March 2, 2011 – New York

WEDO’s New Leadership

Cate Owren, Executive Director

The international Board of Directors of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) is delighted to announce today the appointment of Ms. Cate Owren as its Executive Director.  Her leadership brings a dynamic combination of practical management skills, innovative thinking and ambitious goals to the organization.

Cate has been working with WEDO on gender and sustainable development issues since 2007 and has served as Program Director for the last fourteen months, proving she is effective in leading a driven and technically skilled staff.

“By promoting from within the organization, the Board is exemplifying various principles which are backbones to the mission of WEDO, particularly empowering and fostering young women’s leadership in sustainable development, says Lorena Aguilar, WEDO Board member and Senior Global Gender Advisor of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

A native of the U.S. but with work experience in West Africa and the Caribbean, Cate combines her knowledge of working toward women’s empowerment, women’s human rights and gender equality with her lifelong activism on environmental issues. “I’ve found a natural home at WEDO,” Cate has said. “WEDO turns passion into practice – and is one of few international women’s organizations to focus on these links between women, environment and development in a progressive, positive and action-oriented way.” Teamwork, open communication and collective power for change are values Cate champions in her work.

Originally trained in theater, Cate’s 10+ years of professional performance and producing credits in New York and Europe bring a unique perspective and creativity to organizing women’s advocacy. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Theater and English Literature and a Master’s degree in Socioeconomic Development – each with concentrations in women’s studies.

Cate will lead her team – based in New York, Costa Rica and Togo – into its 2011-2015 strategic planning period. Capitalizing on its collective youth and energy, WEDO staff will be focusing their efforts on issues critical for women, gender equality and sustainability in the 21st century. Climate change, global governance and finance, and preparations toward Rio+20 (the UN Conference on Sustainable Development) will all take center stage on their agenda.

As WEDO celebrates its twentieth anniversary this year, the WEDO Board is confident and proud of the new directions in which WEDO is moving, supporting governments in turning their commitments on gender equality and sustainable development into practice, while continuing to carve out spaces for women’s voices from all over the world to be heard and valued.

An open-house reception will be organized in New York in weeks to come for WEDO friends to get to know Cate and the staff better. Stay tuned – and feel free to be in touch in the meantime!

Further information:

Board contacts: Monique Essed-Fernandes (, incoming Chair,
and Irene Dankelman (, outgoing Chair
Executive Director: Cate Owren (

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