SEATTLE (PRWEB) April 25, 2014
Leaders at outdoor retailer REI joined the chorus of praise and congratulations last night for Catherine Walker, the co-op’s senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, as she received the “Corporate Counsel of the Year” award for a private company of more than 10,000 employees. Sponsored by Puget Sound Business Journal, the award honors the region’s top in-house counsel.
Walker was nominated anonymously by a colleague outside of REI, and her co-workers were quick to echo the qualities that make her a talented attorney and trusted advisor. They noted she is fair and balanced in all facets of her life, filled with integrity, strikingly intelligent, eminently professional, generous with her time and talent, and a servant leader within the entire REI organization.
Jerry Stritzke, REI’s president and CEO said, “Catherine brings an impressive mix of wisdom, business acumen and courage to every aspect of running REI. Her passion for the outdoors and commitment to the values and principles of REI and the co-op insure that we walk the talk of delivering performance with integrity.”
“Catherine is a leader who models the way. She is a wise advisor, mentor to others, and a savvy business leader. She ensures as a company we operate with the highest of standards in our business ethics and practices,” added Michelle Clements, REI’s senior vice president of Human Resources.
Walker’s contributions to the legal profession go well beyond her work at REI. She was a co-founder and former president of the Northwest Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). She also serves as a founding director of a small non-profit, Plymouth Healing Communities (PHC), which provides housing and supportive services to persons who suffer with mental illness and were previously homeless. She served as the president of PHC for six years.
She began serving on the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) board of directors in 2014. The OIA is the leading trade association and voice of the outdoor recreation industry, serving more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the active outdoor lifestyle. A reflection of her commitment to her community and civic involvement, for nine years she served as a Commissioner on the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, appointed by the then-Mayor of Seattle and re-appointed twice. During her tenure on that Commission, she served two terms as the chair. She also headed the Personnel Committee.
REI is a $2 billion national multichannel retail co-op headquartered outside of Seattle. With more than 5.3 million active members, REI serves the needs of outdoor adventurers through innovative, quality products; inspiring classes and trips; and integrated customer service that allows shoppers to buy great gear and clothing in any way they want. REI has 132 stores in 33 states, as well as REI.com and REI.com/outlet. Anyone may shop with REI, while members pay a one-time $20 fee to receive a share in the company’s profits through an annual patronage refund. Membership in the co-op also includes special promotions and discounts on REI Adventures trips and REI Outdoor School classes.