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At an event on the Ulster University Belfast campus this week, Ulster University alumna Cat McCusker shared her impressive journey to become the first female Regional Market Leader for PwC in Northern Ireland.

As well as Regional Market Leader for PwC UK’s fastest-growing UK region, where she oversees a workforce of over 3,700 people, Cat is Customer Led Transformation Lead for PwC UK. Additionally, she is the Education Consulting Leader. In this role, Cat works at a global and local level to help universities to reimagine their student and staff experience, driving innovative and disruptive work.

At the event, hosted in the Academy Restaurant, Cat talked to attendees and host Professor Paul Moore, Director of Creative Industries Future Screens NI at Ulster, about her passion for working together with clients and the wider community to create a positive societal impact for the region - particularly around the skills agenda, ESG and technology transformation.

Cat reflected on the defining moments that have helped shape her inspiring career and offered insight on some of the biggest challenges facing industry in Northern Ireland including a major skills deficit in STEM, particularly in maths and physics which is impacting opportunities for girls and will be felt by employers in the next decade; and economic inactivity among disenfranchised young people where widening participation needs to be a key focus for NI employers: creating new pathways and opportunities for them to break generational patterns and succeed.

Interestingly she sees the rise of new tech, including AI as a creative opportunity, saying:

“Industry needs to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We need to disrupt and  be upstream of the advances in new tech. We need  to build skills and add them to curricula now, if we are to truly harness  its potential. We will never lose the people element of what we do, we will diversify our peoples’ skills to evolve, learn and invent alongside tech.”

She talked with passion about the importance of women in leadership in Northern Ireland and their role in connecting people and creating valuable partnerships. She encouraged female attendees to take ownership of their career progression and be unapologetically ambitious.

Cat is an Ulster University Business School graduate, having completed three degree courses at Ulster University and she spoke about how her time at Ulster laid the foundations for her career now:

“I love problem-solving and looking at challenges through a different lens – I start with the vision and the end goal and then I back-step through the challenge to work out the best path to take to achieve the end goal. I believe this approach came from my time at Ulster University where I really benefited from the excellent teaching and theory but also the exposure to workplace experience it provided – it helped make me fearless in my approach.”

Karen Delgado, Deputy Director, Alumni and Corporate Engagement at Ulster said:

We were thrilled to host this event alongside the Ulster University Business School from which Cat is an esteemed alumna, to inspire the next generation of NI leaders. The Ulster University Alumni Network brings together Ulster Graduates like Cat, whose impact is felt in every corner of the globe and we’re really proud of that. It was a joy to welcome Cat ‘back’ to Ulster University, albeit to our new Belfast campus which currently houses some 15,000 students and staff and allows us to connect closely with our neighbours in industry and partners, like PwC.”

Discover the benefits of being a member of the alumni at Ulster University here: Alumni and Supporters - Alumni and Supporters ( or connect with the Ulster University Business School for innovative programme development and learning solutions for your employees here: Ulster University Business School - Ulster University .

Explore graduate opportunities with PwC here: PwC Early Careers Opportunities.