Cathy O’Connor is the President and CEO of the Alliance for Economic Development. Pretty much any exciting development in OKC has her fingerprints on it. An innovative problem solver who is excited about building the city she loves – Cathy has been a member of The Posse for over 7-years and a consulting client for more than five. Here is a bit of insight into what makes this cool person tick.
1. What is your business?
I run a not-for-profit economic and community development corporation.
2. Why did you decide to do the work you do?
I worked for the City for almost 30 years and I had handled all the economic development deals for the city since 2001. In 2011 the Alliance was created to find a more efficient, effective and focused way for the public sector to manage economic development and redevelopment projects.
3. What is your ideal customer?
A developer with experience, a great project and passion for their project.
4. What is it that your customers or clients really want?
My glib answer would be money. My more thoughtful answer is they want support for their projects, not just financial but political support and advice.
5. Which two organizations outside your own do you know the most people at and why?
The City because I worked there for 29 years and still work with them every day and the Chamber because I still work with them almost every day.
6. What is your MBTI?
7. What are you known for?
Deal making. Making difficult projects happen.
8. What do you love about what you do?
The challenge of finding solutions to difficult problems.
9. When you aren’t working, what are you likely to be doing?
10. What are you reading now?
The Lost City of Z and The Final Storm: a Novel of the War in the Pacific
11. What is the coolest app you are using?
12. Do you have a favorite “life hack?”
I don’t think so. I’m really good at multitasking so maybe that’s it.
13. What was your latest “Aha!” moment about?
Last week in Columbus we heard a couple presentations about how they have managed public projects. Definitely got some good take aways.
14. You’ve been with the Mettise group for a long time. What do you get from the relationship that you don’t get elsewhere?
As for the consulting, we’ve worked with larger firms and the process was bureaucratic and took longer than it should. We use the Mettise group for change management, strategic planning and accountability. From the Posse, I get a place where I can hear about all the remarkable things other people are doing and a safe place to talk about challenges.
15. What were you doing the last time you laughed your head off?
I’m sure it was doing something with my daughter. Maybe watching Charlene videos.
16. What was the worst job you ever had?
Working retail in college. Yuck.
17. If you could turn any activity into an Olympic sport, what would you have a good chance at winning medal for?
18. What do you consider your best find?
19. How do you relax after a hard day of work?
Cook, watch the food network. Drink wine.
20. If you were a crazy dictator on a small island nation, what dictator stuff would you do?
I would make everyone trade places with someone else one day a week. Nothing kinky but like do their job and deal with their family. And I would make everyone take 6 weeks of vacation at least half of it in another country.
21. When people come to you for help, what do they usually want help with?
Strategy, advice, money for their project.
22. What is worth spending more on to get the best?
Wine, horses, shoes.
23. What’s something you’ve been meaning to try but just haven’t gotten around to it?
Playing a complete round of golf. Not just going to the driving range.
24. What do you want your epitaph to be?
Never, never, never give up.
To hear more from Cathy and what is in store for OKC, join us Thursday, September 21, from 4:00pm -6:00pm at Totality. Cathy will be speaking on exciting developments for the city in the coming years!