Mary Fitzpatrick, Manager of Instruction, Chicago
Like the protagonist of Saul Bellow's The Adventures of Augie March, Mary Fitzpatrick is "an American, Chicago-born" who makes her way with an intensity that only a woman raised on the Southside of Chicago can bear. After a four-year stint at an all-girls Catholic school, where she developed a severe aversion to plaid (to this day, Mary can't stomach the sight of kilts, snuggly pajama pants, Burberry scarves, lumberjacks, and those god-awful outfits some people think look cute on Yorkshire Terriers), Mary chose to attend Columbia College, a university with no dress code, a strong emphasis on the arts, and boys. During her time at Columbia, Mary majored in journalism, a field of study that enabled her to intern for the world-renown entertainment magazine, Variety. And not just intern for Variety, mind you — but actually write for Variety. (Mary still recalls the elation she felt upon seeing her name in print for the first time. True, it was above a two-hundred-word, backpage review for a no-name band, but she didn't care because "My name was in print!") After graduation, Mary took her writing talents to a marketing and PR firm, where she worked with a host of hard-to-please clients to promote their household products and services. Not content to write catchy slogans for pest exterminators and tile and grout cleaners, Mary soon transitioned into higher education, earning an MBA in training and performance management so she could "coach people to become the best versions of themselves." As Catalyst's Manager of Instruction in Chicago, Mary puts her degree to good use, recruiting top teachers to our organization and then cultivating those teachers to their utmost potential. When she isn't recruiting and training new tutors, Mary enjoys spending time with her husband, Brian, and their dog, Angel; competing in half marathons; deepening her love-hate relationship with high-intensity interval training; practicing Reiki; parachuting out of planes; and — on glorious cheat days — indulging in Taco Bell. (Fun, slightly alarming fact about Mary: she once ate ten double-decker tacos after completing a half marathon. Fun, slightly alarming fact #2: Mary's husband works for Pepperidge Farm, so she has an endless supply of Goldfish crackers and Milano cookies in her house.)
Why She Works for Catalyst
Recipient of a generous anthropology grant to study high-IQ Millennials.
How the Universe Has Punished Her for Being a Freakishly Good Test-Taker
Despite growing up five miles from Lake Michigan, with a pool in her backyard and a grandmother who lived beside a lake, Mary never learned how to swim. Well, to swim properly. Mary thought she knew how to swim — it's not that hard really, you just kind of move through the water by kicking your legs and acting like your arms are giant flippers, right? — until one deeply embarrassing day when she attempted to doggy paddle in her neighborhood pool. According to Mary, "I was in the deep end of the pool, just doggy paddling around, when I saw the bright orange swimsuit of a lifeguard speeding toward me. Apparently, what I thought was near-Michael Phelpsian form looked more like a person in the midst of drowning or possibly being besieged by giant mutant eels." Thankfully, Mary has watched some "how to swim" videos on YouTube since that mortifying incident, and would like everyone to know that she is now perfectly graceful in the water, especially with the help of her Finding Nemo arm floaties.
Favorite 80s Movie / Favorite 80s Nobel Laureate
Pretty in Pink / Elie Wiesel (Nobel Peace Prize, 1986)