Kate Kestnbaum


Wife of Robert Kestnbaum, mother of Ellyn Daniels, PhD. and Meyer Kestnbaum II, PhD., grandmother of Emma and Benjamin Daniels and Sabrina and Lydia Kestnbaum-Cook, Kate has enjoyed a “serial” life. She was a 1956 honors graduate of Wellesley College and spent a year at Columbia University’s School of Public Law and Government. After being married, she taught in California for a year. Returning to her husband’s Chicago, she became a lifetime volunteer for Wellesley College, serving on its National Development Fund Committee and founding the Durant Society (leadership gifts) which she then went on to lead in its early years. During that period, she also worked for the Know Your Chicago Committee of the University of Chicago, Herrick House, a residential treatment center for recovering Rheumatic Fever children where she chaired the group, and the Juvenile Protective Association, where she founded the Women’s Board and served as Secretary and later Vice President of its Board.

In 1973, Kate started as an analyst with Kestnbaum & Company which had been founded by her husband in 1967. She became a consultant in 1976, a Certified Management Consultant in 1977, and a Vice President in 1990. During her final year prior to her retirement in 2001, she was the Executive VP of the firm. She served as a Trustee of Marketing EDGE and member of its Executive Committee and in 1997 was given the Edward N. Mayer, Jr. Award. In 2001 she received the Charles S. Downs Award as the (first female) “Direct Marketer of the Year” from the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing.

While working at “KCo”, Kate served on the DMA’s Advisory Committees to Annual Catalog Conferences for three years and to the first and later NCDM Conferences. She was also a frequent speaker at many of DMA’s Annual, Spring, Catalog and other Conferences including DMA’s ’91 Intl. Strategic Forum on Direct Marketing, the Chicago Association of Direct Marketing’s Annual Conferences, International Direct Marketing and Mail Order Symposium Conferences in Montreux, etc. She also presented several guest lectures at the University of Chicago’s Business School and Northwestern’s Medill Graduate School of Journalism. During her career she contributed her “Kate Kestnbaum’s Catalog Data Report” to Catalog Age for four years, and was the Marketing Advisor to start-up TLC (Amer. Cancer Soc.) catalog for editor, Lana Rosenfeld.

During her active career years, non-professional activities were held to a minimum. Among the few maintained were a ten year membership in the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Illinois Eye Fund Board of Directors, a founding membership in the Wellesley College Business Leadership Council, and a lifetime commitment to her children’s Francis W. Parker School where she served as a Board and Executive Committee Member, Vice President, and Treasurer. She is currently a Life Trustee of Parker.

Since retiring from “KCo”, Kate has remained active through KesTry, contributing her professional skills on a non-paid basis to the Parker School, her Temple, and to others seeking her strategic, analytical and market research skills, as well as career advice and placements. She has also served as a Trustee, member of the Executive Committee, and Vice President of her Temple, The Chicago Sinai Congregation, is a member of the University of Chicago’s Humanities Visiting Committee, and Northwestern’s Cardiovascular Institute Advisory Council.

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