I have tried to translate Cathy's story as she told it to me. I have also tried to maintain her sense of humor, I can only hope I have succeeded. (Jocelyn Bradley)
Cathy was born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario. She began her studies at the University of Waterloo in the science program. As a co-op student, Cathy worked at an observatory, which influenced her decision to major in Astronomy with a minor in Physics. Cathy furthered her education by attending the Teachers College at the University of Toronto. After graduating she taught math in Hamilton and Mississauga for two years. She enjoyed teaching but was less fond of the other responsibilities (i.e., chasing down students smoking in the washrooms, etc.) So when her husband in 1979, was transferred to Calgary, she began her career in geophysics.
Cathy was hired by Amoco (at a time when "anyone who knew what a double integral was could be a geophysicist") where she worked for the next five years. A memorable event was her preparation for her first presentation to the president of Amoco. She was a member of an all female team consisting of; geologist and landman (which she said looking back was a milestone in itself). The presentation, after a lot of time and effort, was prepared. A new suit was purchased. Then the National Energy Plan was introduced and the next day's presentation was cancelled as well as most of Amoco's exploration budget. Cathy enjoyed her stay at Amoco and credits her mentors for allowing her to learn through her mistakes as well as her successes, especially Norm Cooper, Rocque Goh, and Art McLean.
In 1984 Cathy left Amoco, a company which had at one time, eighty-five geophysicists, to go to Merland, a company with two. She soon discovered how insular her life at Amoco had been, (i.e., she was surprised to learn that there were land sales every two weeks). At Merland she discovered personal computers and has been hooked ever since. She was pleased to have been part of the beta testing for 10gM and one of the original participants in the development of HampsonRussel's AVO program. Merland was later purchased by North Canadian Oil. After leaving North Canadian Oil at the time of the Noreen merger, Cathy consulted for a couple of long term contracts, before starting at Chancellor, which was later bought by HCO Energy, which has been bought by Pinnacle Resources (and so on).
Cathy comes from a talented family of four kids. Her father is a jazz pianist and participated in amateur theatre in Hamilton so she comes by her performing talents naturally (she said, "I have always been a bit of a ham"). She participated in choir and band through high school and university. She can sing, dance and play several musical instruments (flute, piano, and guitar) as well as act.
Cathy met her current husband of eight years through her amateur acting career, as he was the producer of the first play she did with "Theatre 80", a local community theatre group (she says no "casting couch" was involved with her audition). Cathy now sings with a small female choir, which performs at the University theatre and the Banff Centre. She says her favorite solo is the "Monotone Angel" where she gets to sing off key, but redeems herself in the end. Given her talents it is understandable that her favorite pastime is singing and playing the piano. (She has two cats that yowl when she sings, she's not sure what that means, but they yowl at K.D. Lang and Celine Dion recordings as well, so she thinks it's a good sign.) When she is not engaged in any of these pursuits, Cathy finds time to surf the net, volunteer for the SPCA, sail and cycle. She was also the treasurer for the CSEG last year.
What does she like best about what she is doing now? The excitement of a very active drilling schedule and seeing how close to your predictions you actually are. Also, this career allows her to combine her artistic and scientific talents. She enjoys the creativity of interpretation and the "acting" and "tap-dancing" involved in presentations.
What does she find to be the best change that she has seen since starting in the industry? The change in attitudes of the "good ol' boys", from patronizing to tolerating to actually accepting female professionals as a normal part of the business scene.
What are her plans for the future? Cutting back on her work schedule so she can devote more time to travelling with her husband and to her singing and acting.