"I think a good citizen is someone who’s willing to roll up their sleeves and help. It’s easy to complain, but nothing changes unless you’re prepared to work at making things better."
Cathy Roozen is a recognized financial and business sector leader who has served the province through her work with the Allard Foundation, through her strong contributions to the University of Alberta and through the careful guidance she has offered to numerous community and health care organizations.
Catherine Mary Allard was born to Dr. Charles and Marguerite Allard on March 28, 1956. She was raised in Edmonton in a closely knit family that included four brothers, Cam, Chuck, Peter and Tony, and one sister, Judy. As a child, Cathy attended French immersion school and enjoyed opportunities to accompany Dr. Allard to his work at the hospital where she learned from his compassion and care for others. Sadly, Cathy lost her mother in 1974, which caused the teenager to quickly develop a maturity beyond her years.
When it came time to choose a career, Cathy knew that her future would be in business. She had clearly inherited the energy and business acumen that allowed her father to maintain a long and successful medical practice while developing extensive holdings in broadcasting, the energy sector, banking and other ventures. Cathy earned a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Alberta in 1977 and then went to work in the family-owned bank, North West Trust Company, parts of which were later purchased by Canadian Western Bank. She worked her way up from duties as a front line teller to responsibilities as Vice-President of Investments.
In 1981, Cathy married business leader, Harold Roozen, whom she met while he was working for her father. A year later, Cathy Roozen moved to the family’s holding company, Cathton Holdings Ltd., where she continued in the role of VP of Investments and established a sterling reputation as a valued and sought-after voice in the business sector. She further cemented her position as a respected business leader through valued contributions as a member of the board of directors of Melcor Developments Ltd., Corus Entertainment Inc., Shaw Communications Inc. and American Bank of Commerce in Phoenix, Arizona. Cathy served as one of her father’s most trusted advisors until his passing in 1991. Her ongoing leadership led to duties as Chair of Cathton Investment Ltd. in 2009.
While tending to her business career, Cathy made equal time for serving others and began a long resume of leadership to a wide range of initiatives and causes. One of her greatest avenues of service has been through her work with the Allard Foundation, which was formed by her father in the mid 1970s as a way to give back. It is an Allard family legacy that has been making quiet but very significant contributions to the quality of life in Alberta for decades.
In 1983, Cathy became director and secretary of the Allard Foundation, where she has worked to focus community investments in health care, education, social well-being and the arts. Health facilities that have benefited from Foundation support include the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute and the Lois Hole Hospital for Women. Cathy has also actively championed innovative health research through major endowments to the Caritas Hospital Foundation, the Glenrose Hospital Foundation, the U of A Faculty of Medicine Emerging Team Grant for Cancer Research and the school’s Allard Chair in Experimental Oncology.
Under Cathy’s guidance, the Foundation has supported education in Alberta and Canada with investments in a long list of institutions, including the U of A, Newman College and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Brentwood College, Red Deer College and The Telus World of Science. Students have also received the support they need to build successful careers through initiatives such as the Allard Chair in Business at Grant MacEwan University, the school’s Allard Nursing program awards and support for its Faculty of Communications. Further investments have supported the Steadward Centre at the U of A and the Dr. Charles Allard Founder Awards at NAIT.
Social well-being in Alberta communities has been fostered by Foundation investments in an expansive list of initiatives including the Edmonton Humane Society, the YMCA, WINGS (Women in Need Growing Stronger), Ronald McDonald House, Junior Achievement, the Bissell Centre, Catholic Social Services, the Salvation Army, Meals on Wheels, the Marian Centre and the Support Network. The quality of life available to Edmontonians and all Albertans has been further strengthened through the Foundation’s support of the Art Gallery of Alberta, Alberta Ballet, the Banff Centre, Citadel Theatre and the Kiwanis Music Festival.
In addition to her duties with the Allard Foundation, Cathy has been a tireless leader who is valued for the insightful, clear and highly organized approach she has brought to a wide range of community boards. Her list of board duties includes service as a member of the Strategy Council of the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, vice-chair of the Alberta Health Services Board, board director of STARS (Shock Trauma Air Rescue Society), co-chair of the Edmonton Music in Motion initiative and board member of the Edmonton General Hospital (Grey Nuns). Cathy sat on the U of A Board of Governors for seven years and also served as co-chair of the school’s extremely successful millennium campaign, an unprecedented fundraising effort that generated more than $200 million for the school. Cathy has further supported the hopes and needs of her fellow Albertans through personal investments in a wide range of programs and services. Cathy’s support of programs outside of the province includes investments in the University of Saskatchewan Western College of Veterinary Medicine and at Queen’s University where her projects have included a lecture hall named after Dr. Allard.
Cathy’s many contributions have earned her numerous recognitions. She holds the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal and Alberta Centennial Medal and has been honoured with the MacEwan University Distinguished Citizen Award, the U of A Alumni Association Honour Award and recognition as a Global Edmonton Woman of Vision. In 2009, she received an Honourary Doctor of Laws degree from the U of A.
Cathy Roozen has always practiced a quiet brand of philanthropy and community leadership, modestly preferring to remain out of the limelight and let her actions speak for themselves. However, the impact of her efforts must not be understated. She has invested great energy and compassion in the lives of her fellow Albertans and she offers a sterling model of what it means to be a caring and engaged citizen.
Executive Director, The Alberta Order of Excellence