At Veza, we honour the work of inspiring leaders every single day. Not just the known and notable but rather, everyday women who are drawing upon and celebrating their culture while making a lasting difference in their community using their gifts. From authors and teachers, CEOs to entrepreneurs, not-for-profit directors, artists, and more, these women are changing the face of leadership.

These are truly women to watch and Veza Community is so pleased to share their brilliance.

May their stories inspire YOU to rise.

Meet Kathleen MacKinnon

Kathleen is the founder of Nine Rising. A company that supports businesses, community organizations, and schools in advocating and educating in equity and diversity for all humans to thrive. For the better part of the past decade, she has taken up space in industries from tech, anti-oppression work, youth and mental health work. Now you can find her at Nine Rising merging her diverse background in behavioural psychology, gender studies, corporate responsibility, community outreach and youth work — to bring you all the goods.

Tell me in 100 words who you are? How would you describe yourself.

I am the best version of myself ever-evolving. If that is too woo-wooey, what I mean is that I’m a person who is always making the conscious decision to show up as my highest self in service to others, and myself! I am a very fiery, passionate, compassionate, kind, funny, smart person. I care very deeply for humanity. I am a celebrator, a champion of others, and an accomplice of justice. I watch more reality television than I’ll ever admit to, meditate every other quarter, and my in public dance moves inspire revolutions for sure.

What is the name of your company?

Nine Rising

What motivates/inspires you to get up each morning?

Sometimes I wake up super tired, or stressed, or wanting a day off… I find what really gets me up in the morning is no matter what kind of a day I have schedule ahead, is that I have the capability to go see, hear, and love someone… That’s the best feeling ever. Whether it’s a close friend, a co-worker, someone I’m meeting, or the person behind me cashing out at the grocery store. I have the ability to participate in humanity. That’s important.

What is your morning/evening routine?

My morning routine is I wake up to my second alarm at about 6:00am, I wake my dog up, because he’s not a morning person. I hit play on The Daily, a New York Times podcast… The way the story tells and covers the news is just brilliant. I get ready while listening to the news. Grab all my work stuff, and then go grab a coffee and find my way to the office.

My evening routine is making myself some dinner, I take a break before finishing my day with some emails or either administrative work that I didn’t do that day due to meetings, so that tomorrow I feel fresh. Then the hour before bed I’m off my phone, and either outside, watching a show, or doing something around the house before I go to bed. I like the feeling of not being available 24/7 – I don’t think that’s healthy.

What contribution are you most proud of to date?

There’s no one accomplishment I’m most proud of. I’m proud that everyday I hold myself to the most ethical standards of being myself, that allows me to be open to feedback, growth, and celebration. I think I’m most proud that I don’t shy away from growing, settling into comfortability is never an option.

What is it that you feel that you teach others through how you act/show up each day?

Unconditional love through kindness and compassion. I don’t think you can ever teach someone what you would assume you will teach them, that has ego to it if you come with your agenda (separate from traditional academia — I get that we have a curriculum to follow on that one based on the colonial concept of education). I think the best way you can teach people is just through being an invitation, the way to do that is just being your absolute self with kindness and compassion for others full self.

What’s one change you would like to see in this world?

I would like to see the downfall of white supremacy and the patriarchy, if we’re being blunt.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

False Choices: The Faux Feminism of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Oppression and the Body, and Search Engine Optimization for Dummies

Would you rather sing or dance?


Favorite quote

“No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” – Marsha P Johnson

Who is your role model/mentor?

Dr. Cornel West

What did you want to be when you were little?

A hair dresser who owned all the salons in the world, so I could buy all the stuffed animals I wanted.

Find her on Instagram

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