Educate. Publish. Lead. Connect.
With a highly distinctive blend of corporate acumen and creative talent, Kate Jerome has built a 30-year career as both a senior publishing executive and an award-winning children’s book author. Her original body of work has influenced millions of K-12 students and includes more than 200 published books (including worldwide best-seller Who Was Amelia Earhart?) in addition to multiple series done in collaboration with such publishers as National Geographic, Penguin Random House. and Arcadia Publishing.
While her work has taken many forms, Kate’s interest in intergenerational product development sparked the idea behind her latest entrepreneurial venture as co-founder of Little Bridges, an innovative direct-to-consumer company dedicated to creating products that foster enduring multi-generational experiences. This dedication to personal interaction is based on Kate’s long-time credo on how to achieve breakthroughs with children: “While reading opens many doors for children, it’s conversations that give kids the courage to go through them.”
Kate’s concept for Little Bridges, in part, grew out of her experience as a member of the inaugural class of Stanford University’s Distinguished Careers Institute, which she was invited to join in 2015. As a DCI Fellow she immersed herself in academic subjects ranging from neuroscience to art history, explored virtual reality, and mentored graduate students on their start-ups. During her year-long residency, Kate’s affiliation with Stanford’s Center on Longevity re-energized her goal to translate intergenerational research into practice. “There is plenty of evidence that intergenerational connections provide mutual benefit to both age demographics. And given that today’s grandparents (myself included) are more eager than ever to participate in their grandkids lives it made sense to me that creating fun and practical tools to help both generations more meaningfully connect would be a valuable contribution.”
Kate’s co-founder in the Little Bridges venture is Raoul Goff, founder of Insight Editions, a Bay-area company specializing in illustrated books for the world’s leading artists, photographers, directors, and environmental activists. Their partnership is an extension of the collaboration they formed in 2018 when Kate was appointed President of Insight Editions. She is currently on the company’s executive board.
Little Bridges’ inaugural products are themed intergenerational activity kits that include exclusive Little Bridges content and entertaining keepsakes designed to stir vibrant exchanges based on family traditions and history. The first boxed kit Grandma & Me: In the Kitchen is designed for grandmothers and their grandchildren, aged 4+. “As a longtime science publisher and proponent of technology, I want kids to be technologically literate, but I also want them to understand the value of personal connections with people in their lives away from the digital world,” says Kate, a beloved “Mimi” herself. “At Little Bridges, we like to say that we’ll provide the tools and you provide the love. The kits have wonderful material that prompt adults to have the kinds of conversations with kids that help them thrive. This opportunity to pass along family history gives kids a sense of self and, no less importantly, gives adults a sense of purpose.”
A graduate of Miami University in Ohio, Kate pursued a teaching degree in biology with a minor in environmental education. Her fascination for science and education traces back to her childhood years growing up 90 miles east of Cleveland. She proudly claims the title of being a bona fide science nerd as a kid who found total fascination in watching monarch butterflies hatch and tadpoles turn into frogs. From the beginning, she was also a born storyteller who would keep her friends engaged and laughing with narratives she would make up on the spot.
After graduating from Miami, Kate worked in a Federal program tutoring homebound kids but then answered an ad in the Chicago Tribune which pivoted her into the educational publishing sector when she joined Scott Foresman Publishing as an entry level science editor. Kate’s creative vision in designing pioneering programs encouraging teacher-student interaction along with her strong leadership skills quickly moved her through every editorial chair in the organization. In 1993, she was promoted to President (the youngest in the company’s history) also serving as a Senior VP on HarperCollins Publisher’s Executive Board based in New York.
In 2001, Kate launched her first business to further her mission as an author and developer of effective learning systems. Since its inception, Kate has created a range of specialized children’s books series and online programs. In addition to her role as Co-founder of Little Bridges, Kate currently serves on the Board of Insight Editions and is an active Director Emeritus Board Member for the South Carolina Aquarium. She is also an Advisor for Reading Partners, a national education nonprofit dedicated to improving students' reading skills.
“I’ve always been able to use pieces from my previous experiences within every new position and venture.” Kate says. “And as I learn and grow along the way, I’m so grateful for the opportunity to produce ever-more interesting and entertaining material. If Little Bridges gives families an enjoyable reason to take a time out for more meaningful conversations and family story-telling, I will be absolutely thrilled!”