Cathy Engelbert – Trailblazer

By Rich Bond

Cathy Engelbert was just recognized as a Women’s Trailblazer by her alma mater, Lehigh University. I, too, went to Lehigh but in the era before there were women students.

Cathy had a successful business career, becoming President of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) US. But five years ago, she left to become the President of the WNBA because it was her passion.

I just listened to this great interview with her. In it, she said that much of her success in life came from the lessons she learned playing sports – teamwork, commitment, etc.

She said she has a strong network of successful women who share this same belief.

Cathy is an optimist.  The WNBA is 25 years old.  She thinks it has been successful but has a way to go.  The NBA is over 77 years old. Still, she says the WNBA is further ahead at 25 than the NBA was at the same age.

Cathy thinks women need an advantage to get ahead.  She feels sports gave her that advantage.

Cathy said the world of women’s sports is far better now than it was when she was growing up due mainly to Title IX.  (equal opportunity to participate based on enrollment.) Title IX was huge for Cathy in creating opportunities in college sports – Lacrosse and basketball. (When she was growing up, there was no women’s or girls’ soccer, for example. No WNBA.)

The woman who interviewed Cathy is a Lehigh basketball player, Frannie Hottinger, who was recently named the Patriot League player of the year.

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