Ronen was a wonderful part of the Creativity Foundation family—he embodied the sprit of creativity in each and every thing he set his mind to: in business, entrepreneurship, and in public service. And to top it off, he was a warm, gregarious person who loved sharing his time and interests with others. Ronen was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver in New York on September 19th, 2010. His energy and joy for life will be sorely missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Born in Haifa, Israel Ronen Katz was fortunate to enjoy both the Texan and Israeli culture. At the age of three Ronen and his family made the move across the Atlantic for two exciting years in Dallas, Texas. It is there that Ronen showed the first signs being a contrarian - the main avenue through which his creativity comes to light. After spending eight years in Israel, Ronen and his family returned to the United States headed for Washington DC where Ronen joined Walter Johnson High School in Bethesda, MD. A familiar face in the halls, Ronen was an honor roll student for four years, captain of the volleyball and basketball teams and active member in both the Spanish and National Honor Societies. Ronen finished high school at the top five percent of his class and received numerous awards including AP Scholar, Community Dedication award, National Scholastic Finalist to name a few.
At the University of Pennsylvania Ronen continued to experiment different paths. Originally a student of engineering, Ronen decided to pursue a degree in Finance and Real Estate as well, a path rather uncommon. During his sophomore year Ronen was fortunate to be introduced to one of the greatest real estate minds today - Dr. Peter Linneman who has served as a great mentor ever since. Through industry exposure and academic dedication Ronen found a unique medium integrating the fields of engineering, finance and real estate and established a small real estate investment firm. His experience with many people in the industry led him to realize that people skills are the key to successful entrepreneurship, and decided that he could apply these skills to finance his education. During his junior year Ronen began tutoring high school students creative strategies to master standardized tests.
While very successful academically Ronen believes that it is the failures you learn from rather than the successes. During his first two years at The University of Pennsylvania Ronen joined both the basketball and crew program. After a year he quickly realized the mistake of devoting to time to collegiate sports, an enjoyable endeavor but not one where his future lies. He believes that the value of this experience is the ability to recognize what he is good at and what he is not. When someone is accurately aware of their strengths and weaknesses they are much more likely to succeed.
He attributes his accomplishments to date to being a contrarian. rather than following the path well traveled attempt every task in a non-traditional route. His academics are a testament to Ronen’s contrarian view. In addition, most would follow a particular academic field and continue their academic experience in industry. Ronen found that the only way to determine where one’s passion lies is to go to industry and experiment different fields before determining which academic field is most suitable. After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania, Ronen joined Angelo Gordon Inc.‘s real estate investment group. He recently reported to us that he was enjoying the firm and working “fifteen hours a day” as a vice president.