2023 Rising Stars: Cat Outten

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Cat Outten (Photo by Bryan Oller)

When Cat Outten learned that one of Ent Credit Union’s team members had been injured in the Club Q shooting, she sprang into action. 

Outten, philanthropy development coordinator at Ent, set up a survey to determine who was willing to donate and help the woman, who was in critical condition, and arranged to have funds collected.

“We would not have been able to get the information out as quickly as we did without Cat’s speed and efficiency,” her nominator, Annie Snead, says.

Due to her efforts, more than $10,000 was raised for the team member who, after multiple surgeries, is soon going to return to work.

“I really can’t take credit,” Outten says. “It was all hands on deck.”

Both the effort and the modesty are characteristic of Outten, says Snead, community advocacy partner at Ent.

“Helping others is not just in her job description, it’s in her DNA,” Snead says.

Outten was born in China and moved to the United States with her mother when she was 14. Those first years in this country, when they lived in Pueblo, were difficult.

“My mom didn’t speak English. I didn’t speak English,” she says. “We spent a little time at the YWCA domestic violence shelter. I was in eighth grade, a scary time. The volunteers there were just empowering. They made me feel so safe, like this is not the end of the world. From that point, I wanted to be that person to somebody else, to make them feel warm and safe.”

Other early role models led her toward a career in banking.

“We met a few really good banking representatives, and they made us feel like we weren’t out of place,” Outten says. “From that point on, I wanted to give them what I felt when I was talking to the banking representatives.”

“I have the best job because we get to give away money to enrich the community.”

After moving to Colorado Springs when she was 18, she earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from UCCS.

She worked as a personal banker at Academy Bank and member relationship specialist at Security Service Credit Union before joining Ent in December 2018 as a member service rep/lending consultant. She has worked as philanthropy development coordinator since October 2021, and it’s her dream job.

“My team helps focus on community advocacy,” she says. “I have the best job because we get to give away money to enrich the community.”

Outten helps manage Ent’s Community Advocacy Committee, which allocates $2 million annually to nonprofits.

“She has as developed relationships with countless nonprofits and can often be seen writing a personal check at events,” Snead says.

Outten also has created volunteer opportunities for Ent team members; her management of Ent’s Volunteer Time Off program and ability to put together purposeful projects has led to a doubling in participation, Snead says.

“In 2022 she played a special role in our Gifts for Teachers Program, giving $65,000 to 10 deserving teachers for our 65th anniversary,” Snead says. “Cat made sure every teacher was surprised in a unique way.”

On her own time, Outten regularly lends her talent to nonprofits including Habitat for Humanity, Pikes Peak United Way, Homeward Pikes Peak, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, Children’s Hospital Colorado, Springs Rescue Mission, Stand Down for Colorado’s Homeless Veterans, National Mill Dog Rescue and COSILoveYou.

“We see so many bad things happening on the news, so many struggles,” she says. “I think half of young professionals are thinking, ‘Oh, that’s too big of a problem, there’s nothing I can do.’ But there’s so much you can do in your community, and it really inspires you to see how much one person can do and how much one person can serve.

“I truly think that there is good in people and there is kindness in everyone,” she says. “I think we just need to help each other find it.”

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