After working in some extreme and intense environments I've been fortunate to collect some incredible stories from some incredible lands. Stories that speak truths, shine light on our commonalities, and have the power to strengthen our connections to one another and the world. And with these truths and connections in place, that is when we can explore our differences and see the possibilities.
Catherine provided real-world examples and gave practical tools to use in our professional lives. Her approach, willingness to “go with the flow” and ability to engage the participants in a healthy discussion of potentially difficult topics was much appreciated.
- Lois Ries, HR Manager
The twists and turns of a journey
The Humanitarian Years
(2009 to present)
Truthfully, I’m still digesting all that happened during the years working in the field with Doctors Without Borders. It was a time in which most, if not all, of the preconceived notions I had so carefully formed over the years were shattered. I discovered that bottle caps should not be thrown away and instead can be carefully balanced on top of the bottle to keep enormous insects from enjoying your drink with you. I realized that you really can interview every single person who applied for the job. I saw first-hand that it is in times of catastrophes when we really come together. And most importantly I learned the importance of getting comfortable with being uncomfortable and the importance of Morning Tea.
The Non-Profit Years
It took me time to find the world of non-profits. After the corporate years I explored spending time as a dance instructor, with a startup, as a bartender. There was a relocation from San Francisco to Albuquerque. Then into recruiting, sales, and marketing. And finally consulting before becoming a social worker. And then after a bit more exploration, the world of HR. What a perfect combination. Funny how it is only when we look back that we can see just how each and every step has a part to play.
The Corporate Years
It wasn’t until leaving the multi-national, multi-billion-dollar energy organization, that I realized I had been standing in the swirl of the cutting edge. Quality improvement, strategic planning, benchmarking, best practices, process management, reinforced-based leadership, training, facilitation, and metrics. And downsizing. I said “Sure!” and took the package. And with my brand-new MBA in hand, went traveling. Talk about a solid foundation to go out into the world with!
The Formative Years
Growing up in Anchorage, Alaska, raised by parents who valued education and independence, in a land of people seeking opportunity and adventure is where I learned that you can’t be free without being responsible. And to at least try it. Whatever “it” may be. After high school, off to the University of San Francisco and after a very scary economics class, decided to major in communications. Then with degree in hand, moved to London for six months before returning to San Francisco, to do the expected and choose one career for the rest of my life.