Supporting the “Little Guys” – Thank You for 20 Years of Service, Kathy McCormick!
By Katie Knipe | December 12, 2022
Kathy McCormick was born in a small Arizona cotton community. She was 6th grade valedictorian in her class of six, if that gives you an idea of how small it was! When Kathy’s dad got a job at Los Alamos National Labs, her family moved to New Mexico where she has lived ever since. Kathy went on to earn her business degree from New Mexico State and got a job at the New Mexico Economic Development Department.
During her time with NMEDD, Kathy managed a loan program funded by the state that lent to local rural governments who were operating economic development programs. Through her experiences, Kathy became an expert on alternative financing – a perfect fit for the WESST Loan Fund Committee! Kathy was invited to serve on the WESST Loan Fund Committee and has been involved for the past 20 years. Kathy shared that at first, she was a little bit nervous because she was used to dealing with local government lending, but once she decided to take it on, she fell in love! She even served as the Chair of our Loan Committee for several years. “WESST has such a great reputation, and I was excited to be involved,” Kathy said.
Kathy shared a few stories about WESST loan clients who stood out in her memory. The first was a young single mother from the Espanola Sikh community. She raised goats and provided goat milk to high-end restaurants in Santa Fe to create goat cheese. “She was so lovely and creative; it was so cool!” The second loan client she remembers well was a tattoo artist in Las Cruces. He was tattooing clients from his home where his kids lived, and he wanted to get his own studio space. He brought his portfolio of tattoos for the committee to review as part of his loan application process. Kathy said that at the time, it was difficult to give loans to tattoo parlors because there was not a regulatory state agency. She shared that one of her fellow committee members knew someone who knew someone who got a tattoo from him and vouched for his professionalism, and WESST was able to approve his loan.
Kathy loved meeting WESST loan candidates over the years. “These were the little guys. Many were not bankable.” She shared how hard it was to reach a decision sometimes. The Loan Fund Committee is conscientious about not lending funds to people who didn’t demonstrate their capability to repay the loan. Kathy shared that sometimes their minds were made up based on the business plan alone, but the powerful client presentations could change their minds.
When asked what she’d like for people to know about WESST, Kathy shared, “WESST is an organization that can’t be duplicated. The staff is caring, the programs are excellent. There are classes, consultations and resources that WESST provides for clients to be ready to come to the Loan Fund, where we truly did care about those businesses. We worked hard to make the right decision, and we did. We were prepared, we asked questions, we did research. We truly wanted to make the right decision for businesses and for WESST!”
Kathy, thank you for your dedication to WESST and our small business clients through your 20 years of leadership and service on the Loan Fund Committee. Your commitment to helping the “little guys” has resulted in hundreds of loans to small businesses across the state through your time as a volunteer. We are so grateful that you’re part of the WESST family!
About the Author
Katie Knipe is the VP of Development for WESST and has worked in nonprofit management and arts administration for the past decade. She has dedicated her career to fundraising for organizations whose missions fuel her fire, including those who promote classical music performance and who serve people experiencing homelessness.