2013 not only starts a new era of executive leadership for NITA but also sees the departure of one of the longest-tenured NITA staff members. Katie Strand was one of the first hires when NITA moved to Colorado in 2006 and December 31st 2012 will be her last day with NITA. She and her husband, Zane, have accepted a job teaching English in Shanghai, China. This will kick start the beginning of their lifelong goal to live abroad and travel the world. The words below, from people Katie has worked with during her time at NITA, paint the picture of how much she will be missed.
Wendy Velez—Associate Executive Director, Operations: “Katie has been my right hand and sounding board for nearly seven years. She has developed relationships, partnerships, and alliances with a great number of NITA faculty, board members, customers, and staff. I watched her grow personally and professionally and couldn’t be more proud of her and what she contributed to NITA over the years. We will miss her dearly.”
Mike Roake—Program Director and Faculty Member: “Katie Strand is one of the most competent PD coordinators imaginable. She approached every challenge with humor and a can-do attitude. Often she needed the humor to deal with prima donna behaviors from PDs (myself included), and it always worked. If there was any issue, Katie is the go-to person. Bright, talented, and committed to NITA, she is the essence of all that is best in a supervisor charged with herding cats. She will be missed, not only as an able program coordinator, but as a friend. Shanghai is the lucky beneficiary of her talent. Thanks, Katie.”
Terre Rushton– Associate Executive Director, Programs: “Katie is smart, organized and has a wicked sense of humor that saves us all on the worst of days. She has done so much to make NITA professional, the business that it is and should be to sustain itself as it competes and flourishes in the future. I have learned so very much from her about organization and systems, and will be Skyping with her every day in China to ask questions about CRM. I will miss her.”
Mike Kelly—Program Director and NITA Trustee: “During my tenure as a Program Director for Teacher Training I had the opportunity to work closely with Katie on ten different programs in California, Colorado and New York. She was indispensable in making those programs a success. Always energetic, insightful and willing to help whenever problems crept up, her approach to challenges was uniformly positive. She was a phenomenal ambassador for NITA. From facility selection, to participant recruitment, to on site administration, Katie was a Program Director’s best friend. Her dedication to NITA’s mission and goals, and in working to guarantee that our public programs were superior to any other training, was second to none.”
Vanessa Munzert—Customer Service Specialist: “We have been friends for years and I knew Katie was a wonderful, kind and clever person before I started at NITA. What struck me when I became her coworker, though, is what a fabulous leader she is! She remains calm, cool and collected no matter what the situation, whether it is a crisis or mere quibble. Her ability to remain unaffected by the reactions of the people around her and to move steadily forward towards a solution is, in the truest sense of the word, awesome. I know she will enjoy success in all her future endeavors but it cannot be put into words how much NITA will miss her leadership and guidance. She truly is a one of a kind, irreplaceable, and exceptional person. Katie, you are the best; safe travels and good luck!”
John Baker—Former Executive Director: “In her six years at NITA, she transformed! No, not just the name change, when Zane was lucky enough to get her to marry him. No, not just the many “title changes” she went through (from Program Coordinator to Lead Program Coordinator, to Assistant Director of Programs to Director of Programs.) It was much more! She became a self-confident leader of people, deeply loyal to NITA, but willing to “tell it like it is!” It was that honesty and that transparency that endeared her to the PD’s, the faculty, and the rest of the staff, including me. Good luck on the new adventure. NITA will miss you greatly. So you need to keep in touch! Please!”
Jay Leach– Program Director and Faculty Member: “Katie – DON’T GO! Seriously, I do know that you are looking forward to new adventures, and that is always good. Your ever-present good spirits and can-do attitude, which made you so valued a colleague in our work together, will make you both successful and happy – an unbeatable combination. You were a great “right hand” to me on our programs, and of course I will miss that; but the skill you lavished on your work continues in the good training you have passed on to your successors. Thank you for everything!”
Mark Dobson– Program Director and Faculty Member: “Every great organization has someone who is the ‘go to’ person when folks have questions. For the past several years that person at NITA has been Katie. On the few occasions when she doesn’t know something she’s asked, she makes sure to find the answer and promptly get back to person asking. Katie has been a real joy to work with and will be very much missed. I’m sure someone will pick up her mantle, but she leaves a ‘tough act to follow’.”
Megan Melich—Lead Program Coordinator: “It is hard to put into words how much Katie will be missed. She has been a leader, a listener and a mentor to me over the past year. I’ve learned so much from her and know that there is still so much knowledge that she has, it makes it hard to imagine NITA without her. It has been a true honor and joy getting to work alongside such an amazing individual. I know that she will take her experiences from NITA combined with her compassionate nature and achieve wonderful things in her journey to China as well as other life experiences yet to be imagined.”
Henry Brown–Program Director and Faculty Member: “Sweet, smart, dedicated, extremely hard working, organized beyond description, adventurous, good natured – frankly an adequate description of Katie is beyond my limited capacities. For years she worked with Jay and I on the organization of the Western Regional Trial and Depo programs. Katie was always the perfect partner – her organization and energy served us well. Her good-natured spirit made her an absolute joy to work with.
“While I will always be appreciative of her incredible work the thing I will miss the most about Katie is her spirit. Her smile is infectious. And I have long since ceased being amazed by her many adventures in life. Marathons and triathlons at all times of the year. As she embarks on her latest adventure Katie stands as an inspiration that life is to be lived, not merely to exist. It is sometimes easy to fall into the trap of just existing from day to day standing pat with whatever brings us a sense of security. Katie always stands as a reminder that life is to be lived, experienced and enjoyed to the fullest. Katie is a reminder that hard work and stability are not incompatible with a life lived to the fullest. Good luck Katie. You will be missed.”
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As you can see, Katie has made quite an impression on everyone she has worked with. If nothing else, these comments show that she is going to have a lot of NITA people to keep in touch with throughout her travels. Good luck with everything you do, Katie, and have a blast while you’re doing it.
Thanks you for everything.
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