Cathy Riggall, vice-president (business affairs)
Cathy Riggall is the University of Toronto's vice-president of business affairs.
1. Can you tell me a little bit about your experience as volunteer president of the YWCA and howthat position informed how you do your current job here at U of T?
As president of YWCA Toronto I had the pleasure of presiding over a period of rapid growth in the organization. The downside, of course, is that YWCA services grow because there is more need in the community for help. As the largest multi-service agency dealing with issues facing women and girls, the YW plays a critical role in improving life in our city. In addition to increasing program support, we also built a new 62-unit apartment building for single women and their families and commenced the project to build another 300-unit building. This is the largest social housing project in the city in many years.
I have been surprised to note the similarities between my day job and my volunteer jobs. Both organizations are not for profit, so there are accounting issues that are the same. Both have been involved in major capital construction and fundraising programs. In many senses the YWCA was a miniature version of the university.
2. Can you tell me about your current involvement with theYWCA?
I have involvement on a number of levels. I have just finished a two-year stint as co-chair of the Women of Distinction Awards Dinner, the largest fundraising project of the YWCA. Now I am on the campaign team to raise $15 million for the new apartment building -- which, by the way, will be across the street from the Faculty of Dentistry. I am also a member of the board of YWCA Canada -- the co-ordinating body for the associations across Canada and the link with theWorld YWCA.
3. Do you prefer Catherine or Cathy?
Cathy -- I always think people are angry when they call me Catherine since that's what happened when I was a kid!
4. What are you reading right now?
I am in the middle of a science fiction novel called The Algebraist. I have also been dipping into George Carlin's "When will Jesus bring the pork chops?" and Trollope's Barchester Chronicles.
5. One change you'd like to see on campus?
I wish we had the money to move all the parking on the front campus underground and turn the road into a pedestrian-friendly zone.
6. Describe one personal item you have in your office.
I have a poster of Nellie McClung with the quote "Never retreat, never explain, never apologize -- get the thing done and let them howl."
7. Who do you admire most (besides family members)?
I admire the people who work directly with the people most in need in our society. They constantly amaze me. I don't think I could do it because I am too impatient and too selfish, so I do volunteer work and raise money to help them get on with the job.
8. Favourite thing to do in Toronto?
Walking through new neighbourhoods and criticizing other people's design and landscaping choices.
9. Favourite place to vacation?
I love England, especially London as there is no end of things to do. But, I just got back from Iceland which I thought was great and plan to go back to see the rest of the country.
10. Do you have a favourite "U of T moment"?
Walking home after an official dinner and realizing that this was the first time I had been to a dinner party with two Noble Prize winners.
Compiled by Tammy Thorne