Illinois Tollway CFO named among 2023 Notable CFOs by Crains Chicago Business
Illinois Tollway finances are in the hands of a woman recognized as one of the best in the business.
Crain’s Chicago Business named Tollway Chief Financial Officer Cathy Williams among its “2023 Notable CFOs” for her accomplishments at the agency, leadership in the finance industry and active role in her community.
“Congratulations to Cathy Williams for being recognized by Crain’s for her impressive, dedicated work as our chief financial officer,” said Illinois Tollway Executive Director Cassaundra Rouse. “She is a savvy financial professional whose expertise helped successfully guide the Tollway through the pandemic to keep our capital program on track and an outstanding person, as well.”
Williams holds a BSBA in Accounting from Roosevelt University, a MBA in Finance and Strategy from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and a CPA (inactive) from the State of Illinois. She has extensive experience in both the public and private sectors with leadership roles in accounting, auditing, financial management, investment and portfolio management, and private equity.
She is currently responsible for managing the budget for the Tollway’s 15-year, $14 billion capital program, Move Illinois: The Illinois Tollway Driving the Future, as well as the agency’s more than $400 million operating budget.
She is also responsible for the agency’s general accounting, financial reporting, accounts payable, payroll, risk management, procurement and business systems. In addition, her responsibilities include oversight of debt management, cash and investments and coordination of the audit of the agency’s annual financial statements.
Like many businesses, one of the biggest financial challenges for the Illinois Tollway in recent years has been the COVID-19 pandemic. Williams successfully navigated the Tollway through the unanticipated revenue decline and capital funding needs and helped staff adapt to a hybrid work environment.
She met the Tollway’s financial goals and objectives while facilitating an upgrade to the agency’s bond rating in 2021. Williams was able to achieve these solid results through her strong business acumen in collaboration with Tollway staff and key stakeholders including the Illinois Tollway Board of Directors, state officials, financial underwriters and advisors and external consultants.
Outside of the Tollway, Williams is active in her community. She has served on the board of two Chicago-based nonprofit organizations, Ladies of Virtue and Storycatchers Theatre. Ladies of Virtue is a mentoring program that prepares young women for leadership and exposes them to opportunities to discover new careers and realize personal growth. Storycatchers works with youth in the juvenile justice system to help them transform traumatic experiences into powerful musical theater. Additionally, Williams served as Executive Board Member and Vice President of the Parent Association Council (PAC) at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora.