Catherine has extensive experience working in the philanthropic and nonprofit sectors, where she developed an expertise for designing and evaluating programs that target underserved populations. She served as the Deputy Director of Urban School Reform for the Carnegie Corporation of New York, where she managed a $60 million high school reform initiative, a multi-million-dollar portfolio, and a $25 million Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant.
Her desire to help the underserved took root at an early age, and was fostered through numerous volunteer activities in her hometown of Albuquerque. After college, she worked in the Capitol Hill office of New Mexico Senator Jeff Bingaman, where she learned first hand how public policy and legislation intersect with nonprofit efforts.
Her burgeoning interest in public policy led her to the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation's oldest Hispanic civil rights organization. There she worked as a liaison to the organization's board and corporate advisors, cultivating valuable, long-lasting professional relationships.
At the Washington, DC-based Independent Sector, she served as the Director of Government Relations. She represented nonprofit interests on a broad range of issues on Capitol Hill and was the liaison to the White House & Congressional Hispanic Caucus. She co-created Independent Sector's Future Leadership Initiative, which focused on efforts to attract, retain and develop young leaders in the non-profit sector. Her entrée into the foundation world began soon after at the DeWitt Wallace-Readers Digest Fund, where she managed a $48 million youth development and education portfolio.
She had dedicated her professional career to work in the communities that are important to her and has served as a board member of several organizations she’s very passionate about including: Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, National LGBT Chamber of Commerce, GLAAD, UnidosUS (formerly the National Council of La Raza), the LGBTQ Victory Fund, and Catherine was the first Latinx to co-chair the board of the Hetrick-Martin Institute in New York City. Currently, she serves as a board member on the Arcus Foundation.
She has been widely recognized for her professional and civic accomplishments, including the New York State Special Civil Rights Award, the Robert F. Wagner Public Service Award, the first UnidosUS (formerly National Council of La Raza) LGBTQ Leadership Award, the Latino GLBT History Project’s Latina Leadership Award, the National Hispana Leadership Institute Alumna of the Year Award, the Hispanic Women’s Corporation Leadership Award, Working Mother’s Multicultural Women’s National Legacy Award, and the United States Hispanic Chamber LGBTQ Advocate of the Year Award to name a few. Catherine and her wife Ingrid have also been recognized throughout the country for their leadership and philanthropy in both the Latinx and LGBTQ communities.
Catherine holds a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New Mexico, and a Master's in Public Policy and Administration from New York University. She is a graduate of Harvard's John F Kennedy School of
Government’s Executive Program, Harvard’s Business School’s Corporate Governance Program, the Center for Creative Leadership and was a fellow of the National Hispana Leadership Program.
Together, Ingrid and Catherine founded PODER PAC a political action committee by Latinas for Latinas. PODER PAC is a national effort to increase the number of Latinas elected to Congress. The created the Familia es Familia initiative, a national public education campaign focused on bullying, family unity, discrimination and transgender issues.
Catherine and Ingrid created two film production companies Brown Beauty and Freemind Beauty Productions to work on projects near and dear to their hearts. Working with renowned portrait photographer and filmmaker Timothy Greenfield-Sanders they have produced several documentaries including: The Latino List I and II and The Out List and The Trans List for HBO and The Boomer List and Women's List for PBS’ American Masters.