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The Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) has awarded Kate Bottiger its 2018 Transformational Leader Award. Kate has been the executive director at Reach for Resources since August 2014 and was secretly nominated by a group of Reach staff members, with input from the board of directors chairperson.

MCN solicited nominations on its website for three leadership categories: Catalytic Leader (emerging leader), Visionary Leader (mid-career leader), and Transformational Leader. One of the key criteria for this final award was to “effectively demonstrate commitment to the nonprofit sector, having served in a strategic or significant nonprofit role and with at least 20 years of professional experience.” Kate has spent her entire career (27 years) in nonprofit work, beginning with 22 years at Hammer Residences. Her final position there was as the Director of Advocacy & Volunteer Resources, which allowed her to lead advocacy, recreation, and volunteer programs. She then served one year as the Executive Director at Rein in Sarcoma, and now, along with being the Executive Director at Reach for Resources, she fulfills the same role for another nonprofit.

The nomination highlighted Kate’s innovation in advancing Reach’s mission, her partnership with other nonprofits, and the trust and collaboration she practices with her staff. “Kate maintains a constant pulse on the world around us and how it affects everyone. A national speaker, she is a champion for disability rights and strives to be a leader in the community and beyond.” The nomination also emphasized Kate’s humility, capturing how she even regularly takes home and washes dirty dishes used by staff, since the office break room does not have a sink. Reach’s board chair Nico Montoya stated, “One thing I’d like to highlight is how much Kate cares about not just the people she serves, but the people who work for us. It comes across very clearly that she feels empathy toward everyone in the organization and is willing to make personal sacrifices to make their jobs more sustainable.”

MCN, whose membership includes over 2,100 nonprofits and 230 businesses, presented the awards at a June 13 leadership luncheon. There, Kate was asked to share a short presentation on her vision of leadership, as were each of the other two award recipients.

As the Transformational Leader Award recipient, Kate will have the opportunity to become a 2018-2019 Executive Leadership Fellow at the Center for Integrative Leadership (CIL) at the University of Minnesota. CIL is focused on research, learning, and discussion to catalyze intersector and other boundary-crossing collaboration for social impact. Their leadership fellows join a vibrant community of students, scholars, and practitioners committed to fostering leadership that crosses boundaries. CIL is a University-wide initiative specifically affiliated with the Humphrey School of Public Policy, the Carlson School of Management, the Law School, the College of Education and Human Development, and the School of Public Health.

Responding to this news, Kate shared, “I am humbled and greatly honored to have been nominated for the Transformational Leader Award from my colleagues at Reach, who provide inspiration to me and those around them every day. Thank you. I would also not be where I am today if it was not for those who supported me throughout my career. Thank you. You all know who you are and I am truly grateful. Thank you for instilling in me the passion I have for the work we do, the hard lessons learned along the way, and the support and trust you have provided to me.”

She continued, “Again, to colleagues and leaders who I work alongside each day, thank you from the bottom of my heart. I look forward to our journey and the continued success at Reach!”