Jepson Alumnae Honored

July 11, 2022

Natasha Levanti, ’12, and Kate Materna Rezabek, ’02, receive Jepson alumni awards at Reunion Weekend

Communicate. Strategize. Train and develop leaders. Leadership studies alumnae Natasha Levanti, ’12, and Kate Materna Rezabek, ’02, excel in these skills in both their professional and volunteer work. It is why the Jepson School of Leadership Studies honored them with the Tenth-Year Reunion Recognition Award and the Alumni Award, respectively, on June 4, during University of Richmond’s Reunion Weekend.

As a recipient of the Jepson School’s Frederic M. Jablin Award for Undergraduate Research, Levanti researched political leadership in the Danish Parliament during her last two years at Richmond. She moved to Europe after graduation. There she continued to explore political leadership, first as a leadership research fellow in the Danish Parliament, and then while getting a master’s in European public affairs at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

Eventually, Levanti shifted her focus from political to corporate leadership, working in communications and leadership development roles for a variety of European companies. In March 2021, she moved back to the United States, where she leads brand, communications, and creative strategy for a global technology company developing software to manage large infrastructure projects.

“Part of my job involves coaching and training executives to represent the company internally and externally,” she said. “Most people are intimidated by working with top leaders, but my Jepson education prepared me to do this. I like being the person in the background cheering on a leader and helping them be the best person they can be.”

Similarly, Rezabek focuses on business and leadership development. Early in her career, she worked in the admissions offices of Lehigh University and University of Richmond before transitioning to jobs in corporate communications, training, and business strategy. She is now the director of content strategy for Keeping Current Matters, a Richmond-based company that provides resources to real estate agents.

“I lead a content strategy team for my company, developing educational content based on hyper-relevant housing market insights for over 30,000 real estate agents throughout the country,” she said. “Teaching and helping others grow as leaders and business professionals is foundational to me—a grounding part of who I am, both personally and professionally.”

Rezabek, who holds an M.Ed. in educational leadership from Lehigh University, has developed and presented curriculums, trainings, and workshops for organizations throughout her career. So when, at the 2012 inaugural meeting of the Jepson Alumni Corps, Dean Sandra Peart asked alumni to help students articulate clearly and concisely the value of a leadership studies degree to prospective employers, Rezabek was all in.

“I leveraged my background in education and training to create the elevator pitch workshop—which I believed could be a real differentiator for Jepson students,” she said. “Since then, I’ve developed, led, and continued to teach hundreds of Jepson students how to give their elevator pitch, preparing them for their leap into the professional world.”

In addition to leading the elevator pitch workshop during internship classes and the Jepson EDGE Institute, the School’s annual professional development program, Rezabek has been a member of the Jepson Alumni Corps since 2012 and its co-chair since 2017.

Levanti, too, has given back to the School, assisting virtually with the last two EDGE Institutes and a recent student-alumni event and talking to Jepson students about her career.

“Natasha and Kate exemplify the best of a what a Jepson education offers,” Peart said. “They excel in their chosen professions and willingly share their leadership know-how with top executives, company employees, and Jepson students. I am delighted to present them with these alumni awards in recognition of their many accomplishments.”

Photo: left to right, Kate Rezabek, President Kevin Hallock, Dean Sandra Peart, and Natasha Levanti