5 Questions with Catherine Gray
“One of the privileges of doing this work is that I have the opportunity to parachute into many industries and companies all over the world … I am always struck by the power of human dynamics to shape the outcome of business efforts.”
Catherine has worked as a strategy consultant over the past 15 years and specializes in aligning teams behind a vision and purpose. She has assisted numerous Fortune 100 leaders develop compelling visions for their organizations and built the implementation plans around them that will ensure success. We sat down with Catherine to learn more about her expertise, the outcomes she hopes to achieve with her clients and how growing up in Hawaii can lead to some revealing business insights about an organization’s culture and people.
How did your partnership with Trium come about?
My partnership with Trium started over ten years ago. At that time I was Executive Director of a leading sustainability consulting group called The Natural Step, working with CEOs and the senior teams of some of the largest Fortune 100 companies. Early in our work, I realized it would be critical to find a strategy, leadership and culture partner to make our work successful. I chose The Trium Group because of their unique leadership and strategy offering. For a number of years we worked together in the heart of some of the world’s largest manufacturers, retailers and service organizations. Through this experience I learned the Trium approach and had the pleasure of working with Andrew Blum and his founding partners.
What are you most excited about in your work at Trium?
I am most excited about the possibility of taking my life work to a whole new level. For more than twenty years I have supported leadership teams and individuals to articulate and connect with the meaning behind their work and build aligned and effective strategies to execute on their visions and goals. In that sense, my life’s work has always been in-step with the work of Trium, so it’s a natural fit. In the coming months and years ahead, I hope to collectively deepen my offerings with Trium and bring them to the world of business and beyond.
Over the course of your career you have worked across industries and partnered with a number of organizations and seen a lot of what is right and wrong with business. Based on these experiences, is there a problem you see in the business world that you’d like to solve?
One of the privileges of doing this work is that I have the opportunity to parachute into many industries and companies all over the world. No matter which industry I am in, or the complexity of the challenge, I am always struck by the power of human dynamics to shape the outcome of business efforts. In most companies, this is considered the “soft stuff” of business. Perhaps a day a year is dedicated to team building and core values are articulated and given to employees. This is simply not enough. The quality of the day-to-day interactions, communications and decision making of a team is the soil in which all business initiatives grow. If that soil is not nourishing, or worse – toxic, nothing will grow in a healthy or rapid way. Teams and companies that understand this and make it a priority are the teams that I have seen succeed in unexpected and extraordinary ways. To me this is the greatest challenge most businesses face, and one that Trium is especially skilled in solving.
Other than your family, what’s your proudest achievement to date?
My proudest achievement to date is not so much about the things that I have built, published, or been acknowledged for but more about the people I have touched. Some of my conversations with leaders around transition and transformation have resulted in fundamental changes to their organizations, affected thousands of people and unleashed new possibilities in the world that have had a tremendous, positive impact on the planet. I am honored to be a part of these conversations.
Finally, what might surprise people about you?
I grew up in the Hawaiian Islands. While I have spent my life in the halls of business, I am most comfortable barefooted, running around the lava tide pools after my son, working in our pastures on Maui or jumping into fresh water pools in the mountains near my home. This is where I go to restore myself and feel connected to my roots. Growing up on an island I saw the incredible positive and negative impact business can have on a place and people. It is what initially propelled me into learning more about business and wanting to make a difference in how we work together to bring the world products and services. Besides this realization, growing up in Hawaii also gave me the ability to surf on a long board, dance the hula and make a mean Mai Tai.