In July of 2019, Cathy Engelbert was named the first-ever Commissioner of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), and is charged with bolstering visibility for the sport of women’s basketball, empowering the WNBA players, and enhancing fan engagement. Cathy retired as the CEO of Deloitte in June of 2019, after 33 years with the firm. Since Cathy stepped into the role of WNBA Commissioner, she has executed a historic player-first Collective Bargaining Agreement, built and socialized a new economic framework to drive league revenue and owner success, and led the league’s twelve franchises through the COVID-19 pandemic and a successful 2020 season.
Previously, as CEO of Deloitte, Engelbert was first woman ever to lead a Big Four professional services firm in the U.S. where she oversaw one of the largest professional services organizations with more than 100,000 professionals. Over the course of her tenure, she drove a large transformation across the business by moving the firm towards emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, robotics and cloud, including securing ecosystem partnerships with large technology companies, and executing digital acquisitions. Revenues grew more than 30 percent under Engelbert, and her people-first agenda included implementing a holistic well-being culture through programs like Deloitte’s 16-week family leave policy.
As a strong supporter of diversity and inclusion, Engelbert was the first woman to serve as chair of the Catalyst Board, a global non-profit organization that promotes inclusive workplaces for women and was the first woman chair of the Center for Audit Quality Governing Board. She was a founding member of the CEO Action for Diversity and Inclusion, is a Vice Chair of the Partnership for New York City and previously served as a member of the Business Roundtable, where she sat on the Education & Workforce and Immigration committees. Cathy currently sits on the McDonald’s Board of Directors (Audit Committee), the Royalty Pharma Board of Directors, and the USGA Executive Committee.
Engelbert was listed as one of Fortune’s Most Powerful Women for consecutive years. She is ranked on Glassdoor’s annual Employees’ Choice Awards honoring the 100 Highest-Rated CEOs, and among Crain’s 50 Most Powerful Women in New York. Engelbert has also been recognized as one of Working Mother magazine’s 50 Most Powerful Moms and one of Fast Company magazine’s Most Productive People.
Engelbert received a B.S. in accounting from Lehigh University and is a certified public accountant licensed in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. During her time at Lehigh, Engelbert was a member of the university’s basketball and lacrosse teams and
served as a senior captain for both teams. On the court, she played for former Lehigh coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Muffet McGraw. Engelbert’s father, Kurt, played for Naismith Hall of Fame coach Jack Ramsay at Saint Joseph’s University and was drafted in 1957 by the NBA’s Detroit Pistons.
Engelbert is married and has two children, Julia and Tommy.
Moderator: Shiz Suzuki, Vice President, Global Experiential Marketing & Partnerships, American Express