Cathy Harris

Who is Cathy Harris?

Cathy Harris is founder and president of C. Harris Companies, Inc., an expert organizational and staff development firm based in New Orleans, where, for nearly three decades, she has led a team of dynamic professionals with emphases workplace people issues, including leadership development, diversity and inclusion, transformational change, communication and dialogue skills, team building, conflict resolution and customer service. Cathy, frequently recognized by her peers as an outstanding consultant and leader, specializing in facilitation and training through a non-confrontational lens, helping organizational leaders, attendees and participants develop effective and memorable workplace communication skills; new approaches to building trust and teambuilding; and alternative dispute resolution.

She is a sought-after professional speaker who has captivated and educated audiences across the country, providing those who attend her engaging presentations with the tools to create the results they wish to yield in their lives. On the speaking circuit, she is well-known, and come to be loved, for her authenticity, humor and down-to-earth style.

Cathy’s has a background that undergirds a keen understanding of the art and skill required to craft, implement and foster initiatives for firms and to develop strategies to advance the careers of up-and-coming professionals who want to leave their mark on today’s workplace.

In short, while many in the world of high-level corporate advisors and professional speakers are merely people collectors, Cathy Harris, for nearly 30 years, through hundreds of business, government, nonprofit and civic interactions, is a true people connector—thus, the defining motto of C. Harris Companies, Inc., and the dictum for all of Cathy’s many appended projects, has been, since its creative inception, “Cultivating People Connections.”

Can Cathy help my company?

Cathy Harris has worked with hundreds of firms—big and small, public and private—over the past three decades—experience that enables her to craft a plan tailored to the unique needs of your business. Cathy knows that no two enterprises are alike and shuns cookie-cutter approaches to orchestrating effective communications plans for her clients. See testimonials from corporate and government clientele

Cathy Harris’ keynote speaking, consulting and training work is recognized for producing impressive results by helping executives, managers, supervisors and staff to identify and implement the best changes for their growth.

Clients produce exceptional results with Cathy’s highly interactive, dynamic and humorous presentations. They also appreciate her ability to design support systems that afford them continuing results long after she has completed her programs. Her clients include Chevron, Shell, Audubon Nature Institute, Blue Cross Blue Shield, The U. S. Department of Agriculture, Louisiana State University, The U. S. Department of Energy, Department of Defense, Ochsner Health Plan, The Windsor Court Hotel and others.

In the areas of workplace diversity, teambuilding, conflict resolution andcommunication, Cathy has captivated and educated audiences across the country. Participants love her authenticity, humor and down-to-earth style. This combined with experiential and highly interactive activities and exercises allow her to successfully present tough topics (diversity, conflict resolution, communicating across cultural lines). Her stories of overcoming obstacles instantly connect her to the challenges faced by members of the audience.

Cathy has more than 25 years’ experience as a small business owner. As such, she led major change initiatives for Chevron Chemical Company and the USDA’s National Finance Center. John Ortego, the center’s Director, said Cathy’s work “… has been a factor in creating a unified, productive,and positive workforce and atmosphere.” He also said that it was the “best diversity training he ever attended.” After major improvements inequity, performance and morale at the National Finance Center, officials in Washington, DC took notice and commissioned Cathy to train USDAmanagers and supervisors in the DC area. She facilitated Train-the-Trainer and other diversity and inclusion workshops for Louisiana State BarAssociation (LSBA) for five consecutive years and was a panelist on the Criminal Law Session at the LSBA’s 2015 Annual Diversity Conclave.

HONORS

Cathy has received the New Orleans Peace Foundation’s 1996 Peacemaker Award. She also was given the George Washington Medal of Honor from the Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge along with Dr. Stephen Ambrose, creator of Saving Private Ryan and the hit HBO mini-series Band ofBrothers.Cathy is featured as one of 10 Top Female Achievers in the July 2008 issue of New Orleans Magazine and was recognized in Ebony Magazine for outstanding community service.

An overview of her challenges and triumphs is captured in the book, Discovering Your Inner Strength, along with Steven Covey, Ken Blanchard and others.

COMMUNITY SERVICE

Cathy is co-founder (along with Sally-Ann Roberts) and past president of Each One Save One, a mentoring organization for New Orleans’ schools. She also serves on executive committee of the Horizon Initiative, an organization committed to bring new business to New Orleans and retain and grow existing businesses.Cathy is past president of the National Speakers Association/New Orleans Chapter.She is a six-year member of the Diversity Professional Experts Group of the National Speakers Association.

Harris is past president of the National Speakers Association/New Orleans Chapter.

The impact of the workshops has also paid off in the long term. There are fewer situations which escalate to a formal grievance. We believe that this is due, in large part, to the communication skills that you and your associates teach.”  Judy Welcker,  Training Officer,   USDA/National Finance Center