Debra Bachman, Manager of School Partnerships, New Jersey
Born in the Bronx and raised on Long Island, Debra rivals Anna Maria Demonte, Gina Antoniello, and Jared Friedland for the distinction of being Catalyst's most New York-ish New Yorker.* During her teen years, Debra was an active honors student at East Meadow High School, participating in cheerleading, Key Club, National Honor Society, and Future Business Leaders of America, an organization that claims to "teach students leadership skills and business knowledge." (Though it's hard to evaluate the validity of this assertion, many notable white collar criminals do cite FBLA as their earliest inspiration.) After graduation, Debra took the I-80 East to Binghamton, New York, one-time "Carousel Capital of the World" and home to SUNY Binghamton, a top-flight research university often grouped with UVA, UNC Chapel Hill, and the University of Michigan as our nation's "public Ivies." Just as she had in high school, Debra excelled at Binghamton, undertaking one of the college's most rigorous majors (Economics) and participating in a wide range of campus activities. (Among other pursuits, Debra worked in the university's academic advising office, served as a resident advisor, and pledged Phi Sigma Sigma.) After college, Debra pledged Morgan Stanley, enlisting in the investment bank's Financial Analyst program and working for a little over a decade before making the decision to stay home and focus on her family. (Debra's keen market sense also told her that Wall Street's dotcom bubble was about to burst.) Away from the bustle of Morgan Stanley, Debra channeled her energy into helping her children, becoming PTA President during their elementary school years and PTA Vice President when they transitioned to high school. As a Catalyst Manager of School Partnerships in New Jersey, Debra works alongside her colleague Mandi to bring our programs to high schools throughout the Garden State, from Hackensack down to Cherry Hill and every E-Z Pass destination in between. When she's not speaking with students, counselors, and fellow parents, Debra enjoys sitting on a beach with family and friends, savoring life with a fruity drink in her hand and a waiter nearby to bring her another.
*Catalyst's CEO would like it to be known that he is WAY more New York-ish than Debra, Anna Maria, and Gina, even if he, um, technically grew up in Jersey.
Why She Works for Catalyst
As someone who went through the college admissions process with her own kids and lived to tell the tale, Debra understands how stressful it is to be a parent of a teenager. She joined Catalyst to help her fellow parents survive their kids' junior year of high school without having a nervous breakdown or taking out a second mortgage.
How the Universe Has Punished Her for Being a Freakishly Good Test-Taker
Ever since a fateful Hershey Park trip, when her kids persuaded her to accompany them on one of the "easy" roller coasters, Debra has had a horrible fear of heights. While acrophobia is hard to cure, Debra is far from alone. According to T.R.F.P.F.T.I ("totally reliable facts plucked from the internet"), an estimated 32 million Americans are scared of heights. Just think about that for a second, Debra. That's more people than could fit on all 102 floors of the dizzyingly high Empire State Building. More people than could stand along the rocky edge of the entire Grand Canyon. Even more people than could fit on all commercial airplanes, which fly at 37,000 feet with nothing between them and the ground but five miles of air. Feel better now?
Favorite 80s Movie / Favorite 80s Nobel Laureate
Pretty in Pink / Karl Alexander Müller (Nobel Prize in Physics, 1987)