Principal Client Service Executive, Corporate Strategy
Catherine Whitwer, M.B.A., is President and founder of CoNavigant Enterprises, Ltd. Prior to forming CoNavigant in 2000, she served as Executive Vice President of Business Acceleration Services for Alitum, Inc. Her business history, spanning over twenty years, includes twelve years as a management consultant providing business advisory services to companies experiencing the acute challenges of growth.
Her work has been particularly effective in emerging growth and turnaround situations, implementing needed change and structuring critical alliances. Industries served by Catherine include software, health care, financial services, manufacturing, engineering services, biotechnology, and others.
Catherine’s board-level activities include serving as a member of the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee for Alitum, as a member of the Board of Directors of the M.I.T. Enterprise Forum, and as an advisory board member for various San Diego companies. She has been honored as a finalist for the Entrepreneur of the Year award sponsored by Ernst&Young and NASDAQ.
Before joining Alitum (formerly RCG Management) in 1995, Catherine served as an advisor to clients including Mycogen Corporation, Doctor Design, Inc. (where she served as C.F.O. for two years), Grubb and Ellis, Young Minds, Inc., Alexis Biochemicals, and Blanchard Training and Development, among others. In 1987, she developed a Strategic Assessment process used in a number of turnaround and profit enhancement engagements resulting in measurable improvements in clients’ bottom-line performance. Prior to 1987, she held senior management and officer positions with E. F. Hutton and Company and Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation.
Catherine holds a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of San Diego, and a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Applied Mathematics, San Diego State University. She has been awarded the Certified Management Consultant (“C.M.C.”) designation by the Institute of Management Consultants, New York.
Over the past several years, her activities have included serving as a member of the executive committee for the M.I.T. Enterprise Forum as well as co-chair, panelist search committee, she has served as a member of the Fee Arbitration Committee of the San Diego County Bar Association, as well as several other corporate and not-for-profit boards of directors. She has served as speaker and moderator for several organizations including the San Diego Venture Group, the M.I.T. Enterprise Forum, and the San Diego Software Industry Council.
2000 – Present CoNavigant Enterprises, Ltd., British Columbia, Canada.
Led business advisory practice focused on assisting high growth companies to establish strategic direction and leverage resources. Led offsite strategic planning sessions for executive leadership. Helped companies in the deployment of new tactics, including internet technologies, to position them for growth.
2001 – 2007 Upcoast Summers, British Columbia, Canada
Acquired seasonal retail and food service business in Refuge Cove, BC., tripling revenues in first years of ownership. Now leased to independent operator.
1995 to 2000: Executive Vice President, Alitum, Inc., a premier San Diego management consulting firm.
Revenues of this thirteen-year-old firm quadrupled in the first 3 years of Catherine’s tenure. Strategic activities included expanding the nature of services provided to include a strategic, senior executive function, and implementing a policy of people first, building on the value of the Alitum proven management methods with new professional staff selection criteria and processes. In 1999 and 2000, after writing Alitum’s business plan leading to the company’s first institutional venture investment, she led development of a corporate portal incorporating the knowledge of Alitum’s professional consulting staff, hosted applications including enterprise and knowledge management solutions, and an executive dashboard view of corporate performance. Catherine served as Alitum’s interim CEO for 9 months during 1999, during which the company transitioned from a loss position to profitability by the third quarter.
1993 to 1995: Principal, Catherine Gauthier and Associates, a San Diego management consulting firm.
Engagements included turnaround consulting for a Southern California software company, resulting in increasingly profitable revenue growth from $4 mm to $12 mm, and completing a strategic acquisition for Mycogen Corporation.
1991 to 1993: Chief Financial Officer, Doctor Design, Inc., a San Diego engineering design firm.
This assignment began as a strategic planning and turnaround consulting project on behalf of Catherine Gauthier and Associates, culminating in successful profitable growth by the end of 1993 and leading to the eventual profitable sale of the company. During her tenure as Chief Financial Officer, Ms. Gauthier restructured the capital base of the company and negotiated key supplier agreements enabling fulfillment of high-revenue contracts without additional equity or debt financing.
1987 to 1993: Principal, Catherine Gauthier and Associates, a San Diego management consulting firm.
Providing strategic planning and advisory services to clients including Grubb and Ellis, El Pollo Loco, Blanchard Training and Development, and Doctor Design. Built consulting practice of five professional staff and developed an effective process for improving corporate performance.
1986 to 1987: Assistant Vice President, Internal Audit, E.F.Hutton and Company, Western Region.
Reported to Executive Vice President, Internal Audit, E.F. Hutton in New York. Recruited during the aftermath of the company’s wire and mail fraud convictions to lead the technology and operations components of western region internal audits, successfully restructuring several business units and eliminating sources of fraud. Assisted in the divestiture of the E.F.Hutton Life Insurance Company to First Capital Holdings.
1983 to 1986: Director, Systems and Programming, for Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation. During her tenure, she shifted the focus of information technology from an exclusive accounting emphasis to include a clinical emphasis, introducing clinical information retrieval facilities for physician groups within the clinic. In addition, she led task forces including executive, physician, nurse, and administrative members for the implementation of the Green Hospital DRG management programs (software component of which was subsequently leased by HCA under a multi-million dollar contract spanning several years), and the implementation of the first managed care programs at Scripps Clinic.
Master of Business Administration, University of San Diego. Beta Gamma Sigma.
Bachelor of Arts, Applied Mathematics, San Diego State University.
Certified by The Institute of Management Consultants, New York (inactive).
M.I.T. Enterprise Forum: member, board of directors.
San Diego County Bar Association: Fee Arbitrator.
Various other board member and speaking engagements.
Completed U.S. Coast Guard Captain training and qualifying exams