Women Worth Watching 2015
This CSBM Director Makes Sure a Lot of Deserving Kids Get a Quality Education
After joining Charter School Business Management Inc. (CSBM) as a financial manager in 2010, Kathleen Elie quickly rose through the ranks to become a director in 2012. Kathleen and her team manage over $150 million of public funds for the more than 30 clients they serve. Ensuring fiscal viability and accurate financial audits is paramount for the highly scrutinized charter school sector. Knowing that one in seven charter schools is shutdown, and that 80% of these closures are the result of financial mismanagement, drives Kathleen to safeguard the staff and students of these schools, which are typically located in impoverished neighborhoods, like Harlem, the South Bronx, and various parts of Brooklyn and Queens. An equally important part of her job is to provide professional development focused on fiscal management for school leaders, board members, and finance and operations staff. Her efforts enable thousands of low-income students to benefit from a high-quality education they would not otherwise receive.
“…these challenges give me more reason to give nothing but the best in all that I do.”
Prior to joining CSBM, Kathleen previously worked as the founding director of finance for Bronx Community Charter School. She has also worked as an accounting and financial professional for various nonprofits, including an international think tank, curriculum developers, and education organizations.
“Being a woman in my profession has been rewarding,” said Kathleen. “Women dominate this sector of nonprofit finance. As a woman of color, I face additional challenges but these challenges give me more reason to give nothing but the best in all that I do.”
Never one to be idle, Kathleen serves as a mentor through iMentor, as well as treasurer of the board of her sorority chapter. She participates in races and cycling events throughout New York City. In addition, Kathleen has been a licensed and active real estate professional and tax preparer since 2007. She holds a master’s degree in public administration from Baruch College and a bachelor’s in sociology from Stony Brook University.
Education: Master’s in Public Administration, Baruch College; BA in Sociology, Stony Brook University
First Job: Finance Associate at the International Longevity Center
What I’m Reading: “The Power of Right Believing” by Joseph Prince and “The $100 Start Up” by Chris Guillebeau
The most important quality a woman leader should have is…
…the desire to empower other women to reach their highest potential. I truly believe that it is important to help others excel.
The career advice I’d give my former self:
Keep on believing in yourself and always give 100%, even when you do not want to!
Words I live by:
“Success is the only option” and “Can’t is not a word that is in my vocabulary.”
The one thing I’d do differently in my career, knowing what I know now, is…
…I would have taken more risks.
When I really need to focus on a project, I…
…will wake up early or stay up late, sit upright at a table, put my headphones on, and focus on that project until it is completed.
My biggest career leap (and what I learned from it) was…
…accepting a position at CSBM. The opportunity came when I was not looking for it. Working at CSBM has taught me that I can accomplish anything I put my mind to and that my biggest adversary is myself. I have learned a lot about my ability as a leader, a team player, and my capacity to both learn and teach. I considered this move a leap for me because I was finally able to use my skills autonomously and develop others in their practice.
Being a woman in my profession has been…
…rewarding. Women dominate this sector of nonprofit finance. As a woman of color, I face additional challenges but these challenges give me more reason to give nothing but the best in all that I do.
I’ve learned that failure is…
…a necessary obstacle to appreciating success.
I maintain a healthy personal life by…
…carving out time for family and friends and shutting down anything pertaining to work.