Announcing New CA FWD CEO Kate Gordon!

1024 576 CA FWD

CA FWD is excited to announce Kate Gordon as our new CEO!

“CA FWD provides the essential interconnective tissue between the state’s diverse regions and policymakers in Sacramento, with a clear focus on building a more sustainable, resilient, and inclusive economy,” says Kate. “I’m excited to lead the organization into its new chapter, and to grow it into something even more exceptional.”

Kate brings to CA FWD a wealth of knowledge from the public and private sectors, including as Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research and as Senior Advisor to the Secretary at the Department of Energy. With decades of experience as an organizer, lawyer, and policy analyst, Kate’s expertise focuses on finding practical, nonpartisan and locally focused solutions to drive broadly shared prosperity.

“We are thrilled that Kate is joining CA FWD, to help grow and guide the organization in its next chapter,” say Catharine Baker and Gustavo Herrera, CA FWD board co-chairs. “California has an opportunity to be the model for achieving racial and geographic equity, environmental sustainability and economic growth and Kate’s experience and vast knowledge are the perfect fit to help us rise to this challenge.”

CA FWD’s co-chairs recognize Interim CEO Ismael “Ish” Herrera, saying, “Ish has provided essential stewardship of the organization during the past year, and we are very happy he’s agreed to stay on as Executive Director of the California Stewardship Network.”

Kate is no stranger to CA FWD. As Director of the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research during the beginning of Governor Newsom’s first term, Kate worked closely with the organization to design and implement Regions Rise Together, a program that built the foundation for what became the California Economic Resilience Fund (CERF), recently rebranded to California Jobs First. In recognition of this work, Kate was the recipient of the California Steward Leader Award at the Economic Summit in Bakersfield in 2022.

After leaving state government in 2021, Kate continued her work on sustainable and equitable economic development as Senior Advisor to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm at the Department of Energy. In this role, she created and implemented the “Communities LEAP” program, which provides cross-program, cross-technology support to communities looking to attract energy investments that also lower bills, provide more reliable energy access and create family-supporting jobs. She co-created the agency’s “Community Benefits Plan” structure, which requires that applicants for public dollars show a clear commitment to providing local economic and environmental benefits in the places where energy projects are located.

Among Kate’s first priorities at CA FWD are guiding the planning of the 13th annual California Economic Summit and re-investing in the California Stewardship Network, which lifts up regional perspectives from across the state. Kate is also leaning in on identifying public and private investments to support several of the key policy areas identified in CA FWD’s annual Roadmap to Shared Prosperity, including clean energy manufacturing and supply chains, and pro-housing strategies that build community wealth while reducing climate risk.

What our partners are saying:

California Stewardship Network (CSN) Co-Chairs Evan Schmidt and Michelle Decker:
“As Co-Chairs of the California Stewardship Network and participants in the CEO search process, we were thrilled to find in Kate a candidate who understands the important role of regions to inform California state policy. We believe regional innovation is the heartbeat of California and that every region should have a seat at the policy table. We look forward to continuing our partnership with California Forward and Kate to do this important work.”

Young Leaders Advisory Council (YLAC) Co-Chairs Josh Lewis and Valerie Johnson:
“CA FWD’s young leaders extend our warmest congratulations to Kate Gordon on her appointment as Chief Executive Officer. As both CA FWD and its Young Leaders Advisory Council enter a new chapter, Ms. Gordon’s experience, leadership and vision will be invaluable in advancing the youth voice in intergenerational policymaking. Her appointment signals an exciting era of growth and opportunity and we eagerly anticipate her partnership to forge a bright future for the organization and California.”