Katherine Gottlieb has been the president and CEO of Southcentral Foundation since 1991. Her first job was also in the healthcare industry working for a doctor in Seldovia, "And I found out the major thing about doctors: they don't go to handwriting school," she laughs. She joined Southcentral Foundation in 1987, and throughout her career has found and seized opportunities for growth ... for herself, her peers, and the organization.
For instance, she has been a faculty member of Harvard Medical School since 2015 and continues to mentor both Harvard students who come to Alaska to learn from Southcentral Foundation as well as local students and employees in whom she sees vast potential.
Gottlieb is Sugpiaq and Filipino, "and I love working with Alaska Native people," she says. "My heart is for seeing the self-esteem of Alaska Native people be raised up ... I see people change their attitudes, I see peoples' heads be lifted up, more proud to be who they are. And that's a major reason why I stay--I care what happens to our children's children. I want to see and know that in a hundred years when I'm not around, that they're going to be healthy, strong, wise, and running the world."
Alaska Business: What do you do in your free time?
Katherine Gottlieb: I like to write, so I have books in the making. [And] I play with grandbabies all the time. They keep me young.
AB: Is there a skill you're currently developing or have always wanted to learn?
Gottlieb: I am not developing it, but I've always wanted to play the piano. I have this keyboard and I'm doing chords, but I haven't taken lessons ... I'd be happy if I sat down at the piano and I was able to play one song and everybody around me was like, "Wow, you play the piano?" ... I just want to play one song really good 1 she laughs].
AB: What's the most daring thing you've ever done?
Gottlieb: I am a pilot ... and it was my first landing in Seldovia. There's a way the wind carries you and drops you [that makes landing challenging].
AB: What's your go-to comfort food?
Gottlieb: Adobo chicken.
AB: Other than your current career, if you were a kid today, what would your dream job be?
Gottlieb: I would have a great, big, giant orphanage for little kids to twelfth graders. It would have lots of acres and be a safe haven for children.
AB: What's your favorite way to exercise?
Gottlieb: Every time I go on vacation, it's my best exercise. I get out, I never stay still, I'm moving all the time. I'm either...