REDWOOD CITY, CA, June 24, 2020 /24-7PressRelease/ -- K. K. Johnson has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.
K. K. "Kay" Johnson claims her life spans the best of times. From her first breath she had a passion for adventure and before her last sigh, she will have collected a whole century of multifarious experiences. When asked, "Why do people do the things they do?" She replies simply, "Because they can".
Kay Kathryn was intrigued by the stories her parents shared. Both were born in 1917 on the Great Plains of Cimarron County in the Panhandle of Oklahoma - a state then only 10 years old. They were born under the shadow of WWI and were babies during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 and the beginning of Prohibition. When Kay's mother was 7, women gained the right to vote. As teenagers, her parents survived The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. In 1940 they married and moved to southern California where their only child was born.
Kay was a curious and horse crazy kid who loved to explore and create. She began drawing horses as soon as she could hold a pencil. At age 8 she began piano lessons and when she was 11, her parents surprised her with a spunky pony named Midnight. He became the love of her life. He was smart, agile, and could run like the wind. He climbed hills like a mountain goat, and when she whistled he always rushed forward to greet her. This little horse, only 55 inches tall, magically cleared a 4-foot jump in a runoff competition for first place. During the 1950s, K. K. attended public schools, painted, designed and sewed her wardrobe, played the piano, sang in choirs, participated in water sports, and on horseback covered 250 miles of the John Muir Trail in California's High Sierras. Kay's passions for exploring and creating through art, music, crafts, and world travel would remain constant throughout her adult life.
In 1960, career opportunities for women were mostly limited to secretary, airline stewardess, teacher, or nurse, but times were changing. The birth control pill now gave women a voice in family planning. Kay moved into the dorms at San Diego State University not to study art as predicted, but Music Education and pipe organ performance. In her sophomore year she took a job as organist in a church near the campus to help with college expenses. In her junior year, she sold her horse to buy a car and became the organist at the Marine Corp Recruit Depot in San Diego. She continued her involvement in churches as organist and sometimes choir director for more than 20 years. In 1964, armed with a Bachelor of Arts in music education and a California Teaching Credential, she taught music at the Intermediate School in Claremont, CA, and also completed her Master of Arts in Music History at Claremont Graduate University. She then returned to the San Diego area to teach 4th grade and music for 2 years.
By 1969, Kay was weary of her conventional life and thirsty for adventure when she accepted the civilian position as U.S. Army Special Services, III Corps Entertainment Director in Vietnam. What followed was a year of enormous success and personal growth. 1
Departing from Vietnam, K. K. traveled west for many months before eventually resettling in Burlingame, CA. She tried to avoid another teaching position, but soldiers returning to the States from an unpopular war were flooding the employment market making it a difficult time for a career change. Resigned to her plight, Kay taught 4th graders and choir for another 4 years.
In 1972, she bought a home in Burlingame, CA. In the evenings she sang with Masterworks Chorale and attended adult woodshop classes to first build a clavichord and then a Zuckerman 2-manual French harpsichord. During this period she also studied piano performance with a renowned local teacher and began coaching her own music students in her home soon to be identified as Kay's Klavier Kottage. She worked with piano students for a decade. Although it was very fulfilling, the revenue generated was not sufficient. In 1981, a corporation hired Ms. Johnson as a training assistant, a position that required Life and Disability and Variable Contract Insurance Agent's Licenses, as well as a NASD Series 22 license. It was from this beginning that later as a Registered Representative she acquired her NASD series 7 and 63 licenses and in 1988, became a Certified Financial Planner. In 1989, a Toastmaster friend invited Kay to establish Incentive Stock Option (ISO) and Employee Stock Purchase Plan (ESPP) programs for their corporate employees. It was here that Ms. Johnson finally found her niche. The work was detailed, varied, and challenging.
In 1995, Ms. Johnson formed Equity Compensation Solutions to market her expertise in Equity Plan Administration, Documentation and Training, and Insider Trading Compliance and Reporting. Silicon Valley was thriving and over the next 7 years, Kay Johnson consulted for 23 Silicon Valley companies.
Enthusiasm for exploring the world began in the 1970s. In the 1980s, it was touring countries by bicycle and locally participating in bicycle centuries, biathlons, and triathlons. Beginning with scuba certification in 1991, her world travels focused on exploring the oceans while, of course, not always playing the stock market.
In 2002, K. K. Johnson retired. At last she would have time to paint. She won a San Mateo County competition and was awarded a full-year scholarship to the San Francisco Academy of Art University for the 2005-2006 school year. The Burlingame Art Society named her Artist of the Year in 2009. It was also time to remodel her Burlingame residence by updating the downstairs bathroom and enlarging the tiny kitchen. She acted as her own general contractor under the supervision of two UBuildIt consultants. The 18-month project was such a success that it was featured in local magazines. In 2012, she wrote and illustrated a book commemorating her two kitties titled Burlingame Adventures: The Kohl Mansion Kaper with Davey Krockat and Kristofur Katlumbus, where fact and fiction are mingled in a whimsical tale told by two 21st century "kats". 2
Among the many causes that she currently supports are 3 mustang non-profit organizations. As a member of the Menlo Park Rotary Club, Kay serves on the Scholarship Committee and provides mentorship to a recipient. She also funds scholarships for women majoring or minoring in art or music at Pomona College and sponsors music and art events at Claremont McKinna College.
Today, Kay's greatest pleasure is the perspective she draws from her collection of memories spanning an entire century and she still covets the spirit of her little black horse and his lust for life. When he approached that 4-foot jump, he didn't hesitate. He just did it because somehow he knew he could.
1 In 2018, Ms. Johnson participated in the Oral History Project at the Vietnam Archive at Texas Tech University in Lubbock, TX. The audio may be accessed at this link: https://vva.vietnam.ttu.edu/repositories/2/digital_objects/644599.
2 All of K. K.'s "kats" have names containing two Ks (just like her own name). Her current kitties are Walter Kronkat and Pawblo Pikkatso.
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