While serving as the Director of Human Resources for a nonprofit organization, Catherine found herself working with a bully. Fascinated by the fact that no one ever stood up to this person, and that the Executive Director wouldn’t dare address the bullying behavior, Catherine decided to write a paper on toxic leadership for one of her grad school classes. It was then that she discovered the phrase “workplace bullying” and that there were 30 years of academic research on the topic. Thrilled to learn she wasn’t the only one experiencing this issue, Catherine spent the rest of grad school focused on workplace bullying. Her Master’s Thesis was even on the topic, and she dedicated her 130 page paper to “The Post-It Nazi,” which is what the office called the bully.
Since then, Catherine has been working with organizations to assist them in building systemic action plans to end workplace bullying and replace it with a positive workplace culture.
Her firm, Civility Partners, has worked with such clients as Chevron, Embraer Executive Jets, the American Red Cross, the U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot, the Office of Civilian Human Resources at the U.S. Navy, Kaiser Permanente, O’Connor Hospital, Coachella Valley Mosquito & Vector Control, UC Irvine, UC Riverside, University of San Diego, San Diego State, Inland Regional Center, and a variety of other universities, hospitals, government agencies, non-profit organizations, and private businesses in a variety of industries.
Catherine has presented her research and training programs both nationally and internationally. She has made several appearances on news stations around the country, including FOX, NBC, ABC, and Al Jazeera, and she has been cited in such media outlets as MSNBC, Inc Magazine, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, and USA Today. She is co-author of the book, BACK OFF! Your Kick-A** Guide to Ending Bullying at Work, with a foreword by Ken Blanchard, who called it, “the most comprehensive and valuable handbook on the topic.” Catherine has also published articles in a wide variety of industry trade magazines including human resources, leadership, safety, personal development, employee assistance, and others.
Catherine played an important role in Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez’s California AB 2053, the law that requires sexual harassment trainers to mention “abusive conduct” during their mandatory training. Catherine provided training materials corresponding to the proposed legislation so that Gonzalez could demonstrate the outcome of her proposed legislation to the Assembly. The law was passed and made effective Jan 1, 2015. Further, Catherine’s template Healthy Workplace Policy was a cornerstone for the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations’ (TACIR) template anti-bully policy, drafted as required by Tennessee’s Healthy Workplace Bill, also effective 2015.
Catherine is Past-President of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), San Diego Chapter, and is active in the International Association for Workplace Bullying & Harassment (IAWBH). She is also one of the four founding members of the National Workplace Bullying Coalition, a nonprofit organization focused on ending workplace bullying through education, conversation and legislation.
Catherine is an adjunct professor at National University, and received her Bachelors and Masters degrees in communication from San Diego State University.