Kathleen Corbet Kicks off the 2021-2022 Speaker Series

by Steven Sciaraffa

Holy Cross High School officially launched the 2021-2022 Speaker Series in the fall with New Canaan Selectman, entrepreneur and business woman, Kathleen Corbet. She is the first of several guest presenters scheduled to speak in front of the student body over the next year. Author & Filmmaker, William McKeever and Brigadier General John Lawlor ‘83 will make presentations to the school community in November and December, respectively.

“We thought it would be beneficial for the students to bring in alumni, parents, business associates and friends from the Holy Cross community and beyond,” said Dr. Thomas C. Pellegrino, President. “We want our students to make connections with professionals and expose them to different career paths. We also want to provide opportunities for our alumni to stay connected with the school and share what they have learned.”

Kathleen Corbet, a personal friend of faculty member Kevin Zupkus, has over 35 years in global leadership experience in the financial services industry and two decades of experience in board governance for corporate, civic and philanthropic institutions.

Ms. Corbet is an entrepreneur and founder of Cross Ridge Capital, LLC, a firm she launched in 2008 specializing in private investing and strategic consulting in the financial information services industry. She was formerly President of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) from 2004-2007 and previously at asset-manager AllianceBernstein LP, as Executive Vice President and CEO of the firm’s fixed income division. Currently, she serves as a Selectman – an elected position on the New Canaan, CT Board of Selectmen.

Throughout her presentation, Ms. Corbet drew on her life experiences to answer questions on business, politics, hard work, and measures of success and happiness. She began by asking the audience the question, “How do you measure success?” Met with the initial sentiment that money was the most significant factor, Ms. Corbet explained, “Work can be fun and work can make you happy… and when you’re happy, that’s how you measure success.”

Based on that, Ms. Corbet conveyed some key determinants of happiness. She elaborated, “One of the things I learned going through my career and my life is that you have to have balance.” She identified six things for students to consider in regards to happiness and balance: family, education, career, health, community, and faith. “Everything I learned in business, everything I learned in education, I realized this was an opportunity to give back to my community,” she said. “Those six pillars, including faith, are a really important part of success in your life.”

Holy Cross Speaker Series

Ms. Corbet also gave students valuable insights about college. A student asked her, “What was the dramatic change between high school and college?” She replied, “I realized I had to step up my game,” recalling how she found different courses like physics and economics uniquely challenging. Despite that, she said, “I’ve never quit anything I’ve done.”

She pointed out the importance of being persistent and described how she draws motivation from challenges. “When I learn from my mistakes or things that I’ve failed at I say ‘okay, this is great.’ I can figure this out so the next time, not only could I do something better, but I can help others make sure that they don’t make the same mistakes I have.”

Many of Ms. Corbet’s lessons resonated with the Holy Cross value of giving back to the community. “Everything that you learn, whether it’s here at Holy Cross High School, or in college, or in your jobs; if you can bring that back to the communities that need it the most, you will find success in your life.”

“I thought Ms. Corbet was excellent,” said Dr. Pellegrino. “She shared her personal and professional experiences with the students. She was very engaging and approachable. She checked a lot of boxes with the students and gave them food for thought.”

Watch the full presentation below

Read More News