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Why MAKER Kathryn Marshall is riding on

After earning a degree in finance from the University of Colorado at Boulder, Kathryn first worked in investment banking. After a few years, she seized the opportunity to work for a public relations (PR) and investor relations agency. She then boldly opened her own strategic communications firm with her business partner, focused primarily on tech companies, and grew it into one of Denver’s largest public relations firms.

While running her business, she decides to start a family. At 30 weeks pregnant with her first child, she contracted a life-threatening illness. The only remedy was to give birth. Her daughter Jordan was born nine weeks early with a host of complications including a heart defect, weighing just three pounds and unable to breathe on her own. Kathryn’s condition worsened and she and her baby were fighting for their lives. They learned that Jordan had suffered a stroke in utero and would remain in the neonatal intensive care unit for 50 days. “They told me she would live with cerebral palsy and other lifelong complications. She might never walk, ride a bike, and maybe even speak,” Kathryn explains.

At that point, she decided that “if Jordan could make it out alive, I would dedicate my life to giving back.”

Fortunately, Jordan not only made it through, but continued to walk, talk, and ride his bike. “She beat all odds and continues to do so today, at 17 and a senior in high school,” says Kathryn, adding that Jordan, despite brief spells in a wheelchair in her life, “has the smiles every day, is a good skier and dreams of becoming an aerospace engineer, I know she will.

After selling her stake in her company, Kathryn worked nonprofits for seven years, including leading the March of Dimes in Colorado and Wyoming. As a board member of the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado at Boulder, she met its current director with whom she has remained in contact. After four years at March of Dimes, she worked in corporate and external relations for the university for another three years. When she was asked to join her current manager at Morgan Stanley and help grow the business in the workplace, “I jumped at the chance,” she says.