CCCA names Cummings new exec director

The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association has a new executive director. Catherine Cummings faces the difficult task of re-establishing the organization’s prestige after the controversial firing of its board of directors last year.

Catherine CummingsCummings, who has spent the last four months as the CCCA’s interim associate executive director, will now lead the Canadian Bar Association’s in-house counsel wing.

“Cathy brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the position,” said Robert Patzelt, chairman of the CCCA’s executive committee. “She is a skilled leader, strong communicator, and well versed in change management and process improvement.”

Cummings most recently served as vice president of certification at the Canadian Payroll Association. She also holds an MBA from Athabasca University, received her bachelor of business management from Ryerson Polytechnic University, and has obtained the Certified Association Executive designation from the Canadian Society of Association Executives. She also currently serves as chairwoman of the board and head of the governance committee of the ALS Society of Ontario, and has been an active volunteer with the United Way and various other community based charities.

Cummings is eager to dig into a recent member survey, which she says would help the association gauge what’s on Canadian in-house counsels’ minds.

“The outcomes will guide and inform our decisions in the coming months, as CCCA moves forward on a solid foundation,” the Toronto resident said.

Members indicated in the survey that professional development is the association’s top offering. They also said they look to the CCCA to protect core values of the profession and advocate on their behalf to governments.

Meanwhile, Cummings takes the helm during a busy time for the association. Its annual conference will take place in Halifax from Aug. 14-16, alongside the CBA’s Canadian Legal Conference. CCCA members who attend will have their pick among 12 accredited professional development programs, with topics ranging from disaster planning to cost-efficient litigation.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to meet as many CCCA members as I can during the conference,” says Cummings.

The CBA sacked the CCCA’s leadership team in January following a longstanding dispute over funding. The two sides attempted to bridge the gap through mediation, but CBA president Rod Snow said an impasse was reached, and it was determined that the CCCA would need to head in a new direction.

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