Team Member – Kate Ottenberg

Development Coordinator

My first “aha” moment occurred when I was a junior at Boston University and read Bowling Alone by Robert Putman for an American History class. Although I appeared to be thriving academically and socially, I felt overwhelmed in such a large university and was looking to find my footing. (Note to my 20-year-old-self: Seeking out a community doesn’t make you “uncool.”) Putnam’s description of Americans “knowing and caring more and more about less and less” stuck with me and inspired me to find my people. I’m so glad I did–meeting new people and forming real connections remains my favorite pastime. 

After college, I moved to New York, where I began my career in PR, representing national media publications and celebrities, before moving back to my hometown of Washington, D.C., to join a prominent content marketing company as their head of video strategy. 

In 2015, I founded Modern Memorials, the first US direct-to-consumer e-commerce company specializing in high-end memorial products. I oversaw all aspects of the business, including product development, website content, digital marketing, and, most importantly, client relationships. While I am proud to have built a successful business with a worthy mission, when a buyer approached me, I knew in my heart it was the right moment to begin a new and meaningful adventure.

When I met Mack McCarter at a Community Renewal party in DC in 2021, I came up to him and said, “I don’t know exactly what this is, but I love it, and I want to get involved.” We laughed and became instant friends. What I didn’t know that day (or found hard to believe) is that CRI is the most simple, easy, no-brainer answer to solving so many of our problems. We all care. Let’s just do it intentionally and together. Once I understood this, and saw it in action, I couldn’t believe how anyone could not be on board. This is a win-win, and we can do this. I am honored to be a part of this incredible team.

I’m a proud 5th generation Washingtonian–I love my city. In my free time, you can find me strolling around my neighborhood with my dog Samantha and chatting it up with my dog-owner friends. I love to cook, play tennis, and travel. I also practice Transcendental Meditation.

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