Katica Roy ’95: Not on Her Watch

by Ashleigh Hollowell, Office of Development Communications

Katica Roy ‘95 is from a family who believed in the power of hope, equity, and change. She is the daughter of an immigrant and a refugee, and her father and three sisters ran for their lives to the steps of Air Force One, when President Eisenhower flew 21 Hungarian refugees to America on Christmas Day in 1956.

“I stand in front of you today because someone in a position of power said, ‘Not on my watch,’” Roy said.

It is in her blood, to leave behind the conditions that breed inequality and injustice and instead to run toward efforts that enable others to thrive.

Today, Roy is in the business of “bending the arc of history toward inclusion.” Her Denver-based company, Pipeline, a SaaS platform that uses data science as its foundation. The advanced technologies of Pipeline enable companies to assess, address, and take action against biases and increases financial performance through closing the gender gap. Using the Pipeline platform, not only can companies get to parity, they know how long it will take.

Inspired by Women

Roy realized the impact she could one day create herself after observing female leaders who came before her, like U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and former Republican congresswoman Susan Molinari.

At USF, Roy studied political science with a legal studies emphasis. She went on to work as an intern in Washington, D.C., and earned graduate degrees, in educational technology, and also a MBA, in Colorado.

While focusing on building her career, Roy felt the landscape of the working world was an equal playing field, until she was faced with an experience that challenged her thinking. After learning she was being paid less to do more than a male colleague, Roy discovered the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

She presented the fair-pay law to her employer’s human resources department and then received a raise, back pay, and a promotion.

“Certainly it’s a story of success, but why did I have to research my rights in order to be treated fairly?” she said. “It was in this moment that my commitment to ending the gender equity gap solidified.”

Fuel for Change

The experience fueled her desire for change. And she points out that working to create gender equity requires support from both men and women.

“What I learned from fighting to be paid equitably is that working hard does not equal success,” she said. “I believe we must do our research, we must learn the system, and then change it.”

She founded Pipeline as a way of saying “Not on my watch” to gender inequities.

“Gender equity is not just a social issue,” Roy said. “It is a massive economic opportunity.”

The United States could increase its gross domestic product (GDP) by $2 trillion by closing the gender equity gap, said Roy. Her company, Pipeline, has shown through their original research that every 10 percent increase in gender equity correlates to a 1 to 2 percent increase in revenue.

“It’s time to create a new reality and transform the narrative surrounding gender equity so that future generations, men and women, boys and girls, have access to the opportunity to step into a life the size of their dreams,” Roy said.

Roy’s mission is to close the gender equity gap once and for all through Pipeline, establishing fairness for future generations.

Recently, Roy joined USF’s Women in Leadership & Philanthropy board. She will be coupling her knowledge and fight for gender equity with USF’s Jesuit values, supporting the mission of the Women in Leadership & Philanthropy program.

"Joining the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy board of USF allows me to give back,” Roy said, “to use the 23 years of experience I’ve gained since my time at USF for the good of USF and its community.”

Find out more about Women in Leadership & Philanthropy