After three decades in corporate and nonprofit leadership positions, Kate Berman was a gifted mentor to other business executives on how to be more effective and efficient.
As the executive director of a nonprofit called think2perform Research Institute, Berman worked to teach business leaders to be moral, purposeful and intelligent leaders.
And as chairwoman of the board of directors of the Minneapolis YWCA, she practiced those virtues.
"She was more than her accomplishments," said Minneapolis YWCA CEO/President Michelle Basham. "Being board chair is a demanding position, even in a strong organization like ours. She had an active role in our leadership. She was an incredible human being, one of integrity."
Berman, of Minneapolis, died of an apparent heart attack on April 8. She was 61.
Berman joined the Minneapolis YWCA board in January 2017. Last July, she became chairwoman of the 38-member board. The first major task the board faced at the time was to help find a new president/CEO for the organization. Berman co-chaired the search committee.
"I didn't know her before I interviewed," said Basham, who began her duties in January. "The interview process took place in August, and we had some meetings in advance of my starting work here.
"Regardless, in a short time, we became close," Basham said. "That speaks to what an extraordinary person she was. She was calm, caring and authentic. She would send me e-mails saying whatever came up, I could handle it and that I was doing a great job."
Berman was born Feb. 5, 1959, in the town of New Hartford in upstate New York to Paul and Mary Frances Mullin. Growing up, she lived in Florida and Michigan. She earned a bachelor's degree in foreign service from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and then an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business.
While in Washington, she tutored in public schools. She met Art Berman, and they married two years later on the Georgetown campus.
After the couple moved to New York, Kate worked at A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm, National Westminster Bank and for JPMorgan Chase bank. At J.P. Morgan, she was a vice president for global market strategy.
In 2003, the family, which now included three children, moved to Minneapolis.
At the time of her death, Berman was a doctoral candidate in organizational development and change at the University of St. Thomas. In addition to her nonprofit work, she was involved in the Minneapolis Catholic community as a member of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.
Berman, who had run 12 marathons, including the Boston Marathon twice, was also in training to compete in the Minneapolis YWCA's Triathlon, which is scheduled for early August.
"She truly lived the mission of the YWCA," said Basham. "She was a tireless advocate of those who have no voice, a fierce defender of civil rights, a proud feminist and a loving and caring mother, wife, friend and a blessing to the world."
In addition to her husband, who is the CFO of the Mitchell/Hamline School of Law, Berman is survived by a son, Max, and daughters Elena and Elizabeth. A memorial service will be held at a later date.
The Minneapolis YWCA will honor Berman during its annual Connecting Our Circles event, which will be held virtually on April 29.