Gulf for Good’s Kat Kearsey Talks Adventure to Advocacy

5 mins

Kat Kearsey has helmed charity foundation Gulf for Good for almost two decades, here we sit down to ask about her most memorable moments

On a mission to create lasting change, Gulf for Good has been transforming the lives of underprivileged communities around the world since its inception back in 2001. The Dubai-based charity focuses on raising funds through unique adventure challenges, ranging from mountain climbs and treks to cycling expeditions, all held in remote environments across the globe.

Each expedition not only serves as a personal achievement for participants but also plays a vital role in generating funds for various charitable projects such as educational programs, healthcare initiatives and community projects in developing countries.

With a focus on sustainability, the organisation strives to create long-lasting, positive impacts on disadvantaged communities by addressing their most pressing needs.

The Ethicalist had the opportunity to speak with Kat Kearsey, Chairwoman of Gulf for Good, to gain insights into her time leading the organisation over the last 17 years.

TE: What initially inspired you to get involved with Gulf for Good back in 2007?

KK: I was drawn to Gulf for Good by their unique approach to combining adventure with philanthropy. It was the Everest Base Camp challenge that initially caught my attention, and I knew I had to be a part of it. Since then, my role has evolved significantly. From being a challenger myself to now serving as the Chairwoman, it’s been an incredible journey of growth and learning. I’ve had the opportunity to contribute in various capacities, from organising landmark events such as the annual Gala Ball to strategising for the organisation’s future.

TE: You’ve participated in a variety of challenges with Gulf for Good, from running marathons to summiting Kilimanjaro. What’s been the most memorable experience?

KK: Oh, there have been so many memorable experiences with Gulf for Good! If I had to pick one, I’d say the volunteer challenge in Malawi holds a special place in my heart. It was a truly transformative journey, not only because of the incredible impact we made through our volunteer work but also because it was the first time I had the opportunity to participate alongside my daughter, Rosalie. The sense of fulfilment as we worked together to uplift the community, coupled with the bonds we strengthened as a mother-daughter duo, made it an unforgettable experience. Plus, witnessing the resilience and spirit of the local people we were privileged to serve left a lasting impression on both of us.

TE: You are Senior Director of Change Management, Communications and HR Planning at Marriott International. How do you juggle your responsibilities as Chairwoman at Gulf for Good with the demanding role?

KK: Balancing my role at Marriott International with my responsibilities at Gulf for Good has definitely been a juggling act, but one that I’m passionate about. It’s all about effective time management and prioritisation. I’ve learned to delegate tasks where possible and leverage technology to stay connected even when I’m traveling. Having a supportive team at both organisations has also been instrumental in maintaining this balance.

Kat with her daughter Rosalie on a Gulf for Good challenge
Kat with her daughter Rosalie

TE: As Director of Strategy and Events at Gulf for Good, what are some of the key events that you have helped to spearhead?

KK: As Director of Strategy and Events at Gulf for Good, I’ve been involved in spearheading several key initiatives and events. One that comes to mind is the Gulf for Good Ball, which has become a signature event for us. It’s not just about fundraising; it’s about creating an unforgettable experience for our supporters while showcasing the impact of our work. I’ve also been involved in planning community socials and coordinating our annual events calendar.

TE: Can you tell us about some of the most impactful projects you’ve undertaken at Gulf for Good?

KK: Gulf for Good has undertaken many impactful projects over the years, and it’s been incredible to be a part of that journey. One project that stands out is our partnership with Chicuchas Wasi, a girls’ safehouse in Cusco, Peru. In 2023, we took Kibsons on a private corporate challenge as well and it was a true honour to have them join us in supporting this cause.

gulf for good Chicuchas Wasi, Peru

Chicuchas Wasi School for Girls provides free primary education, emphasising personal development, empowerment, and academics. The school maintains a significant presence in the community with cultural celebrations, supporting social issues as well as women’s issues, and spreading the value and importance of education for girls. Currently, we are helping them build an indoor facility larger than a classroom to host events, sports, theatre presentations, or other activities enabling them to remain the hub where the local community can come together. The goal is to raise USD54,500 to build a dry multipurpose room for such activities once children can return to school.

Enjoro Primary School in Tanzania where funds raised from Gulf for Good   helped the renovation and expansion of classrooms and WASH facilities for hundreds of students

Another that comes to mind is the Enjoro Primary School project in Tanzania in collaboration with Foundation of African Empowerment. This project addressed the acute shortage of classrooms at the school, which catered to 620 children and 12 teachers. Through fundraising efforts, we constructed and furnished a classroom building specifically designed for children with special needs and disabilities. This initiative not only provided a conducive learning environment for all students but also exemplified Gulf for Good’s commitment to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those in need.

Witnessing the tangible difference we’ve made in the lives of these children is truly heartwarming. It’s moments like these that remind me why I’m so passionate about the work we do at Gulf for Good.

Newsletter signup