McDonough School of Business
Professor Tinsely in Rwanda with Kate Spade
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McDonough Professor Catherine Tinsley Appointed to Kate Spade New York’s Social Impact Board to Address Women Empowerment, Mental Health

Kate Spade New York recently launched a new Social Impact Council, comprising several leading women’s empowerment and mental health leaders from around the globe, to further their mission of enhancing women and girls’ mental health through social impact work. Among the list of founding women includes Georgetown McDonough’s professor and director, Catherine Tinsley. 

Tinsley is the Raffini Family Professor of Management, faculty director of the Georgetown University Women’s Leadership Institute, academic director of Georgetown McDonough’s Executive Master’s in Leadership program, and a senior policy scholar at the Georgetown Center for Business and Public Policy. As an expert on gender intelligent leadership and gender parity, she has dedicated her career to research and initiatives focused on empowering women leaders. 

The women serving on Kate Spade New York’s leadership council will each bring their unique expertise to help address mental health stigma, provide access to resources, and bring more attention to the vital role that mental health plays in the empowerment of women and girls globally. The council will partner with the brand to meet its goal of reaching 100,000 women with direct access to mental health and empowerment tools by 2025.

“Everybody matters, but more importantly, everybody needs to believe that they matter – that they are valuable and can make a difference,” said Tinsley. “Programs that address mental health and well-being are leverage multipliers because empowered participants are able to then return back the dividends of this empowerment to their families and communities.”

Kate Spade New York’s social impact initiatives originated with its on purpose label in 2014, a fully integrated commercial division of the company where women in Masoro, Rwanda, are empowered to make high-quality products for Kate Spade’s brand through a local handbag production facility, Abahizi Rwanda. Tinsley was among three Georgetown McDonough School of Business professors who conducted research on the initiative to understand the viability of the unique value chain approach, while also studying the psychological, social, and economic impact on the women and communities in Masaro. 

Tinsley’s research identified a direct correlation between the employment experience in Masaro and higher levels of physical health, social standing, power, and confidence – increasing their social standing and creating a more empowered workforce of women in rural African communities. This research has been the basis for Kate Spade New York’s ongoing efforts to champion initiatives that target social outcomes and improve mental health in an impactful and sustainable way for women across the globe.

“Women’s empowerment has been at the heart of our social impact efforts for over a decade, and has become a core pillar of the Kate Spade New York brand,” shared Liz Fraser, Kate Spade New York chief executive officer and brand president. “The foundational role that mental health plays in a woman’s life and in women’s empowerment has only become more clear through our social impact work. Mental health has long been undervalued, under-acknowledged, and underfunded. And yet it is of more concern today than ever.”

Kate Spade New York continues to further its role as an advocate for mental health by using its platforms to raise awareness, while working to de-stigmatize the topic. The brand and its Foundation plan to donate more than $2M annually to provide access to care and community resources to improve the mental health and empowerment of women in its communities around the world.

To view all of the social impact work happening at Kate Spade New York and to read more about Tinsley’s involvement with the Social Impact Council, visit

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