We wanted to share with you some amazing news about a new team member who will join our central office. Kathryn Bailis Phillips will be our new Assistant Director of Programs starting on September 1st. Kathryn is a very recognizable member of the Runway community as she was not only one of the very first models to take to the stage, but her story has been featured on our website and at our 2020 show: Kathryn and Savannah.
When Kathryn first modeled in 2007 at our inaugural event, she did so as a “legacy” model. At the time, she was dancing in honor of her mother, Susan, who had passed away from metastatic breast cancer. Kathryn returned to the stage in 2010 as a patient herself, and dancing beside her was her daughter, Savannah, who at the time was 3-years-old. Together, they have danced and been a part of countless Runway Shows in support and celebration of the community that has been created during our seventeen year history. More recently, Kathryn has served on our volunteer committee of reviewers who read every single Family Grant application that is submitted for those who request funding. And finally, she was unanimously elected to serve as a Board of Directors this past June.
Kathryn’s 25-year professional career has been entirely focused in education, teaching across grades PreK-8 during her time at Shady Hill School & Nobles and Greenough School in Massachusetts, and The Brick Church school in Manhattan. There is no question that Kathryn will bring a wide breadth of understanding when it comes to serving the families that we fund at Runway—both because of the deep history that she shares with us and because of the countless experiences she has had in her roles at schools.
Recently, Kathryn said:
“While cancer does not define me, it is undoubtedly part of me and has shaped much of my life. Runway for Recovery began as one magnificent evening brimming with magic, energy and love (with the twofold purpose of providing support to the men, women and children that walk in honor and memory of themselves and those they love most, as well as raise money to support families facing the unimaginable challenges that come with breast cancer). It has grown into a deep, multifaceted organization with unending depths of purpose and meaning. We will be forever devoted and deeply in love and connected to Runway. Simply put, Runway has completed us.”
We are so thrilled to have Kathryn join our central team at Runway, and it is the very best way for us to kick-off the back-to-school moment in our offices. On a personal note, Kathryn has been a teacher/coach turned mentor when I was a senior in high school. We became connected through the loss of our moms: Susan Bailis passed away in late September of 2000 and Cande Achtmeyer in October of 2001. Having a person who understood the “runway” that I was walking down from the first moments of grief, has been an inspiration to so much of the work that I do on a daily basis at Runway. When Kathryn accepted our offer over the summer, we both couldn’t help but wonder if a greater power was at play—all these 20+ years later, some pretty incredible mothers have once again figured out to inspire and connect us still.