Katherine Switz

Adversity: Diagnosed with Bipolar I

Advocacy: Started a nonprofit that recruits community leaders to talk about their mental illness

“It’s empowering to come out of the shadows. It’s great to see our impact on leaders and their impact on others.”

 Katherine Switz is a Harvard graduate, has a bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth, speaks fluent Russian, and is a high-level executive. She has a resume and experience that most only dream about – and she manages a debilitating mental illness. Katherine had her first psychotic break while attending Harvard Business School. The mania that she was experiencing was a symptom of bipolar disorder. She was sent by ambulance to Harvard Medical Center, where she was greeted with a question, “What kind of insurance do you have?” The realization that she might not get the treatment she needed without Harvard insurance coverage was the catalyst for Katherine’s work in fighting the stigma associated with mental illness.

In 2013, Katherine founded The Stability Network, a nonprofit organization that recruited community leaders who had struggled with mental illness to talk about their experience openly. The goal of the organization was to give those who may not have had a stable career or home life a sense of hope and courage to speak up and get the help they needed. More than 300 leaders signed on to help erase the stigma of mental illness. Most recently, Katherine has started an effort to catalyze investment in mental and behavioral health, creating a network of 50 funders and philanthropists committed to investing in it.