About Katharine Esty
I wrote in the third grade, that when I grew up, I wanted to be a woman suffragette and a newspaper reporter. I knew who I was. Those two directions — creating change and writing — have been the most important themes of my adventurous career.
My first book, The Gypsies: Wanderers in Time, was conceived when I was a young mom caring for four small boys. Reading about Gypsies and their carefree lifestyle of touring the world in caravans provided a wonderful escape for me. Their culture that had endured for 1000 years fascinated me. Soon, I was seeking out Gypsies in New York and Hartford and later my research took me to Spain and France. And before long, I was writing a book.
After I finished my PhD in social psychology, rather than following the usual track of becoming a professor, I chose to be out in the workplace. I started my own consulting firm, Ibis Consulting Group which focused on issues of diversity and organizational effectiveness. Our tagline was ‘managing change and the changing workforce.’ Women and people of color were breaking the glass ceiling and my firm was there to help them smash it. My second book, Workplace Diversity, written with two colleagues emerged from our consulting work with corporations, universities and organizations in the USA.
Over the years, my consulting work had evolved to include projects in many developing countries such as Nepal and Malawi. The seed for Twenty-Seven dollars and a Dream: How Muhammad Yunus Changed the World and What if Cost Him, was planted the day I met Muhammad Yunus in 1994. I was in Dhaka, Bangladesh consulting to UNICEF. I was bowled over by Yunus — here was a Muslim man, a Bangladeshi, dedicating his life to helping poor women and eradicating poverty. I wanted the whole world to know his story.
It took nearly twenty years to go from that first fleeting idea for a book for it to come to full flower. In 2006, Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize but his name was still not a household word. My four sons were now almost middle-aged men, my grandchildren were growing up. I was free to travel the world, follow my own dream and write this book.