Leadership Wisconsin Group XVII Fellow Feature
My name is Catherine Egger and I am a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty, Inc in my hometown of Manitowoc where I work and live with my 18-year-old son, Cole. I attended Baylor University and received a bachelor’s degree in International Relations with a journalism concentration from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. While at UW-Madison, I was the Cross-Cultures Chair for the Wisconsin Union Directorate where I organized events for campus.
To prepare for a job in international development, I went on a six-month solo travel tour through India and Nepal where I visited development projects and did home stays. As amazing as this trip was, I think the thing that amazes me now is that I planned and executed my trip without the internet!
Upon my return, I moved to Washington D.C. where I worked for nonprofit organizations in the areas of government affairs, media relations and event planning. I had a dramatic life shift when I left D.C. to join my boyfriend as a union carpenter along the Oregon Coast. After we married, we moved back to my hometown of Manitowoc to raise our family.
I then decided to try real estate and found it to be a great fit. Being a Realtor has introduced me to many wonderful people and given me the opportunity to continue learning and helping others. Now, I truly have embraced a more holistic sense of community—from knowing your neighbors, to singing in a church choir, to being a Girl Scout leader, to being involved in community organizations.
I recently joined the board of Hope House, the local homeless shelter, and will be serving as a director on our local board of Realtors. Past involvements include serving on the board of the Girl Scouts of Manitou Council and Mainly Manitowoc, and being a co-chair for the 2016 United Way campaign. I have also been involved in several local theater productions. In fact, I am currently partnering to re-open a historic dinner theater. We are creating a new nonprofit to govern the theater and I will be directing the music and cultural events. I am excited about all the opportunities this will bring to enhance the cultural offerings in our area and am looking forward to implementing sustainable business practices.
I have a passionate interest in environmental issues. Working with waterfront properties along Lake Michigan has given me an opportunity to learn about the problems facing the Great Lakes, which includes water issues in general. I am also very interested in the intersection between development, agriculture and environmental protection and find that my varied background has given me the opportunity to see these issues from many vantage points.
I strive to help enrich people’s lives by bettering their circumstances or introducing them to something new. This might be as simple as sharing a beautiful moment I captured in a photograph, or as complex such as putting on a cultural event to expose them to a something new.
Leadership Wisconsin has given me the opportunity to understand myself and others and how we can be most effective, given our varied personalities and working styles, to create positive change together. Our state and federal seminars were very useful for understanding the complexity of creating legislative change. Working on leadership skills through the lens of community issues has also given me a better understanding of the complexity of the problems facing society—both in my community and across our state and country.
While this has been a year full of great experiences with Leadership Wisconsin and the excitement of the new dinner theater venture, it has also been the hardest year of my life. I lost my 24-year-old daughter, Sydney, in July 2016. I carry on and move forward as I know she would want me to and to honor her beautiful spirit. I would be remiss if I didn’t say how grateful I’ve been to the other Leadership Wisconsin fellows and the staff for all of their kindness and support during this time.
Assist Catherine’s Leadership Journey by becoming a Tuition Sponsor. Contact Leadership Wisconsin at 608-263-0817.