We’re excited to highlight the Young Alumni Council through a series of Darlington Connects blogs written by members of the Alumni Council. Today, Blake Segars ('99, LD '19) shares a spotlight on Kate Flory (’17).
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with Kate Flory (’17). To say that I was impressed is an understatement.
“Go into the world with a malleable mind,” she said. “We change. Our outlook on life evolves based on experiences. Be curious. Never lose your curiosity. It is one's curiosity that allows her to learn from the world, to continue to improve oneself and become a better person.”
To hear this young adult speak such profound truths is a shining example of the Darlington Motto's first stanza “Wisdom more than Knowledge.” Our future looks bright with the shining star Kate Flory.
Kate was born and raised in Columbus, Ga. In 2013, she found herself in her first of four years as a Darlington boarding student, living in both Cooper and Thornwood Houses. In the dorms, she held the position of prefect for two years.
Though Kate speaks of the demerits she received at Darlington for being late to class, it seems apparent that she mastered the art of time management. “Be punctual," she learned. “Always be considerate and mindful of other people’s valuable time.”
In learning this life lesson, she managed to balance her academics and social life with four years on the track and cross country teams, as well as being co-editor of Darlington’s yearbook, the Jabberwokk. With the Jabberwokk staff, Kate traveled to Orlando, Fla., and New York, N.Y., for journalism conferences and workshops. In New York, The Columbia Scholastic Press Association awarded Darlington’s Jabberwokk with the prestigious Silver Crown Award under her managing editorship. It was also in New York that Kate was given the opportunity to see "Hamilton" and, coincidentally, ran into and met some of the original cast members on the street outside the Broadway Theater. That’s pretty cool, Kate!
Kate’s ambition, involvement and leadership skills did not expire upon her 2017 Darlington graduation. That year, she enrolled in Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va. There, she continued her tenure with track, cross country and yearbook. At W&L, she oversaw the university’s yearbook during the tenuous years of the COVID-19 pandemic. Overwhelmed with creating a yearbook, almost on her own, at age 21, she developed the lifelong business skill of creating a small business that would build the yearbook during the nationwide shutdown. As managing editor, she brought on co-editors and built committees, created deadlines, and ran the business to build the book.
Today, Kate resides in Atlanta, where she works with Merrill Lynch in the wealth management department, helping clients plan for and strategize for retirement. Though the busyness of life seems to be filling up her daily calendar, she still makes time for herself -- she has a new puppy and she loves to bake. “I make a fantastic cinnamon roll," she said.
Kate owes so much to her experiences at Darlington. She discussed how fortunate she was to become friends with international students at Darlington and gave great applause to our alma mater in recent years for preparing students for the world beyond college. “Darlington introduced me to professionals and career opportunities beyond the college doors," she said. "Those connections helped navigate me toward my career. I wasn’t so worried, when I enrolled in W&L, to declare a major because Darlington had me focusing on what lay beyond from a long-term goal perspective. I'm very grateful for that exposure.”
To learn more about Kate, listen to Episode 93 of The Darlington Podcast. In this episode, Director of Annual Giving Julia Thomas ('07, LD '15) chats with her about her Darlington experience, her college and career journey, and how she continues to give back and stay plugged into Darlington.
Are you a member of the Darlington Community (or do you know one) with an interesting career or community involvement? We'd love to spotlight you in a future blog! Please email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in being featured.