Five Minutes With Cathy Woods-King
Welcome to Five Minutes With, where we take a few moments to better get to know the staff. Today we’d like to introduce Cathy Woods-King, J.D., General Counsel; Director of Grants, Contracts and Legal Affairs.
What work do you do at CASAColumbia?
As CASAColumbia’s in-house general counsel, my job is to make sure we are compliant with all the laws and regulations that govern our work and to provide advice on legal matters. I am also the Director of Grants, Contracts, and Legal Affairs and assist with the coordination of our Institutional Review Board for all our research projects. A big part of my day is creating and reviewing the terms of CASAColumbia’s agreements with various companies and organizations. This means I get to work with just about everyone in the organization, which is a great bonus! In working across different teams, I translate the law into user-friendly guidance so that teams can spot issues arising in their work that might need my attention.
What inspired you to start doing this work? What do you love most about your job?
I was a corporate tax lawyer for 17 years and really loved it. I think the complexity and the level of detail — the Internal Revenue Code is a maze — are what drew me to that area of the law. (I was a chemistry major in college — again, complexity and detail.) But after taking a few years off, I decided I wanted to try something different and see a bigger picture. Going from structuring transactions to minimize taxes for a corporation paying them all around the world, to working for a non-profit tax-exempt company, is certainly different! And, going from being a subject matter specialist to a role where I field every type of legal question that comes in the door has been challenging. But because I love the practice of law, having to learn a little bit about a lot of different areas has been fun. And I like working for an organization that has such an important mission.
What has been the most exciting thing you’ve worked on during your time at CASAColumbia?
The most exciting thing I worked on was a transaction where I was the person charged with making the recommendation as to whether or not to pursue it. So I was involved in the business strategy and decision-making, not just the legal implementation. Having the opportunity to see the bigger picture was so exciting. Also, there were a lot of intellectual property issues involved, so I had to learn something about IP law, which seems to come up more and more in CASAColumbia’s projects.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I love to renovate houses. I love knocking down walls and figuring out how to put everything back together in a more functional way. I love tile and faucets and counter top materials. I even love the smell of raw wood! I’ve owned 3 houses and renovated each of them more than once. In fact, I am getting ready to start another. So I think I would be a house flipper.
What’s your favorite sports team?
I love football and was raised on the Dallas Cowboys (two brothers; no sisters). I grew up in Upstate New York — not Texas. But it was the 70s and they were “America’s Team.” I still have my Roger Staubach poster hanging in the basement! (Too bad Tony Romo is no Roger Staubach.) But if they are not playing my Cowboys, as a New Yorker, I do root for the Giants.