Katherine Chon, `02
Co-founder and President Emerita, Polaris Project
Katherine Chon is the co-founder and President Emerita of Polaris Project, a leading nonprofit organization combating modern slavery in the United States and Asia. Sparked by a local newspaper article describing the enslavement of women in a brothel a few miles from her Brown University apartment, Katherine has spent the last ten years creating high-impact, measurable solutions to fight human trafficking. She piloted innovative victim outreach strategies resulting in a five-fold increase in victim identification. Katherine directed the creation of one of the first ethnically-diverse transitional housing programs for all victims of human trafficking and steered a partnership with the D.C. police and U.S. Attorney’s Office to establish the DC Human Trafficking Task Force, which tripled the rate of successful prosecution of human traffickers. She has testified before U.S. Congress and worked in coalitions to pass landmark legislation bringing parity of services to human trafficking victims.
She regularly speaks on issues related to modern slavery, social innovation, and activism and has provided strategic consulting on organizational development and nonprofit management. Katherine has been recognized with a Do Something Brick award presented by President Bill Clinton, Diane Von Furstenberg’s People’s Voice award, and Working Mother Media’s Multicultural Legacy award. In 2010, Woman’s Day Magazine selected Katherine among the Top 50 Women Changing the World.
Katherine received her ScB in Psychology with Honors from Brown University, MPA from Harvard Kennedy School, and completed the Executive Program for Nonprofit Leaders at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. She is currently researching and consulting on market-based anti-slavery interventions. Katherine also sits on the Advisory Board of Inspire USA Foundation, a nonprofit organization using technology to prevent suicide and promote mental health among teens and young adults.