About Cathy Brooks

Her first grade report card said it all. "Cathy likes to participate in any project, so long as she gets to talk." That hasn't changed. From media into marketing on to business development and then back to her roots, Cathy spent much of her career telling other people's stories for them. Now she teaches them to do it for themselves.



A “classically trained” Journalist, Cathy’s passion for conversations and communication began with her first job ripping wire copy and evolved to encompass nearly every platform and aspect of media. Cathy curated content for leading technology industry conferences including LeWeb and events produced by Guidewire Group. In 2008 after engaging as an activist for LGBT equal rights, Cathy began to explore the influence of personal stories in people’s professional lives.

Four years later, she turned that learning on herself and everything changed.

In May 2012, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh invited Cathy to explore the Downtown Project in Las Vegas. This endeavor, a $350 million project to rebuild Downtown Las Vegas, endeavors to create a densely populated, urban, walk-able downtown neighborhood in the least likely place in the world. The idea is to build a neighborhood that is focused on community-centered businesses that enable people to connect, engage and to allow the serendipity of chance path crossings to foster innovation and creativity.

She arrived August 1, 2012 with her trusty sidekick, Truman. Within 24 hours in this emerging neighborhood, Cathy realized two things:

  1. There were lots of leashes downtown (translation – tons of dogs) and no social skills on either end. Dogs were either overly aggressive or sensitive and cowering – neither of which are healthy. As for the humans, there seemed to be little to no handling skills among them.
  2. Nowhere in the downtown grid of Las Vegas was there a safe, clean place to allow dogs off leash with reasonable space to play and interact.

Speaking with the Downtown Project team, Cathy learned that there was interest in establishing a dog-related facility downtown but no one had seized that opportunity.

So she did.

Six months later, Cathy closed her consulting practice and headed for Las Vegas to create the Hydrant Club, a canine social club and training academy catering to the Downtown dog community. Equal parts play space, educational facility and boarding/daycare, Hydrant Club is embarking on a mission to evolve the nature of dog care facilities, turning them into places where people go WITH their dogs for social activity, exercise and learning.

Prior to leaping from Silicon Valley Cathy operated an advisory firm, helping companies and individuals navigate new technologies with the purpose of leveraging these platforms to tell stories. Through workshops and consulting services, Cathy walked clients through the story-telling process and towards the deep engagement that comes from authentic communication. She also provided general communications strategy counsel.

To slake her thirst for content creation, Cathy continues to blog for myriad sites including The Huffington Post, and her own blog, Other Than That. She also hosts The Conversation, a weekly, on-line program that focuses on, well … Conversations with interesting people about just about anything.

A devout geek and recovering tech devotee, Cathy continues to wield several mobile devices at all times, speaks at tech conferences (usually about laying aside technology to connect and the challenges of changing careers), and sits on the advisory board for SXSW Interactive.