Last month we held our first Galentine’s Day and if you remember, we had our iconic sign “Support Your Local Girl Gang.” Since then, we have made it a mission to do just that, and seek out Local girl bosses who are an inspiration. As we continue to celebrate and empower women today, we would like to introduce our first local girl boss, Kathryn Salazar.
Kathryn, also known as Kat, recently graduated from CSU Fullerton with a Bachelors in Health Science and focus in global health. She has experience working in the non-profit and volunteering sector, including the Boys and Girls Club and The Red Cross. Throughout her journey is discovering her passion and career, Kat’s faced challenges that resulted in building resilience through time. Progressively, she took advantage of all the amazing people she had around her, and let them shape her into the person she is today. Kat constantly learns from the people around her, takes what they love, their passions and builds herself on that.
Salazar always wanted to be in medicine, with the influence of her grandmother. Originally, her education was in Pre-Med cardiology (so she can say she’s the Dr. Of Love) but at the end of the day, Kat felt this background wasn’t going to help the amount of people she wanted to, especially because this career track took a lot of time. As a result, Kat decided to go into Health Science which showed her so much more that Pre-Med did, including the political, environmental, cultural, health aspects of living and ways to improve it. Kat said “if I can change one thing, maybe I can help a lot more people” and that’s what she set her career path to do. I asked her if she felt like she’s had an impact on people (me knowing that she’s definitely inspired and impacted my life), and she acknowledged that she has, mainly on the people she’s connected to. “But,” Salazar said, “I don’t think I’ve done enough and I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with that.”
What are you doing now and how are you achieving your goals?
“I applied for a program called 'A Family Health International', which puts people like me through a program in 10 different countries. We’re there for a certain amount of time but [I] will be working in clinics on remote islands that need improvement in their health advocacy and their way of living.”
The program she applied for will bring her back to the Philippines, where her family is from, in the Quezon Province and Romblon. This program gives people like Kat the opportunity to learn and find solutions to improve the local health programs. She’s excited to see what this part of her future holds, as she awaits to join this program to learn and immerse herself into the mindset of what the future holds and ways to help these countries.
While Salazar waits for the program, she has filled all her free time going to volunteering events and even developing her own non-profit.
No Return Address will be the name of Kat’ non-profit where the idea that there’s a no return address in giving. Kat mentioned how people do volunteering events for personal gain, but the goal is to do a good deed just because it’s good, so recognition isn’t necessary.
Her first event will be called “I Will Keep You Warm,” where she will be collecting blankets from October to December to distribute to the homeless community during the cold season. Kat was inspired when she had to pick up a few friends from a bar, and while one of them was sick, a homeless man had given Kat an unopened bottle of water and some baby wipes to give to her friend. In return, she grabbed a blanket from the trunk of her car and gave it to the man in return.
“He didn’t need to do that and he probably needed it more than we did.”
Did you face backlash or any struggles during your journey?
“Yes! From Everyone, but it created resilience. You need resilience in order to change things. Whether it’s growth within yourself or growth within other people. For something like this, you need a strong self.” - Kat Salazar
Are there any female leaders who are constant inspirations in your life?
“Mother Teresa!” Kat said right away. “She had so much resilience and a kind heart.” Like Mother Teresa, Kat is “for the children.” Salazar said there are so many quotes and so much inspiration that stems from this amazing women (definitely look up some of her quotes when you’re feeling down).
Ellen Degeneres also inspired Kat. “Degeneres’ conversational skills are amazing and she developed her brand by herself. Her charisma inspires others -- myself included! She has such a positive outlook that keeps people positive.”
When Kat mentioned Ellen’s positive outlook, I hope she knows she has the same effect on people too.
Finally, her mom, of course. Kat’s mother grew up with nothing, she was the first of 14 children to go to college. Now, she is the main provider for a family of 5. Her dream to provide for her family was achieved, and Kat is paying it forward and trying to achieve the same thing.
“She tries to be her best self for others, and although she struggles she never lets it get to her. [She’s] so incredible and she doesn’t even see herself that way, even when she should.”
Are there any quotes to follow by?
When I asked Kat this question she rustled through her bookshelf and pulled out a stack of paper of inspirational quotes until she found this one:
“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let your pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.” - Kurt Vonnegut
To close, what’s a piece of advice to give to others about follow their dreams?
“Build resilience - when people get you down, you gotta get back up. You have to be willing to give with all your heart. To love with all you’ve got. You have one life to life, so give it with all you’ve got!”
If there was one takeaway from this: build resilience and give back. If you have the chance, give back when you can, be thankful for what you have. Kat is a constant inspiration in my life, and I hope her inspires you too.
If you know of a local girl boss and you want to share her story, let us know and we’ll interview them for our new blog “Women Wednesday!”