Receiving an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters at the University of New Haven Spring 2016 Commencement Ceremony
Catherine Smith is the Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, the lead state agency responsible for attracting and retaining businesses and jobs, revitalizing neighborhoods and communities, and fostering development in Connecticut’s cities and towns. She was appointed to her position in 2011 by Governor Dannel Malloy.
During her tenure, Smith has spearheaded a variety of programs to generate economic activity and expand business across Connecticut, including the Small Business Express program and the Manufacturing Innovation Fund. She also secured funding for the Connecticut Bioscience Innovation Fund and coordinated agreements that brought The Jackson Laboratory to the state and re-committed United Technologies to Connecticut.
Under her leadership, the state has made historic investments in brownfield remediation and redevelopment, and she has designed and piloted the Good to Great grant program, which provides grants to nonprofit organizations that sponsor cultural and historic sites in Connecticut.
Prior to being appointed commissioner, Smith had a distinguished career in the insurance and financial services industries. She worked in various positions at Aetna, including as investment officer and chief financial officer for Aetna Financial Services. Later at ING, she served as chief operating officer for ING U.S. Financial Services and as CEO of its U.S. insurance businesses.
In 2008, Smith was named CEO of ING U.S. Retirement Services, one of the largest defined contribution plan managers in the United States with more than $280 billion in assets under management and administration.
Smith earned a bachelor’s degree from Hampshire College and a master’s degree in public and private management from the Yale School of Management. She has been a frequent speaker at industry conferences and in the media and has been recognized by U.S. Banker magazine as one of the “Top 25 Most Powerful Nonbank Women in Finance.” Smith is a board member of Outward Bound, USA.