REI Congratulates Attorney Catherine Walker

Co-op’s General Counsel Named Corporate Counsel of the Year by Puget Sound Business Journal

Apr 25, 2014

Leaders at outdoor retailer REI joined the chorus of praise and congratulations last night for Catherine Walker, the co-op’s senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, as she received the “Corporate Counsel of the Year” award for a private company of more than 10,000 employees. Sponsored by Puget Sound Business Journal, the award honors the region’s top in-house counsel.

Walker was nominated anonymously by a colleague outside of REI, and her co-workers were quick to echo the qualities that make her a talented attorney and trusted advisor. They noted she is fair and balanced in all facets of her life, filled with integrity, strikingly intelligent, eminently professional, generous with her time and talent, and a servant leader within the entire REI organization. 

Jerry Stritzke, REI’s president and CEO said “Catherine brings an impressive mix of wisdom, business acumen and courage to every aspect of running REI. Her passion for the outdoors and commitment to the values and principles of REI and the co-op insure that we walk the talk of delivering performance with integrity.”

“Catherine is a leader who models the way. She is a wise advisor, mentor to others, and a savvy business leader. She ensures as a company we operate with the highest of standards in our business ethics and practices,” added Michelle Clements, REI’s senior vice president of Human Resources.

Walker’s contributions to the legal profession go well beyond her work at REI. She was a co-founder and former president of the Northwest Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD). She also serves as a founding director of a small non-profit, Plymouth Healing Communities (PHC), which provides housing and supportive services to persons who suffer with mental illness and were previously homeless. She served as the president of PHC for six years.  

She began serving on the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) board of directors in 2014. The OIA is the leading trade association and voice of the outdoor recreation industry, serving more than 4,000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the active outdoor lifestyle.

A reflection of her commitment to her community and civic involvement, for nine years she served as a Commissioner on the Seattle Ethics and Elections Commission, appointed by the then-Mayor of Seattle and re-appointed twice. During her tenure on that Commission, she served two terms as the chair. She also headed the Personnel Committee.

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 21.5 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. REI has 179 locations in 42 states and the District of Columbia. If you can’t visit a store, you can shop at, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. REI isn’t just about gear. Adventurers can take the trip of a lifetime with REI’s active adventure travel company that runs more than 100 itineraries across the country. In many communities where REI has a presence, professionally trained instructors share their expertise by hosting beginner-to advanced-level classes and workshops about a wide range of activities. To build on the infrastructure that makes life outside possible, REI invests millions annually in hundreds of local and national nonprofits that create access to—and steward—the outdoor places that inspire us all.