Kate Hess Pace
What do you do at HA? I develop our organizing program, work with our staff, develop leadership throughout the region, and raise money. I primarily see my role as unleashing other people to take leadership around the things they care about and to build our power through our membership. I manage both statewide and national partnerships, working on collaborative campaigns in Indiana and across the country.
What do you love about Indiana? So many things! My family goes back in Indiana at least five generations and there is nowhere else in the world I feel more at home. I love the rolling hills and lush green beauty of Southern Indiana, I love the grit and heart of the people. I love working alongside so many people who want to make our state better for everyone.
What did you do before? I was a faith-based organizer in Minnesota with an organization called ISAIAH. I worked on a lot of economic justice campaigns - stopping predatory lending (payday lending, subprime car lending), passed the Homeowners Bill of Rights at the MN state legislators providing homeowners strong protections from the banks, and worked to defeat voter ID on the ballot in 2012. Before that I worked a million different jobs from restaurants, to graphic design, to childcare, to office support.
What do you do at Hoosier Action? I organize folks in small towns and rural areas of South Central Indiana. As an organizer, my job is empower everyday Hoosiers to join forces and take action on the issues that affect their lives and loved ones. I believe deeply in the possibility of transformative change and the right of all people to have a say in the decisions which affect their lives and future. My job is to help light the spark of change in my fellow Hoosiers, and enable them to develop their own leadership.
What do you love about Indiana? Indiana means home and community to me. I’m a proud Midwesterner. I was born in Illinois and my great-grandparents settled in Hammond, IN when they first came to the US. I moved to Indiana in 2011, and I’ve fallen in love with many Hoosiers and Hoosier places, from the rolling cornfields to the forests of Brown County.
What did you do before? I used to teach English literature and writing at Indiana University, where I’m finishing up my PhD. At IU, I helped to organize Campus Action for Democracy, an organization dedicated to building the power of IU students. To support myself in grad school and in undergrad, I’ve waited tables, answered phones, and worked in retail.
What do you do at Hoosier Action? I organize around rural and environmental justice issues. I am currently working in Franklin, IN where childhood cancer rates are above state and national averages, and carcinogenic compounds have been found in people's homes. I work with members of the Franklin community to bring people together around this issue and ask the agencies involved to be active and accountable to the needs of the people.
What do you love about Indiana? I love the Hoosier fields, forests, and farmlands. I love how when you drive through the summer countryside, people wave from their cars and porches like neighbors; an act that has been forgotten in so much of our country. I love bluegrass music and the spirit of Indiana's people and culture.
What did you do before? In the summer of 2014, I designed and built a Tiny House out of scrap and reused materials. I moved the house to Indiana last year when I began working as a Garden Intern at Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, a local food pantry and resource center.
What do you do at HA? I organize my people in rural Indiana on issues that all Hoosiers care about, from healthcare to rural internet access, because every Hoosier has the right to decent and dignified life. As individuals, we are mostly powerless to change things, but when we come together, we can become a powerful unit that gets stuff done. My job is to meet lots of people, align our interests, and start moving on an issue.
What do you love about Indiana? I love Indiana because it’s my home. The longest i’ve ever lived outside of Indiana is two months and I never want to live anywhere else. I love the people of Indiana, my family, friends and neighbors. Hoosiers are unpretentious, neighborly, and always down for a cookout. I also love the many places of Indiana, from the hills in the south to the lakes in the north.
What did you do before? I’ve worked as a barista, a car washer, a pizza delivery boy, and a Volunteer Income Tax Assistant supervisor. I am finishing my law degree at Indiana University Maurer School of Law.
What do you do at HA? I'm the "behind-the-scenes" person at Hoosier Action, taking care of the day-to-day operations so staff and members can tackle more projects and have greater impact in the community. From general admin to human resources and bookkeeping, I am the hub - the familiar face in the office that helps keep things moving smoothly. At least, that is my goal.
What do you love about Indiana? Having recently returned to Indiana from Southern California, I love seeing green everywhere, hardwood trees and four distinct seasons. I don't think I will ever tire of country roads, rolling hills and deer crossing my path in the mornings. It is a beautiful landscape for very down-to-earth people.
What did you do before? Most recently, I was the database manager for a theatre company in Los Angeles. It was a similar supporting role for a member-run organization. I loved the energy and creativity that surrounded it. It has been fun stepping back into that familiar space again - creative energy focused on community. Different mission but very similar heart.