Catherine Smith, JD

Partner, Engagement & Communications

Cathy, the firm’s co-founder, is an award-winning professional whose expertise in public involvement, marketing, journalism, and mediation provides enormous value to her clients. She is one of only seven professionals in the country to be certified as a Public Participation Professional by the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2). This expertise enables her to design stakeholder engagement and communications plans and programs that result in positive outcomes for our clients. Additionally, her legal and journalism background enable her to lead our team to interpret complex public-policy decisions into language and messaging that a variety of stakeholders can understand and that engages them in ways that are productive and meaningful.

Cathy and her team have made large and lasting contributions to San Diego’s quality of life with their work on numerous projects in the sectors of transportation, land use, education, health, water, and energy. She leads our team to craft resonant messaging, build strong strategic partnerships and work tirelessly to make sure all services are technically accurate, legally supported and sensitive to political and community concerns.

She provides our clients with added value through her memberships in a variety of organizations and committees, including: the International Association for Public Participation; the San Diego Chapter of WTS; the San Diego County Water Authority’s Citizens Water Academy; the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Water/Energy Committee; and the Association of Women in Water, Energy and Environment.

She has a B.A. in English from University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Education and Professional Certifications

  • Juris Doctorate, 1997
    University of San Diego, School of Law
  • B.A. English, 1989
    University of California, Berkeley
  • Certified Public Participation Professional
    International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), 2018

Professional Organizations

  • International Association for Public Participation, Board Member
  • Women in Transportation Seminar, Member
  • San Diego Press Club, Member
  • YMCA Mission Valley, International Committee