The United Methodist Association of Communicators (UMAC) announced Catherine (Cate) Monaghan as the Hall of Fame inductee for 2017. Monaghan served as the director of communications for the California-Nevada Annual Conference from 2006 to 2012 and as past president of UMAC.
The Rev. Larry Hygh, current director of communications for California-Nevada Conference, introduced his predecessor for the Hall of Fame at the UMAC Annual Awards celebration on March 23, calling her a trailblazer.
“This amazing woman set me up to succeed,” said Hygh. “I walked into the conference center and was able to build upon a communications ministry that was already thriving and in great shape.”
Monaghan began her communications career in the South at a time when women were required to wear dresses to work and were not allowed to cover the police beat. Although she had always had an interest in journalism and had created neighborhood “newspapers” as a child, her first job in the field came about by accident. Fresh out of their first year of college, she and her roommate decided to get a job and entered an advertiser building to buy a newspaper so they could look in the classified section. The person at the kiosk suggested that they actually apply at the paper. They did, took the necessary aptitude tests, and both were hired to work in the newsroom.
From that serendipitous beginning Monaghan went on to work in advertising, radio and television as well as print journalism. In 2006, she was hired to assist Jeneane Jones, communications director of the California-Nevada Conference. When Jones moved on to serve the General Commission on Religion and Race, Monaghan was named to succeed her on an interim basis, and eventually that appointment was made permanent. She served in that capacity until her retirement in 2012.
“Her commitment to our mission and ministry was deep and grounded in her own faith experience,” said former colleague Linda Caldwell, the California-Nevada Conference superintendent of mission collaboration. “Under her leadership we expanded and improved our regular communications to the churches and improved our Web presence. She clearly poured herself completely into the work with great thoughtfulness and skill.”
Bishop Beverly Shamana said Monaghan, who served as director of communications during her tenure as bishop of the San Francisco Episcopal Area, had an adept skill at helping make sense of diverse information and issues in the church. “Cate had a keen ear for following important stories in the conference and was a valuable addition to the staff,” said Bishop Shamana. “Her integrity of spirit was always positive and undergirded by a strong faith. I fully support her nomination.
Retired Bishop Warner H. Brown, who also served the San Francisco Episcopal Area, said Monaghan was a joy to work with. “She had a strong desire to help the church succeed in its mission. She approached the job with the highest level of professionalism, but it was not just a job for her. It was a part of living out her faith commitment.”
Monaghan thanked her former colleagues, bishops and UMAC friends for inspiring and mentoring her throughout her career.
“This recognition came as a complete surprise to me,” she said. “I want to say what a privilege is was to serve all you. I’m humbled and blessed to have the opportunity to serve The United Methodist Church and to serve alongside all of you. Thank you for this recognition. It is a great honor.”