Missing Iao Katagiri: A Community Treasure

Iao Katagiri was a friend to so many people in our community. Photo: WISE & Heathy Aging

Iao Katagiri, RAND's longtime director of community relations who played a pivotal role in the development of the research institution's Santa Monica headquarters and managed its extensive art collection, died this past April.

Those of us who knew Iao in the Rotary Club of Santa Monica over the past several years could always count on her to be sure photographs of all of our events were taken. She was also a whiz when audio visual presentations were made. If there was a problem with a machine, Iao knew how to fix it. She was always gracious and pleasant when her services were required. She will be missed, not only by her fellow Rotarians, but by all of the members of the local non-profits she assisted.

When Iao retired in 2016, she continued to support RAND’s relationships in Santa Monica as an adjunct staff member and member of the Pardee RAND Graduate School faculty.

Her work as a community-based non-profit organization leader maintained her already robust relationships with government officials, business and community leaders, and residents.

Iao was looking forward to becoming chair of the Board of Directors, Providence Saint John's Health Center in spring, vice-chair of the Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce (which she had chaired 2009 to 2010), and co-chair of the Early Childhood District Advisory Committee of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District. She was past president of Connections for Children, and past co-chair of the City of Santa Monica's Early Childhood Task Force.

Iao also served on the boards of the Santa Monica College Associates and was first vice-chair of the board of WISE & Healthy Aging. She assisted RAND research projects and the Pardee RAND Graduate School in activities benefiting from local community participation. Iao earned her M.P.A. from the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Iao was widely known inside and outside RAND for her tours of the modern art that line the hallways of the research institute. The collection features 200 works by artists such as David Hockney, John Baldessari, Chuck Close, and Catherine Opie, all long-term loans from software entrepreneur and philanthropist Peter Norton.

On June 20, WISE & Healthy Aging will be honoring Iao with a Leadership in Caring Award at 6 p.m. at at the Broad Stage in Santa Monica. Also honored will be Barbara Browning from the UCLA-Santa Monica Medical Center, and

Michael Rich, president and CEO of RAND Corporation, for 40 years of service on the WISE & Healthy Aging Board of Directors. Please call 310-398-9471, ext. 150, or go to events@wiseandhealthyaging.org for ticket information.

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