It is with profound sorrow that Girl Scouts of the USA announces the passing of Cathy M. Coughlin, a longtime member of the National Board of Directors. She died April 23 after a battle with cancer. She was 57.
Cathy proudly served on the National Board of Girl Scouts of the USA for seven years. In everything she did, she embodied all the qualities of a true Girl Scout—loyalty, passion, leadership, and a commitment to making the world a better place. She made an impact through her work at both the national level and at Girl Scouts Northeast Texas. Her heart and passion for our mission shone most clearly when she was spending time among the girls our Movement serves.
Through her role as the most senior woman in a leadership position at AT&T, Cathy was a role model for girls. As chief marketing officer, she was responsible for crafting the company’s image as a mobile technology leader, and she personally launched AT&T’s “It Can Wait” campaign to end texting while driving.
A Girl Scout alumna, Cathy was a tireless advocate for girls. She imagined a future in which more women sat on corporate boards and more girls pursued degrees and careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). She saw Girl Scouts as one way to ensure this future. Thanks to her leadership, AT&T invested over $2 million in Girl Scout programming during her time on the board. This investment included one of the largest gifts ever made to Girl Scouts of the USA toward STEM programming, benefitting the Imagine Your STEM Future program. This successful collaboration reached thousands of girls across the country, many of them from underserved communities, with activities designed to help them see themselves pursuing a STEM career.
The board will miss Cathy’s presence at our table, where she was a tireless advocate for girls. She never wavered in her strong belief that any decision made by the National Board be guided by a simple principle: we owe our girls a big vision for the future. Her light, indefatigable energy, force of character, courageous leadership, and gigantic heart will always be remembered by everyone whose life she touched.
Cathy M. Coughlin was born on July 2, 1957, in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of Eugene and Laura Coughlin. She is survived by her mother, Laura; her four brothers Kevin Coughlin, Jim Coughlin, Dan Coughlin, and Mick Coughlin; her sister Mary Coughlin Shillinger, and 11 nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Cathy’s memory to the Dallas Women's Foundation, Girl Scouts of the USA, Northwestern University-Catherine M. Coughlin Summer Internship Fund, Rosati Kain High School, or a charity of your choice.