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Cate Goethals

Founder, Better Boards Initiative; Director, UW Foster Women Board Director Development Program

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Cate Goethals


Cate Goethals is passionate about elevating women and people of color to the leadership roles they deserve. Co-founder of the Better Boards Initiative, Cate’s research and programs show corporate boards how to capitalize on new and different voices and leverage their diversity to benefit a broader range of stakeholders.

As executive coach, Cate has inspired hundreds of women and men to succeed as leaders by becoming more deeply and powerfully themselves rather than adopting values and styles that feel inauthentic. Based upon her groundbreaking research on the added value women bring to corporate boardrooms, Cate founded and continues to direct the Women Board Director Development Program within the University of Washington Foster School of Business, the first program of its kind in the U.S. This program has now guided over 350 senior leaders to think strategically about pathways to the boardroom…and to understand, articulate, and effectively communicate the value they individually bring to the table. 

A certified leadership coach and longtime business professor at the University of Washington, Cate has created and led classes and programs for female leaders and allies including seminars on board search strategies, gravitas/executive presence, and building sponsorship relationships. Cate’s “Women at the Top” course was named as one of the 10 most innovative MBA classes by Forbes magazine. Her “Half the Sky” India programs connect women leaders in the U.S. and South Asia. 

Cate’s coaching practice focuses on leaders who share her passion for making their organizations – and thus the world – a better and more collaborative place as they advance in their careers. She also serves as Chief Journey Advisor to the Athena Alliance, an organization dedicated to guiding women to seats on boards of directors.

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