Kathy McMorran Murray is one of those rare individuals whose friendship and advice withstand the honing of time.
I have known Kathy since 10th grade at The Ellis School in Pittsburgh, when we both entered the same year – dropped into a pool of girls who had been educated “The Ellis Way” since at least junior high if not elementary school. Kathy worked hard and took all the toughest classes – physics, Russian, calculus – studying on her long commute by bus to and from school. It was clear that she wasn’t going to be daunted by challenges en route to her goals.
In the midst of this effort, she made friends easily and was known as a reliable, honest person. She took on varied roles in school activities, as time and her commute permitted. Even then, Kathy was a pragmatic problem solver with a sense of humor that appeared when most needed.
Over the years through career and life changes, Kathy and I have stayed in touch. She has been loyal and consistent, optimistic and “can do”, and has inspired the same in me. We have often compared approaches and outcomes as we developed expertise and gained experience in our careers. Kathy unfailingly asks the tough questions – those that require focused thought, inspire lively discussion, and ultimately lead to precious insight. She consistently shows respect for people, is curious and open to new friendships and experiences, and is adaptable throughout. She has the marvelous ability of ascertaining and putting into play the appropriate approach at the right time: to be serious and playful, competitive and a team player. Kathy also has taken every opportunity to mentor and coach the less experienced, paying attention to all of the nuances and confidence-builders – beyond the necessary technical skills.
I highly value Kathy as a friend and as a colleague, and have confidence that were we on the same team in any endeavor, we would accomplish our objective, have a wonderful time, and when finished be better prepared for subsequent projects.