Alum of the Month: Catherine Gacad '93
We were thrilled to welcome alumna Catherine Gacad back to campus on February 12 for a presentation tailored to our female leaders.
A graduate of the SJND Class of 1993, Catherine completed her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and later received her M.B.A. from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. Catherine is currently a Senior Vice President of Advanced Technology and Partnerships at Wells Fargo, where she is responsible for developing and supporting relationships with various divisions of the company to facilitate effective internal dialogue and support client meetings. Before joining Wells Fargo in 2004, Catherine worked in finance at private equity and technology firms. In addition, she runs a personal lifestyle blog founded in 2005.
During her presentation Catherine spoke about her own career experiences and path to success. She provided important insight on identifying your interests early on and channeling that into a career, as told through a letter to her 13-year-old nephew.
“People say they don't know what they want to be when they grow up. That's ok. I'm still trying to figure out what I'm going to do next in my career,” Catherine worte. “That said, people also tend to gravitate toward what they naturally liked to do in childhood. For me, I loved to read and write. I was constantly reading and writing little stories on the side. And to this day, my job encompasses digesting a lot of information and communicating out to my partners. So that can be a guidepost for you. Think about what you gravitated toward when you were a kid and also now, because that could be an important passion,” she explained.
Catherine also addressed gender and racial discrimination in the workplace, as well as misconceptions about female leadership, and offered advice for emerging leaders. She encouraged the female students to stand up for themselves, to take risks, support each other and speak up.
“It took me a long time to learn this lesson, especially because I am an introvert and I never wanted to say something wrong in meetings. But always find opportunities to say something, anything that's insightful,” Catherine told the audience. “Whether you're in class or in a meeting, say something or even ask a question. Don't just sit there. Contribute.”
Thank you, Catherine, for your inspiring presentation! To learn more about Catherine, check out her blog at www.catherinegacad.com or connect with her via LinkedIn.