Katherine Flatley, a resilient and empowered individual, proudly holds the title of a two-time graduate of both Capital IDEA and Austin Community College. Her healthcare career began when she completed the Licensed Vocational Nursing program in 2003 and the Registered Nursing program in 2006. Determined to continue her education, Kat went on to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Kansas.
Her story is one of triumph over a challenging past, which she’s learned to share, not for sympathy, she’s quick to say, but as a way to reach and inspire those with shared experiences. “Education can change the course of someone’s life drastically. It can point someone going down a dark path in the right direction.” It’s something she’s experienced first hand.
Kat’s childhood was marred by difficult circumstances and her parents’ poor choices, which left her feeling lonely and lost. She was often raised by strangers and friends due to her mother’s incapacity to parent; and her father, an addict, was largely absent since her infancy. When he did show up, his actions often put her in harm’s way, adding to the unimaginable hardships Kat endured as a child which included years of physical and emotional abuse.
In the face of adversity, Kat refused to succumb to hopelessness. At 14, she took her first job, an attempt to survive on her own though it also led to bouts of homelessness. She recalls the pivotal moment when she discovered Capital IDEA four years later. She walked into an information session at age 18, a high school dropout with an 11th-grade education. “Capital IDEA gave me hope! The resources and support provided by Capital IDEA were exactly what I needed. I don’t believe I would be alive today if this opportunity hadn’t come my way. It was right on time!”
Capital IDEA offered Kat crucial financial support, covering her tuition, books, and more, which allowed her to work part-time to cover her living expenses. “I didn’t have to worry about how I would make it from week to week, but more important than the financial assistance was the motivation and encouragement I received from my Career Navigator at our weekly meetings,” she says, stressing that her Navigator played a pivotal role in her academic success.
College was a vastly different environment from high school, and as she progressed, things started to change. “I suddenly began seeing things differently. I gained confidence and felt myself advancing. It shocked me to see how well I was doing. In my last semester, I took five classes and crushed it!” She was achieving things she’d never thought possible in high school, and it marked a transformative period that gave Kat a new perspective on her own abilities.
After graduation, Kat embarked on a successful career at Ascension hospitals, dedicating 17 years to serving as an ER and ICU nurse. Leveraging her expertise, she then transitioned to the medical sales industry, working with Interventional Radiologists and delivering Boston Scientific’s flagship product, Y-90 TheraSphere, to treat liver cancer. Today, she continues to rise in her career, breaking barriers in the professional landscape. “I’m currently amongst the top Territory Managers across the country for Boston Scientific, and I’m the only one of my ethnicity across the country for the product.”
Kat’s favorite quote shared with her recently from a highly respected Interventional Radiologist. “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” – Steve Martin. “This quote is something I’ve been doing and living unknowingly. I’ve worked really hard my entire life to be the best at everything I do. Capital Idea’s support was exactly what I needed to give me the opportunity to be seen and heard. As a child I wasn’t heard nor seen and that will never be the case again.”
Without the opportunities afforded by Capital IDEA, she believes her life would have taken a different, uncertain path. “Having the opportunity to become a nurse was a true gift. Capital IDEA believed in me when no one else did and it will always hold a very special place in my heart.” She has this to say to supporters of the program. “Your impact doesn’t stop with the graduate. It can change the course of generations. I have two sons with aspirations to go to college. One wants to be an attorney, and the other wants to pursue graphic design. That’s because of people like you who are supporting Capital IDEA. You matter, and I truly appreciate you.”
Kat’s story exemplifies what’s possible when a resilient individual finds the right support. This season, consider a gift of empowerment for future students of Capital IDEA. Your support is not just a present for the moment; it’s an investment in futures filled with hope and opportunity. Give Today»