Cat RabenstineCatherine has more than 15 years of experience working with nonprofits. She is the Chief Operating Officer of the American Red Cross of Illinois, the second largest region of the American Red Cross that serves over 12.4 million people in 88 counties across Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri through a network of six chapters. As COO, Cat is responsible for business operations including expense management, real estate operations and strategic planning. She manages an impressive nine-person operations team that runs the regional fleet and facilities, purchasing, work order management and tracking, and vendors. Cat is the staff chair of the DE&I Board Committee and the Biomedical Services Board Committee for the Greater Chicago Board of Directors.

Cat is the Board Treasurer for Public Narrative (formerly Community Media Workshop). She is a member of the COO Forum and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

In her previous role at the Red Cross as Regional Marketing Programs Manager, she told the story of those touched by the Red Cross through videography, writing, in online platforms and through the media.

Prior to working at the Red Cross, Cat was the Communications Associate at Kinship Foundation, where she worked with the environmental conservation initiative. She implemented marketing and communication strategies and was the community manager of Kinship Conservation Fellows, a global community of more than 200 conservationists. She coordinated the Chapters and Affinity Groups, set-up the Kinship Webinar Series, and managed social media. She also designed Foundation-generated reports, hard copy collateral, event pamphlets, infographics, and web ads.

In 2015 Catherine was selected as one of 15 participants in the 2015 YNPN Leadership Institute, a 10-month intensive program with a culminating capstone project that focuses on advancing the capacity of mid-career nonprofit professionals to lead teams, oversee projects, and contribute to overall organizational growth.

From 2010 through 2011, Catherine lived in the West Bank, Palestine for a year, where she taught various journalism courses in Nablus (An-Najah University), Bethlehem, and Hebron; assisted communities to tell their story digitally; and worked with a local non-profit on their social media strategy. Her articles were published in Medill Reports, the Northwest Indiana TimesMondoweissThe Mennonite and various village websites in the Middle East. Catherine created Without A Map for stories from the West Bank.

Catherine completed her Master’s of Science at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism in May 2010, concentrating in Interactive Publishing and Business Reporting. As a Bankruptcy Court beat reporter for the Medill News Service, she wrote features, profiles, earnings reports and economic indicator articles all with accompanying multimedia. In her final quarter at Medill, she was honored to be the Editor-in-Chief of the Medill Innovation Project. The innovation project team re-visioned StreetWise from top to bottom. The group started by re-thinking the organization’s mission and vision. They produced a refreshed magazine layout, an interactive website and a social media strategy for Streetwise.

From 2007 to 2009, Catherine worked at The Cara Program, a workforce development agency that helps motivated adults break the cycle of homelessness. (Cara does incredible work in Chicago! Learn more and donate to Cara here.)  At Cara, Catherine taught courses, rewrote the student resume creation curriculum and expanded and organized a large base of volunteers as the Career Resource Manager. It was hearing the incredible stories of Cara students, who taught her the power of vulnerability and the impact of storytelling, that inspired Catherine to go to journalism school.

Catherine’s first three years after completing her undergrad degree were spent abroad. She volunteered in India for a year in Mavelikara, Kerala. She taught spoken English wherever requested, edited articles for a local educational group, blogged about the experience for her community in the US, and played tag with the neighborhood kids. Prior to that volunteer year, Catherine started her nonprofit career at a university study abroad program in Rome, Italy for two years, where she helped to coordinate the Study Trips program and the newly launched Service Learning program at the John Felice Rome Center.  She also interned at the Jesuit Refugee Service International Office and McDermott Will & Emery Law Firm.

Click here to email Cat!