Last week, the TechWomen community suffered the loss of one of our own mentors, Kate Slattery. Kate joined TechWomen in 2015 as a Professional Mentor at SolarCity. The tragic loss of Kate is felt around the world by so many who personally met Kate and many more who are part of the TechWomen community.
TechWomen is inviting the community to take a moment of silence in Kate’s honor on Wednesday, July 6, at 9 am PDT (4 pm GMT).
Though we met Kate only last year, she made quite an impact on our Emerging Leaders and leaves a positive mark on our community and beyond. Kate mentored Nomusa Nyoni of Zimbabwe, formed relationships with other Emerging Leaders (ELs) at SolarCity and continued to stay in touch with them after the program. “She welcomed me and the rest of the ELs with open arms on our first day at SolarCity,” Nomusa said. “She took her time from her busy schedule to teach me about solar design and introduce me to her colleagues who she felt could make an impact in my career. She told me about her progression from mechanical engineer, to PV designer to project manager of a software team and author and mentor – a remarkable accomplishment for a then 25-year-old!”
The ELs remember Kate for her warmth and generosity and fondly remember how Kate hosted a BBQ for the “SolarSisters” at her home. “We shared lunch and laughter in the meet and greet sessions. We talked about making the world greener, more peaceful and serene,” Arwa Guesmi, 2015 fellow of Tunisia, said of Kate. “She had big hopes and dreams, and she wanted the world to contain all the positivity and love she held in her heart.”
Kate’s spirit lives on through TechWomen and her fellow women in STEM. “She was sincere in all her questions and support. Her sincerity and true kindness was so obvious that it made us respect and love her from the first day,” Bahara Nurmetova, 2015 fellow of Turkmenistan, said. “She is really a role model for women around the world.”
Kate received her Bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Wisconsin and worked on photovoltaic design and software engineering at SolarCity since 2014. In her spare time, she enjoyed running and cycling in San Francisco, and she worked on a children’s book, Fly with Maya, about a girl traveling the world in a hot air balloon, learning about engineering along her journey. Kate’s SolarCity colleagues remember her for “her energy, sweetness, initiative and expertise – in an industry dominated by men, in a skillset dominated by men, she was able to shine as a blossoming female leader.”
In honor of Kate, Kate’s family, SolarCity and GivePower created the “Shine On” Scholarship Fund, in which SolarCity CTO and Co-Founder Peter Rive will match all donations. For every $3,000 raised, a scholarship will be awarded to a woman in engineering at SolarCity to participate in a GivePower solar-service project. Anyone who donates $50 will receive a copy of Fly with Maya.