Dr. Carolyn Woo

President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services

"What we must do is find ways to give women and girls the resources, training, support and space they need to grow."

Putting our faith into action to help the world’s poorest creates lasting change

“Who am I to lead?” thought Carolyn Woo as a young student in Hong Kong. Yet, today she is in many ways the very face of lay Catholic leadership in the USA. From 1997 to 2011 she was dean of the University of Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business. As President and CEO of Catholic Relief Services, she was listed among the 500 Most Powerful people on the planet and one of only 33 in the category of “a force for good” (Foreign Policy, May/June 2013).

Carolyn Woo grew up in Hong Kong, a city of refugees who had fled from the communist government in China, as her own parents had done. She was able to take advantage of the education offered by Catholics, in her case the Maryknoll sisters. Carolyn learned her school lessons from these sisters, but she also learned self-agency, the importance of dreams and confidence. She learned that she could stand with anyone.

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