Cathy Bailey is the Executive Director of the Greater Cincinnati Water Works Department (GCWW). In over 200 years, Cathy is the first woman and first African American to lead Cincinnati’s major, independent, municipal water utility. Cathy leads a team that ensures safe drinking water for a regional population of more than 1.1 million citizens; supervises a team of 600 full-time employees; and oversees a $110 million operating budget and a $450 million capital budget over the next five years. Cathy is a strong champion and key visionary behind Greater Cincinnati Water Works award-winning Lead Service Line Replacement Program.
Cathy has distinguished herself as a leader throughout her career, focusing on communications, strategic thinking, innovation, technical excellence, outreach, teamwork, and of course fun to solve problems and positively impact the community. Her community work and leadership roles were recently recognized when she was named one of the 2018 Greater Cincinnati YWCA’s Career Women of Achievement and as one of the Cincinnati Venue Magazine’s Women of Influence.
Cathy talks to us about her water journey and her mindset of moving around the table versus climbing up the ladder. “It’s not always about moving up. Sometimes it’s really making the most of the space you’re in.”
Being active and giving back to the community was instilled in Cathy at an early age. Hear how this drives her commitment to community in the water industry: “As much as we talk about the value of water, we don’t get out in the community and then BE that…..It shouldn’t be an agenda item, it should be how we function.”
Many people are scared of involving the community at the very onset of a new initiative, but Cathy gives powerful anecdotal evidence of the trust and buy-in that doing so earns you.
Our communities are diverse. We have to really KNOW our communities in order to best outreach to them. Who will resonate most with them?
Learn how they use data from surveys, the billing system, and employees to really learn about their community so they can better serve them and meet them where they are.
September 1992 is when Cathy decided she was never going to conform. Hear the story.
How can women in water support one another better and not be threatened by other women “being in their space”? Recognize the piece of the puzzle you represent and how you can best connect with the other “pieces” around you.
What does it mean to be F.I.E.R.C.E?
Rising YPs….check this out!
The Way of the Shepherd by Dr. Kevin Leman and William Pentak
The Poisoned City: Flint’s Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark
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