The MNY Spotlight

Meet Kate Powell, our 2023 Mestiza Muse

A few weeks ago, we asked our Mestiza community to nominate a woman in their life who has either succeeded in the face of adversity, has a story to tell, or does something good within their community. 

In lieu of this week's Tastemaker Feature, we're spotlighting Kate Powell as our Mestiza Muse. Kate dedicates her free time to advocating for breast cancer research and volunteering with Dress for Success. Beyond these two commitments, she lovingly raises her two children, Piper and Hunter to have compassion and grit, and never take things for granted. Continue reading to learn about how she first got involved with this organization, what advice she gives to people looking to get involved with community efforts, and why Mestiza's mission speaks to her.


Introduce yourself!

Hello! I’m Kate Powell and I live in Bentonville, Arkansas with my husband, Josh, and two daughters, Piper (4) and Hunter (2.5). I work for Tyson Foods' Corporate Strategy & Tyson Ventures teams. I’m originally from Houston, Texas and graduated from Texas A&M University. I have a bachelor's degree in Horticulture and a Professional Event Management Certificate. I was an Event Producer for A Fare Extraordinaire in Houston planning events for all kinds of organizations and people, from a presidential candidate to celebrities, to nonprofit events and weddings! In 2017, Josh and I moved to Arkansas on a new adventure. Moving to a new state, I had to branch out and create a new network. When we moved to Northwest Arkansas in 2020, I was lucky to get involved with Dress for Success through one of our great family friends and... now we’re here!

Your Mestiza Muse nominator, Colleen Blevins, described you as being an advocate for breast cancer research in memory of your college best friend Nikki and a champion of women within your own community. She also mentioned that you won Volunteer of the Year for Dress for Success Northwest Arkansas, in addition to being a mother of two and working full time. How do you balance it all and find time for yourself?

Colleen is the ultimate cheerleader. We’ve been best friends since 2004, and I appreciate her so much for nominating me for Mestiza Muse. She loves a good surprise and is one of those people who is always thinking of others, so it makes sense that she would do this. 😊

I recently heard someone say, “you think you can’t, and then you just... expand.” You tell yourself you can’t, and then you just do it. You expand your capacity to love, to parent, to work, to serve your neighbors. Balancing multiple roles in my life can be overwhelming some days and exhilarating the next. I’m only able to do it because of the support of my family. Josh is my biggest supporter and is a true partner in parenting. Together we’re able to navigate balancing our passions and hobbies with the demands of daily life. Lots of time management and calendar invites! And patience.

Also, since it was mentioned, I’d like to honor the memory of my best friend, Dominique “Nikki” Bourgeois, who tragically passed away in March 2019 from stage IV metastatic breast cancer at 28 years old. She remains the strongest woman I know, and I miss her every day. Because of her, I learned more about the breast cancer research, and I like to remind people of organizations like METAvivor. Only 2-5% of funds from breast cancer awareness go toward the study of metastasis. METAvivor is the only organization in the United States that exclusively funds metastatic breast cancer research. Their goal is to ultimately turn metastatic breast cancer into a chronic condition rather than a terminal diagnosis. Nikki was a dedicated educator and was passionate about children and literacy. Her husband, Nick, founded Pop Up Books in her name. Pop Up Books brings the book fair experience to neighborhoods across the Dallas Fort Worth area, and every child walks away with a free book to encourage a love of reading.

You’re an active member for the organization Dress for Success. Can you tell us a little bit more about the work you do and why it’s important to you?
When I was in 7th grade my family home burned to the ground. We lost absolutely everything. We wore clothes that were donated from friends and family, and this sense of community and rallying behind those in need has always been inside of me especially in the sense of helping those who are “starting from scratch”. I understand what it’s like to have nothing but the clothes on your back and as a pre-teen, that really stuck with me and has led me to opportunities like Dress for Success where I can give back just a little bit that was given to me and my family.

This past November, I had the honor to chair Dress for Success Northwest Arkansas’ annual gala, Little Black Dress, alongside an incredible group of women and men. DFSNWA strives to empower women to financial independence through professional development, outfitting and programs. It’s an incredible organization that doesn’t just help the individuals they serve in a single moment of hopelessness or a low point in life, but instills a sense of self-confidence and helps them help themselves and their families for years to come.

Similarly, to Dress for Success’s mission, Mestiza gives excess inventory to deserving women and girls through their Heirloom Project to give them a leg up on the next step of their journey. One of the organizations we work with is Pink Ribbon Good which supports breast cancer patients and survivors. What about these missions/ organizations speaks to you?

These missions and organizations embody the spirit of empowerment and care, which is truly inspiring. Each organization plays a vital role in supporting individuals, women and girls, whether it's providing job opportunities for a better future, helping breast cancer patients and survivors, or boosting self-confidence through empowering attire. These endeavors are interconnected as they contribute to the legacy of the individuals served, making a positive impact on their lives and their families’ lives. The overarching mission of these organizations revolves around looking out for one another, which is a noteworthy cause across the board.

Kate wears the Carmen Mini Dress in Black Twilight Multi

 As a young mother to two kids, what are some lessons you hope to instill in them?

Piper (4) and Hunter (2.5) are curious, lively and smart. I hope as they grow into this world they have compassion and grit, and that they never take things for granted. I also hope they have a sense of humor and can laugh off the small things in life.

What advice would you give to somebody who wants to get more involved with their community in a philanthropic sense?

Find a cause or organization that speaks to what you’re passionate about! Whether that is cancer awareness, women’s empowerment, children’s advocacy, environmental conservation – there is an organization for everyone. Nonprofits and charities are always looking for volunteers for opportunities ranging from daily organization to event committee members!

Are there any quotes or mantras that you live by?

'In the end, it is important to remember that we cannot become what we need to be, by remaining what we are.' Max De Pree

Where are you wearing your new Mestiza piece and how does wearing your Mestiza piece make you feel?

Choosing this piece was easy! The buttons and collar are eye catching, and that’s what drew me to it. I love versatile pieces of clothing that can be dressed up for an evening out or down for brunch with friends. I’m excited to wear this to a few Christmas parties this December, and love that it can be worn really in any season.

What about the Mestiza brand speaks to you?
Family keepsakes really ground us to who we are and how our past leads us to where we are now. Because I was young when the fire took our home, it’s not the material items of my own that I wish I still had, it’s the family keepsakes I long for. I wish I could have dresses and jewelry that my Mom wore in her twenties or that I could pass down the hand-smocked pieces that she made for me to my girls.
I admire Mestiza’s dedication to more than fashion. Your pieces feel carefully designed with inspiration from your families and honoring your cultural ancestry. You thoughtfully design each piece so that they are worthy to be passed down to others. The concept of fashion that will still be in style fifty years from now is something I think we both value – a sustainable product that will be iconic for generations to come.

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