Catherine Bannister is a Managing Director at Deloitte Consulting LLP and the Chief Talent Officer for the Technology service area in both the US and globally. She has served clients in the US State Government sector, primarily developing transformative technology solutions for Health & Human Services agencies. Catherine has held a number of leadership roles at Deloitte, including Chief People Officer for the Public Sector practice, Lead Consulting Partner for the State of Wisconsin and Program Management Director for the opening of Deloitte University in Westlake, TX. Throughout her career, Catherine has demonstrated a commitment to the attraction, development and retention of world class talent.
In her nearly twenty-five years of client service, Catherine has implemented technology solutions that enable enhanced assistance to our country’s neediest individuals, including the elderly, children and those with disabilities. She has worked in 11 states and numerous counties to automate the case management, benefit distribution and program performance analysis of social services and financial assistance programs.
Catherine is the architect of Deloitte’s Tech Fluency program, an ongoing effort to develop and cultivate breadth and depth of technical capabilities across the Technology practice and the ability of all Deloitte consultants to be conversant in disruptive technologies.
Catherine has consistently demonstrated her passion for the development and professional growth of Deloitte practitioners through her leadership and delivery of innovative learning programs at all career levels and her commitment to developing the world’s best leaders through apprenticeship and mentorship.
Catherine was born and raised in St. Louis, MO and currently resides in Chicago. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communication from Loyola University of Chicago and her master’s degree in organizational communication from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.
WITH GROUPS CREATING PROGRAMS TO ENCOURAGE FEMALES TO CONSIDER STEM, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST BARRIER TO ENTRY THAT IS STILL PREVALENT TODAY?
I actually think we are making progress with all of the encouragement and programs that have been developed for girls and young women in recent years. A big obstacle that remains, in my opinion, is the stereotype with which careers and work in STEM are still burdened. I think too many young women still have a vision of a STEM job that is isolated, unconnected, and focused on coding or IT support; they hear the words, “Tech” or “STEM” and think it’s too hard, or too “nerdy” for their liking. So, the more role models that they can see of women who are transforming the world using technology and science – and the better they understand that every career is now a STEM career because of the ubiquity of technology, the more effectively we can help them see themselves in that world.
WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU?
I am inspired by nature. When I need to reenergize, I go to nature: a lake, the ocean, the woods, the mountains. It calms me and focuses me…and awes me.
The people who inspire me are tenacious and optimistic; they persevere toward their goals despite hurdles or set-backs – and their positivity and passion attracts supporters (like me) to help them in their progress.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT/ACCOMPLISHMENT?
I don’t have a specific moment that comes to mind; I am proud of using my education, network and determination to become a female leader in a field that needs role models, and I’m proud that I have a platform and the opportunity to help the women and girls behind me go even further in their pursuits.