Indianapolis businesswoman and philanthropist Kathy Cabello began her tenure as chair of the Indiana State University Board of Trustees in July, becoming the first Hispanic woman to serve in the role. Cabello, a board member since 2014, said one of her passions paved the way for her connection to ISU: sparking the interest and building the confidence of underrepresented youth toward college success.
BY DIANNE FRANCES D. POWELL
Cabello first visited campus 13 years ago while mentoring students involved with Project Stepping Stone of Indiana (PSS), a precollege program that emphasizes the value of higher education and supports Latino high school students to gain college access and success. Cabello leads this organization. It didn’t take long for her to realize the similarities between ISU and PSS, not least of which is serving first-generation college students. When she got to know the mission and people of ISU, she found the perfect fit for her interests and passion. “Higher education changes people’s lives,” Cabello said. “Only in America can a college degree change where a person is in their lives and how they advance and progress. And this affects generations afterward. And now you’ve changed generations. And to me, that’s impactful.” Cabello said she believes wholeheartedly in ISU’s mission
and as chair of the board, she aims to continue supporting that mission. As a first-generation college student herself, Cabello has seen how one student’s success can improve an entire family’s social mobility. She feels blessed to have been able to attain higher education with the help of scholarships, and that has made a difference in her life. Cabello holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Eastern Michigan University and an MBA from the University of Notre Dame. She is also a graduate of the Minority Business Executive Program at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business. A first-generation American born in Chicago and raised in Bridgeport, Michigan, Cabello started her career as a computer engineer. Her love for marketing strategy and customer relationship management eventually led her to start Cabello Associates, a full-service marketing consultancy that works to develop corporate strategic plans for Fortune 500 companies and other clients. She founded the firm with her husband 18 years ago and takes pride in helping companies uplift people and communicate complex ideas with the potential to improve quality of life.
Growing up, Cabello’s mom and dad emphasized the importance of helping people. This, and hard work, perseverance, and confidence, guide her decisions for her company and volunteer leadership of Project Stepping Stone. “Our parents taught us that no matter how little or how much you have, we need to help people, serve, and share,” she said. (continued on page 14)