Big Brothers Big Sisters (BBBS) of Metropolitan Detroit has announced Kathie Patterson will serve as its next board of directors’ chairperson. Kathie, who was named Board Member of the Year in 2018, begins her two terms on January 1, 2022, and will work to advance the organization’s vision of raising social justice and equity as issues that impact youth in metro Detroit.
“I count myself incredibly fortunate to have been surrounded by people who believed in me and helped me navigate my future as a young girl growing up in Detroit. I simply wouldn’t be where I am without the confidence and mentorship of others, and I want that support for all children in our community,” stated Patterson.
Patterson has led Human Resources for Detroit-headquartered Ally Financial, a digital financial services company, since 2016 and has championed the company’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts which closely align to the work underway at BBBS.
“BBBS’ efforts in the diversity, equity and inclusion space have the power to change lives, improve our communities and advance society,” reflected Patterson. “It starts by embracing difficult conversations around DEI and social injustice, so we can make sure we give our Littles the tools and skill sets to overcome barriers including unconscious biases. Those barriers can be defining and very self-deflating for youth – we have the opportunity to counter that and empower future generations move forward.”
Last year, the Ally Charitable Foundation donated $100,000 to the Big Brothers Big Sisters’ justice, equity, diversity and inclusion campaign, and the organization will continue to offer opportunities for employee engagement as mentors and volunteers.
Patterson’s Detroit roots run deep; she was raised in southwest Detroit, attended Western High School, and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan and master’s degree from University of Detroit Mercy. As a result, increased access to and improved affordability for continuing education is a critical priority for Patterson at BBBS, as well. She was the first donor to the Dorothy Pugh Memorial Scholarship, in memory of a BBBS staff member who died from Covid-19 in 2020. That scholarship helped send a Little Brother to Southern University this year to study engineering.
“There are so many children in our community needing support – particularly within our schools”, said Patterson. “The support of my mentors pushed me to succeed and reach higher in my education, and that’s the power of BBBS in our schools today.”
Patterson is the recipient of numerous leadership awards, including the American Society of Employers, Michigan HR Executive of the Year, and 2021 Chief Human Resources Officer of the Year by HRO Today.
Patterson is a mother of three awesome children, Sarah, Colin, and Even, and is married to Shawn.