Cathy McClain

Keynote – Col (Retired) Cathy McClain

  • CEO
  • Dauntless Leadership, LLC

Cathy is a Georgetown University-certified executive leadership coach, a management consultant, and keynote speaker. She has coached CEOs and senior leaders serving in governmental, nonprofit, and public sector positions. As a consultant, she helped a top-tier Fortune 30 company manage internal reorganization. Her speaking engagement audiences range from large military organizations to Chamber of Commerce gatherings to a leadership summit in Washington, D.C.

From 2012 – 2016, she was the Program Director, Business and Regional Jet Programs at Spirit AeroSystems. She was responsible for program development and execution of the Rolls-Royce BR-725 engine nacelle and engine build-up program for the Gulfstream G650, the Bombardier C-Series Pylon and Mitsubishi Regional Jet Pylon programs.

Prior to this, Cathy was the Director, Program Management Center of Excellence. In this role, she worked with Spirit’s new programs teams across the global enterprise with the responsibility to promote program management best practices through direct coaching, training, and execution support.

From 2007 – 2012, Cathy was a senior program manager for The Boeing Company, holding two positions.  First as Program Manager, B-52 Sustainment where she was responsible for the profit, loss, and execution for weapons system integration on the B-52 bomber. Next, she was Program Manager, Air Refueling Systems, responsible for executing software development for the KC-46A air refueling system. Concurrently, Cathy managed a subcontract with L-3 Communications which modified fan cowls, engine cowls, and struts as part of a KC-135 to RC-135 aircraft conversion program.

Cathy is retired from the Air Force with 25 years of service. During her Air Force career, she piloted the KC-135, T-37B, and the UV-18. She also commanded at the squadron level at McConnell AFB, KS, leading both the 22d Operations Support Squadron and the 344th Air Refueling Squadron; the 319th Operations Group at  Grand Forks AFB, ND; and the 22d Air Refueling Wing at McConnell AFB, KS. Cathy deployed on numerous occasions in support of the Global War on Terror. During Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, she commanded an air refueling group supporting B-52s over Afghanistan. She also commanded a deployed operations group performing four different aircraft missions during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Cathy also deployed as the Deputy Director of Mobility Forces, directing mobility assets in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Horn of Africa. Her staff assignments include her tours as an assistant professor and executive officer in the  Department of Behavioral Science and Leadership at the US Air Force Academy; as Chief, Deployment  Division, US Transportation Command; and as Director, Air Force General Officer Management Office,  Washington, D.C.

Cathy graduated from the United States Air Force Academy with a degree in General Engineering. She earned her master’s degrees from Webster University (Human Resources Development), University of Texas at Austin (Social Psychology), College of Naval Command and Staff (National Security and Strategic Studies), and the Air War College (Strategic Studies). Cathy also attended the Senior Executive Fellows course hosted by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Additionally, she trained at the Center for Creative Leadership.

Cathy is the former Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Air Force Academy Association of Graduates, a Trustee of the Falcon Foundation, and is a member of the East Wichita Rotary Club, Friends of McConnell, and the Ninety-Nines.