Woo set to shepherd continuing growth of CRS with business expertise

Author: Dennis Sadowski

Eight years ago Carolyn Woo was like many Catholics when it came to knowing about the work of Catholic Relief Services.

She dutifully contributed to the agency's Lenten Rice Bowl collection, but had only a vague notion of the reach the U.S. bishops' overseas relief and development agency had among the world's poor and marginalized people.

Today, Woo, 57, dean of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame, is poised to become the new president and CEO of the $919 million organization.

On Jan. 1 she will take over for the retiring Ken Hackett, president and CEO since 1993.

Woo brings 35 years of experience in the academic and business worlds to the position. Her background includes a six-year term on the CRS board of directors that ended in 2010.

Her expertise in strategic planning, entrepreneurship and organizational structure will be vital in managing the rapid growth CRS is experiencing. The global agency has seen its revenues quadruple in a little more than a decade; more emphasis is being placed on development and reconstruction alongside the traditional work of providing basic services and responding to natural disasters.

Woo told Catholic News Service that she sees her new role as emanating from the heart.

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