeth, was very insecure about my body. It must have been around 4th  grade that I started wearing bigger clothes, trying to hide. I remember I’d put my sleeve over my mouth, sheltering my gap teeth. Sitting in class wishing I was someone named Bianca, or Alexandria, or better yet a boy.

Like I said it was not until middle school that I would meet my 1st BIPOC peer. By 8th grade graduation, there were at least two dozen BIPOC peers (although this term was not created back then). Mostly Dominican or Puerto Rican peers, who would talk to me in class but wouldn’t really play with me at recess, or sit with me at lunch. I grew into a weird, quiet, introvert kid who you would not know was actually quite verbal at church and when I was with my church friends. I dressed weird, I did my hair weird, and began to embrace what others labeled me “weird”. Every time someone said, “your weird” I smiled and said, “thank you!” Although I was no way near confident in myself yet. This carried on in High school as well.  By then I had developed the skills to get through my day. Connecting with the few friends I had when I could, happy there was finally enough black kids to have our own table, because I was still unwelcome at the other tables with my “in-class friends” who wouldn’t talk to me outside of class. I never really fit in to any one given clique, but because of my introvert ways and my apparent ability to become invisible, I blended easily into many groups. I tried to become more active, taking up track, cheerleading, ski club, yearbook, volleyball. I don’t know if I ever finished anything but I was able to learn how to find little pockets of connection and use my imagination where there were no connections to help others connect, even though it often excluded me. I became the “friend of” and second to whoever I was near at the time. But peers would seek me out because I listened and I could help solve problems. 

I wish I could say I grew out of this, but truth is I have come to realize that my superpower is doing for others what I so desperately longed for as a kid, which was to feel a part of, to feel accepted. I do this by creating spaces of inclusion, connection and cultivating a sense of community and belonging. 

Building Spaces of Belonging 

Growing up in church, I learned so much through feeling. Learning to be aware of the shifts in the atmosphere. There were times to clap and times to be quiet, when things turned serious no one needed to say it, you just felt it. As I got older, I learned to be more aware and in-tune with this energy. It is the thread of connectivity that weaves all of humanity together. The fabric of human spirit that forms community. Having overcome some of the hardest circumstances life can throw at a person, I have learned how to pivot, adjust, and reinvent myself and rebuild a life. One thing I have learned is that while we may not be able to choose where we end up (geographically or otherwise) we do have a great deal of agency over what we make of our lives in any given circumstance. I have spent years ashamed of my struggles, barriers, and the feelings of loneliness and displacement that I have experienced. As an organic mediator and connector, folks seek me when they are looking for solutions, resources, or relationship. Regardless of what I was going through in my own life, I was always able to offer hope and clarity to others. This led to a career in human service and social work, and eventually community engagement. I have dedicated my life to helping folks be better in relationship. Be it with themselves, their families, school communities, peers, or in society at large. We as humans need connection. I’ve been gifted with the ability to help others connect more deeply with themselves, and with others. 

It not just what I do, it is how I live my life… I reached a point in my life where I realized that no one was going to intuitively make room for me. I needed to create space for myself. Once I found what I call my true authentic self, I was at home in myself and able to build community with anyone, at any time, anywhere. As a recovering introvert there are times where this process is still uncomfortable for me, but I’ve come to specialize in being able to work in the uncomfortable zone, and not run from it. I now create space for myself and for others everywhere I go, and in every room I walk into. This work is challenging, yet rewarding. Folks are not always ready to grow, and many find themselves resistant to change (change is hard). I remember what that felt like, and so I strive to be an intuitive facilitator meeting people where they are at, but leaving them with something to chew on, and an open door for when they are ready for more. My mission, to constantly cultivate community, is my passion and my chosen way of being and navigating this life. In a world where folks are more polarized than ever, I choose to be a bridge of connectivity, restoration, inclusion, hope and belonging.

Education

  • Merrimack College, M. Ed.
  • University of Massachusetts Boston, BA
  • Northern Essex Community College, AS
  • Northern Essex Community College, Alcohol & Drug Abuse Counseling Certificate

Training / Affiliations

  • LEADS (Leaders Engaged and Activated to Drive System-wide change) Lawrence Partnership and Harvard Business School
    (2020-2021 Cohort)
  • Implicit Bias Training Seeing RED Annie E. Casey Foundation (2018)
  • Undoing Racism Training: The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond (2018)
  • Andover Bread Loaf Teacher’s Network (2018 )
  • Staring Bloc Fellow (2016)

Awards / Recognition 

  • Recipient of the Inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Drum Major for Justice Award presented by Calvary Baptist (2023)
  • Recipient of the Belonging Award presented by Waystone Health & Human Services (2022) 

  • Distinguished Educator Certificate Merrimack College (2022)
  • DEI Education certificate Merrimack College (2022)
  • Alpha Iota Sigma National Interdisciplinary Honor Society (2020)
  • Nonprofit of the year- The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce (2019)

  • Recognition Award – Cambiando el mundo de personas con discapacidades / Changing the world for children with disabilities  (2018)