Five Things: Catherine Hedgeman
CEO, The Stakeholders
Kate Hedgeman is passionate about many things. A busy attorney and founder of the volunteer organization The Stakeholders, Hedgeman has dedicated her life to helping people. “I always wanted to be a lawyer,” Hedgeman says. “I went to law school because I wanted to be an advocate. And I wanted to advocate for people who needed help.”
Early in her career, Hedgeman was a trial lawyer. But she soon realized that to do this type of work meant long hours. “To counteract that, I began to get involved in the community,” she says. “The more I started to volunteer and get involved, the happier I was.”
Hedgeman is the founder of The Stakeholders, which began with an education program for volunteers on board service, arts and culture, and community sustainability. “We became a NYS Regional Volunteer Center (last year),” Hedgeman says. “Now we have eight counties that we’ve expanded into.” This past July, the Stakeholders received a $150,000 grant from the state.
“We kind of just blew up from this really small nonprofit with no budget to serving eight counties and really being the go-to source for matching volunteers to volunteer opportunities,” she says. As the recipient of the grant, the Stakeholders’ goal is to recruit 20,000 new volunteers per year.
Hedgeman’s Five Things:
- Photo on the Steps of the Supreme Court: “You have to get admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the United States,” Hedgeman says. She had a case that was headed to the Supreme Court, but it was resolved before it got there. Still, she was prepared and gained lifetime admission before she was 30 years old. “It’s a stringent process. It was very intimidating. You go there and they swear you in and you’re in front of all the Supreme Court Justices. This is the picture of the admission of the class that I was with.”
- Golf: “I absolutely love it! It unplugs me. Mentally, it makes me focus on that versus everything else.”
- GenNEXT, NYS Commission appointment and Stakeholders pins: Two years ago, Hedgeman was appointed by Governor Paterson to the NYS Commission on National Community Service, an organization created to increase the very-low rates of volunteerism in New York state. Hedgeman says that watching young people who participate in The Stakeholders educational programs and succeed makes her realize that she created the opportunity because she wanted to do it and now others can too.
- My car: “I am a car fanatic and I have only had German automobiles. I’m crazy about it. I only had Volkswagens and I just got a BMW,” Hedgeman says. What is it about German cars? “They’re sporty, and you can turn it on a dime and they’re fast!”
- Coffee: “I like to try different kinds of coffee — not just brands but the flavored kind,” she says. She needs her coffee fix every day. Professor Java’s (on Wolf Road) is one of her favorite places to go for coffee. She says like some people turn on music to ease into their workday, she finds the smell of brewing coffee to be calming. “If I don’t have it, it’s like I forgot to do something. It’s a ritual,” she says.