Cathy J. Neuman, a former IBM executive who was a partner and vice president of its Global Consulting Services and, in retirement, was president of the Greater Maryland chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, died July 2 of cancer at Gilchrist Hospice Center in Towson. The Lutherville resident was 70.
“You were the first real female leader I knew personally — and, boy, were you a powerhouse,” wrote Amy Wright, a former Price Waterhouse and IBM colleague, in an email to Ms. Neuman that was provided by her family.
“But unlike the others, you are someone so many respected and wanted to emulate because you are smart, funny, matter-of-fact, empathetic and genuine. It wasn’t easy maneuvering through a male dominated world but you did it with grace and I’ve so cherished having the good fortune to be your friend along our journey,” Ms. Wright wrote.
Leslie Ries’ and Ms. Neuman’s friendship dates back 44 years to their school days at Park School.
“She was a wonderful wife, mother, grandmother and friend,” Ms. Ries said. “Her professional accomplishments were quietly meteoric, and she had a very high-powered job.”
Cathy J. Neuman, daughter of Irving J. Neuman, president of the Haas Tailoring Co., and Claire Schwab, a writer and sculptor, was born in Baltimore and raised in Pikesville.
After graduating from Park School in 1970, she earned a bachelor’s degree in 1974 from Washington University in St. Louis and began her business career the next year as manager of fleet maintenance systems for Amtrak.
In 1980, Ms. Neuman went to work for Price Waterhouse, which, after a 1998 merger with Coopers & Lybrand, became known as PricewaterhouseCoopers or PwC. At the firm, she became one of the first female partners in the consulting division of the firm, where she led the large-systems-integration projects.
She later led PwC’s e-business initiative and vendor alliance program until 2002 when IBM purchased PwC’s consulting division. From 2002 to 2014, Ms. Neuman was a partner and vice president of what became Global Consulting Services.
“I have known Cathy for over 40 years,” wrote Scott Hartz, the former global CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting, in an email. “As the Global Leader of the PwC Consulting practice, I had the privilege of leading over 1,000 talented partners around the world. Even among this exceptional group, Cathy stood out as a star. She is an outstanding professional but also a wonderful person.”
He added: “As a strategic thinker, Cathy worked with passion, integrity, and energy. She led the highly successful execution of the largest consulting project the firm had ever undertaken at the time.”
Ms. Ries said: “Cathy had a wonderful aesthetic, and she always thought along very clear lines. She would always stop and think about her words when in conversation and always offered different perspectives and respected others’ views. She was analytical and a bridge-maker. When she entered a room, you wouldn’t necessarily notice her because she was small and quiet, but once there, she made friends easily.”
After retiring in 2011, Ms. Neuman continued working as an independent consultant until her death. In addition to her career in consulting, Ms. Neuman was a member of advisory boards of two IT companies, Systems Alliance and TaaSERA Inc.
A mentor to young women and men, she taught numerous partner/executive classes on how to approach deals across all phases of the sale process.
As president of the Greater Maryland chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association — and being an avid lifelong Orioles fan — she and two colleagues from the association threw out a ceremonial first pitch at Camden Yards.
In recent years, she served on the board of Roland Park Place and the Alzheimer’s Association’s Maryland chapter. She was also an active member of the Baltimore Women’s Giving Circle of the Baltimore Community Foundation and was involved with other charitable causes.
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Since 1999, former Guilford resident and her husband of 45 years, Richard D. Gross, a lawyer, had lived in Lutherville.
“She loved the theater and enjoyed going to New York and Washington to see plays. She had a wonderful love for art, especially modern art,” Ms. Ries said. She was an inveterate reader and a member of a book club.
Ms. Neuman was diagnosed three years ago with the cancer that would eventually take her life.
“She was very stoic and strong-willed and was going to fight cancer her own way. She wanted to live,” Ms. Ries said. “She really wanted to get through to the other side, but she managed to have three more years. It was a wonderful gift, and she made the most of the time that she had.”
Ms. Neuman was a member of Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.
Funeral services were held Tuesday at Sol Levinson & Bros. in Pikesville.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a son, Robert N. Gross of Washington; a daughter, Allison C. Gross of Washington; a sister, Tricia Neumanof Washington; and three grandchildren.