Grace Katabaruki
Director, Investment Practice Group

Mission-driven work is important to me. I have to know my work is making a difference.

I’m responsible for the day-to-day operations of our investment practice group. We are the group that both identifies new investment partners and manages existing investments. I help ensure that we’re hitting milestones and advancing our various priorities; basically, I keep the trains running.

Before coming to VPP, I worked on the Hill.

I was a legislative assistant for Senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island. I worked primarily on housing issues but also judiciary issues, which means I got to meet Justice Sotomayor while she was in the confirmation process. That was pretty cool. I also got to hear President Obama speak in the East Room of the White House.

I really enjoy the fact that we’re regional. It means we can develop a deep expertise here. Personally, I’ve been able to gain in-depth knowledge around issues related to education in D.C. I have a profound respect for educators because I was one.

My first job out of college was as a teacher’s assistant. Then I went on to teach third grade. Just recently, I was able to go back see these students whom I had taught as eight-year-olds. All my former students are in college (or beyond) now.

I see myself as very genuine. I think that people understand that I’m interested in them as people and that I want to help them be successful in whatever their organization’s mission is.

I like to cook a lot. I didn’t grow up cooking, but I sure did a lot when I was in that first job making $20,000 a year. I had to learn how to cook, and I’ve enjoyed it ever since.

When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be an actress. I remember checking out a “how-to” book on acting from the library. I talked about getting an agent and all, which is funny now. I think part of what drew me to teaching was the chance to “perform” for my students each day and engage them in the learning process.

I grew up in Silver Spring, Maryland, which is a suburb of Greater Washington. So this is my hometown, and that’s something else I love. I have the opportunity to do work that impacts the area where I grew up.

Be kind. That’s my personal motto. Just be kind.