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Kathleen Baireuther bio

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Kathleen Baireuther

Business Fellow

Kathleen joins Breakthrough Energy’s Business Fellows program from Austin, Texas. As a Fellow, she will work hand-in-hand with technologists committed to decarbonization at scale. She brings expertise in developing and executing go-to-market strategies for emerging technology companies in the urban mobility and clean technology sectors.

Kathleen has spent her career at the intersection of the public and private sectors in a wide range of contexts, including consulting, academia, think tanks and large corporations. She brings professional experience in technology commercialization strategy, community and economic development, transportation and mobility, and public-private partnerships. Most recently, she was with Ford Motor Company supporting business strategy and operations for Ford’s autonomous vehicle division.

In her free time, Kathleen is an avid traveler, enjoys hiking, and maintains an advanced Iyengar yoga practice. She holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Virginia and a Master of Philosophy from the University of Cambridge.

Q&A

What inspired you to go into this field?
I started my research work in international human rights law, but during my field work in the Ecuadorian Amazon the conflict between preserving the jungle and its human culture (Native tribes) versus the push from oil companies and national governments to extract valuable resources re-framed how I thought about human and environmental rights. From that point, I shifted my attention to the intersection of economic development and sustainability with a focus on global "megacities."

Who has had the greatest impact on your career path?
Professor Jim Sofka at the University of Virginia. He was Dean of the Honors Program and encouraged me to apply for research grants, pursue fellowships, and apply to Cambridge for graduate school. My career has evolved a lot since my undergraduate studies, but he taught me to pursue opportunities like this fellowship.

What was the most impactful book you've read?
“We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families: Stories from Rwanda” by Philip Gourevitch.