The Reach of the White House Fellowships

Experiences as a White House Fellow

The White House Fellowship has been operating as a one-year program at the highest levels of the executive branch since the 1960s. It is intended for individuals at mid-career to provide first-hand experiences on how American federal governance works in order to integrate a better understanding of the role of government into their continuing career development outside government. Candidates are selected on a non-partisan basis using three criteria – academic achievements, career successes and civic service impact. Katherine was invited to serve as a White House Fellow in 1979 and worked in the Carter Administration as a Special Assistant to the Director of the Office of Personnel Management. Others in her class worked with other agency heads or key White House offices. Continue reading “The Reach of the White House Fellowships”

Elective Politics and Long-Lasting People Networks

Experiences in Elective Politics

Katherine was elected for three terms in the North Carolina Senate as a member of the delegation representing Guilford County, including the Cities of High Point and Greensboro. She was the first woman to be elected to the State Senate from this district. She was in the forefront of bringing the women’s movement into the mainstream in American politics. Her success in the NC Senate also showed the importance of teamwork and community outreach.  Continue reading “Elective Politics and Long-Lasting People Networks”

The Role of Public Policy in the Corporate World

Experiences in the Corporate World

Katherine was recruited to join a subsidiary of AT&T just as the monopoly of the famous Bell System, otherwise known as AT&T, was breaking up. The court order mandated the formation of seven “Baby Bells” for the delivery of local phone services and one patchwork combination at the national level of the long distance business, the prestigious Bell Laboratories and a manufacturing entity known as Western Electric. The transition of this  combination from these three disparate parts of the old Bell System into a newly constituted AT&T was a strategic challenge – transitioning from a monopoly in control of its telecommunications products and services to a competitive business world while retaining an enlightened human resources policy.  When the dust settled, Katherine was working as a government relations executive for the entire (and new) AT&T in Washington, DC. Continue reading “The Role of Public Policy in the Corporate World”

Learning about Entrepreneurship and Civil Society Activism

Ongoing Learning about Entrepreneurship and Civil Society Activism

The mosaic of learning experiences in elective politics, teaching, public service, business and international organizations has enabled Katherine to collaborate with clients and colleagues on inclusive dialogue and a search for common ground on global social issues.

Hagen Resources International (HRI) was established as a limited liability company under Swiss law in 2001. Through HRI, Katherine works with development agencies, foundations and individual clients on individualized projects that are targeted to their specific needs. Illustrative HRI projects include:

  • Friedrich Ebert Stiftung on trade and labor standards, as well as major articles published on ILO experiences with the international financial institutions and the future of tripartism
  • The US Department of Labor on multi-stakeholder collaboration on conditions of work standards in the Caribbean and Southern Africa
  • The Suez Observatoire Sociale on social dialogue initiatives in Europe and Africa
  • Unilever on dialogues with international organizations and NGOs in Geneva on its Sustainable Living Plan
  • The ILO on a continuing variety of projects, such as a global survey of sectoral  employment trends, building a Child Labor Platform and  implementing the ILO Code on HIV/AIDS in the workplace
  • The Council for Multistakeholder and Multisectoral Dialogue on the interplay between business and international organizations.

We enjoyed working with labour relations experts in the US, the Caribbean and in southern Africa, in our first major project. Susan Brown and Lucy Howe-Lopez helped to coordinate this project and so much more!

Following a series of brainstorming sessions in Geneva and Washington, DC funded by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, Katherine then mobilized a diverse array of activists from civil society, international organizations, diplomatic missions and the private sector to establish the Global Social Observatory in 2004.  The GSO Management Committee was drawn from these groups to ensure a representative diversity of perspectives, including from both developed and developing countries. Committee members had a mix of backgrounds with experience in civil society, faith-based NGOs, UN agencies, foundations, academia, development agencies, diplomatic missions and business. Our initial board signed the incorporation papers in April 2004. 

As a member-based NGO, the GSO provided a deliberately neutral forum for multi-stakeholder dialogue in search of common solutions to global social issues. With multi-source funding from both public and private sources, the GSO has enabled an inclusive multi-stakeholder collaboration on many topics. Examples include:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Trade
  • Gender and Trade
  • HIV/AIDS and Social Responsibility
  • Diabetes and Health in the Workplace
  • Collaborative Action against Non-Communicable Diseases
  • Managing and preventing Conflict of Interest in the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement
  • Cross-cutting approaches to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

See the website section on “Tools” for a collection of HRI and GSO work products, while the “Archives” section provides a history of topical and meeting reports.  The “Gallery” section offers an visual overview of the wonderful partners in both GSO and HRI initiatives, along with the variety of participatory meetings, the collection of group photos and the awesome array of guest speakers at HRI and GSO events.

Katherine also continues to write in-depth commentaries on global social issues, available in the “Commentaries by Katherine” section of this website. And here in this “Reflections” section of the website, one can find the work-in-progress for a full-length book to consolidate and update her views and lessons learned from this mosaic of experiences for promoting and facilitating inclusiveness on global social issues.

International Organizations Delivering Norms, Information and Capacity

Experiences in the World of International Organizations

Katherine’s involvement with international organizations dates back to her  teaching and research on the United Nations system as a college professor, fresh out of graduate school.  Her career path took a domestic turn as she played a leading role in her community on women’s rights and in elective politics, but she returned to her interest in international organizations when she was invited to join the International Labor Organization (ILO) as Deputy Director-General.  

Continue reading “International Organizations Delivering Norms, Information and Capacity”

Reminiscenses on Civil Rights and George H.W. Bush

On 21 November 1991, the US Congress passed the most comprehensive civil rights legislation since the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Surprisingly, President George H.W. Bush did not veto the bill, even though he had vetoed a previous bill with similar provisions in 1990. Timing seems to have been a factor. Clarence Thomas had just gone through a very controversial confirmation process in the US Senate, driven primarily by the sexual harassment charges brought against him by Anita Hill. But it may also have been that enough moderate Republicans had shifted to support the 1991 bill, such that it had become “veto-proof” (a 67-vote majority protecting the over-ride authority of two-thirds plus one). As a participant in the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, however, I do have a few words to say about how it came about, triggered by reflections upon the passing of George H.W. Bush. Continue reading “Reminiscenses on Civil Rights and George H.W. Bush”