Home > Leadership Reimagined > Episode 14: Cathy Engelbert

Episode 14: Cathy Engelbert

A Game-Changing Win at the WNBA

Janice Ellig, CEO and founder of Ellig Group, sits down with real leaders in this series of game-changing conversations, bespoke to fellow champions of change. Heralded by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of “The World’s Most Influential Headhunters,” Janice is often consulted for her expertise and her commitment to gender parity, inclusion, and diversity.

Episode 14: “A Game-Changing Win at the WNBA”

Cathy Engelbert is the first Commissioner at the WNBA, and former first female Chief Executive of a Big Four firm as Chief Executive Officer at Deloitte, where she dedicated her career for 33 years.

Having spent her entire career in professional services, driving growth and profitability for client companies, Cathy left behind an unbeatable legacy, most notably as an advocate for and supporter of women in the workplace. Cathy’s business expertise and personal intentions brought her to a new career as the first Commissioner in the history of the WNBA. Endorsed by Adam Silver, the Commissioner of the NBA in a recent statement, “Cathy is a world class business leader with a deep connection to women’s basketball which makes her the ideal person to lead the WNBA into its next phase of growth.”

Episode 14: Cathy Engelbert

As leaders think about pushing towards a carefully constructed people first agenda, Cathy shares in her commitment “big business is about relationships…you must support the lifecycle of an employee, as your people really are your R&D and how you should be investing.”

In recent news and under Cathy’s leadership, the WNBA negotiated a landmark contract, a historic moment being in that for the first-time players would be given a compensation level and other benefits that better reflect the demands of the job. This is a game-changing win at the WNBA!

 Although pioneering many firsts, Cathy modestly shares her perspective on the importance of normalizing progression in diversity and inclusion “…moving that novelty of women firsts to the norm has always been part of my goal. It is really important we make progress and we not be comfortable with that progress — we keep going, and women keep raising their hand and building their capability.”

As credited by the Wall Street Journal as “cracking the proverbial glass ceiling,” it is an honor to share Cathy’s insights and thoughtful leadership on another game-changing episode of Leadership Reimagined – A Game-Changing Win at the WNBA.

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Janice Reals Ellig

Chief Executive Officer

As the head of the Ellig Group, Janice is dedicated to increasing the placement of women and diverse candidates on corporate boards and in C-suites by 2025. Janice joined the legacy firm in 2000 and became Co-Chief Executive Officer in its transition to Chadick Ellig in 2007; she assumed sole ownership of the company as the Ellig Group in 2017 with a new focus on Reimagining Search. Prior to her career in executive search, Janice spent 20 years in corporate America at Pfizer, Citi and Ambac Financial Group, an IPO from Citibank, where she was responsible for Marketing, Human Resources, and Administration.

Heralded by Bloomberg Businessweek as one of “The World’s Most Influential Headhunters,” Janice is often consulted for her expertise and her commitment to gender parity, inclusion, and diversity. She frequently appears at speaking engagements and as a media guest, and she has penned multiple articles for outlets such as Directors & Boards, Directorship, Corporate Director, The Huffington Post, and Forbes.com. Janice also co-authored two books: Driving The Career Highway and What Every Successful Woman Knows, acknowledged by Bloomberg Businessweek as “the best of its genre.”

A tirelessly active member of the industry and champion of her causes, Janice is Founder of the Women’s Forum of New York’s Corporate Board Initiative and its signature event, Breakfast of Corporate Champions. Since 2011, Janice continues to spearhead this event to honor companies committed to board diversity and to encourage CEOs to sponsor board-ready women for the Women’s Forum database. (LINK: www.womensforumny.org).

Janice is personally committed to several NFP organizations: Board Director of the National YMCA and Past Chair of the YMCA Board of Greater New York; Trustee of the Actors Fund and Committee For Economic Development (CED); Incoming Chair, University of Iowa Foundation; Women’s Forum of New York Past President and Chair of the Corporate Board Initiative; member of the Steering Committee, US 30% Club and The Economic Club of New York.

In recognition for her many philanthropic activities, Janice received the University of Iowa Distinguished Alumni Award in 2011 and the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC) Eleanor Raynolds Award for Volunteerism in 2008. Named one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews, she was also a recipient of the Channel 21 Award In Excellence for her contribution to “Excellence in the Economic Development for Women.”

“Listening to our clients’ needs, learning their business and understanding their culture is how we present the best talent and provide  a competitive advantage. We place candidates with the character, competencies, commitment, (intellectual) curiosity and courage to make a difference. Our goal is always to go beyond the expected and deliver valuable advice, measurable results and great talent!”

– Janice Reals Ellig

  • Champion of gender parity, diversity, and inclusion
  • Industry expert, speaker, and author
  • Founder of the Women’s Forum of New York’s Corporate Board Initiative
  • Committed board and committee member and philanthropist

T: (212) 688-8671 ext. 226
E: Janice@ElligGroup.com