Katherina “Kat” Rosqueta, WG’01, tells the story of a lunch she had with a group of fellow Wharton alumnae. One of her friends got to up leave and remarked how they all should do such things more often. Why? Because “Wharton women rock,” she declared. Most likely, many alumnae could share similar anecdotes and perhaps very similar quotes. But that is Rosqueta’s point. She is part of a larger community that shares common—and amazing—bonds, and she feels gratitude for being a part of it.
She feels especially blessed to have also been recognized by such a peer group. Rosqueta was honored with the Kathleen McDonald Distinguished Alumna Award, given at this year’s Wharton Women in Business Conference. As founding executive director at Penn’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy and an adjunct faculty at the School of Social Policy & Practice, Rosqueta has earned the award for her professional excellence, worldwide leadership in the field of social impact, and her philanthropic pursuits with charities involved in the women’s and Asian communities.
Rosqueta is humbled by the award because she has accomplished all of this, she feels, thanks in part to the help of Wharton alumnae—from her time on campus to her subsequent move to McKinsey, and back to campus where a small group of Wharton alumni helped found and since support the Center for High Impact Philanthropy.
“If I just look at my path, my path is filled with Wharton alumnae and alumni who have helped me identify opportunities, supported me in capturing those opportunities and worked with me to achieve collective goals,” she says.
“Once you’ve seen how other people can create those opportunities for you and create a place where you can contribute your best, it’s hard not to be inspired to do that for others,” she adds.
The Kathleen McDonald Award also recognizes Rosqueta as a role model to other Wharton women for her “balanced career.”
Rosqueta prefers the term “mosaic”—in that her life is filled with richness and that the boundary between her University job and the things she does outside of it is “porous.”
“I’m lucky because my job has me focused on issues that I find personally fascinating,” she explains. These “issues” include her work on the board of GuideStar and with the Asian Mosaic Fund Giving Circle, her relationships with alumni and friends, and her close-knit family—her husband and three young children.
WWIB created the Distinguished Alumna Award in 1995 to highlight the accomplishments of alumnae and strengthen the bond between graduates and students. It is named for Kathleen McDonald, WG’79, who was an original founder of what was then the Graduate Women in Business Club and served at Exxon Enterprises after graduation. She died in a car accident in June 1988.
Which is one more reason that the award is particularly meaningful for Rosqueta. Like McDonald’s son Shawn, who presents the award each year, Rosqueta lost a parent in a car accident.
This and the connection between what McDonald valued and what Rosqueta strives for—“there are two very personal reasons why this award is especial poignant,” Rosqueta says, to add to the weight of the Wharton honor.