Catherine Soper, communications and marketing director of the Port of Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Catherine Soper, communications and marketing director of the Port of Everett. (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Catherine Soper: On board for Port of Everett’s growth spurt

Twelve years ago, this communications and marketing director launched her port career as an intern.

This is one of 12 finalists for The Herald Business Journal’s annual Emerging Leaders awards for 2022. The winner will be named at an event on April 27.

Catherine Soper, 34

Communications and marketing director, Port of Everett

Catherine Soper’s career at the Port of Everett began with a temporary job.

Soper was fresh out of college in 2009 when she accepted a three-month public relations internship with the port.

Except for a brief hiatus during the Great Recession, her tenure now spans nearly dozen years.

Today Soper oversees a team of four as the port’s director of communications and marketing.

“I see myself as a team player,” Soper said of her role.

There’s a lot to crow about.

The Port of Everett is the third-largest container port in Washington, supporting $29 billion annually in trade.

Its marina, with 2,300 boat slips, is the largest public marina on the West Coast.

Development of the port’s industrial and commercial real estate, including Waterfront Place, a 65-acre mixed-use development, has accelerated in recent years.

Soper is an integral part of the Port of Everett’s success, an Emerging Leaders nominator wrote: “She is hard-working, thoughtful, and inspiring in her work. Even though she hasn’t always had a leadership role at the port, she always made a huge impact by being able to get things done with the support of staff above and below her through her influence.”

In 2014, Soper was promoted and became the port’s public affairs specialist.

In the following years, the port underwent a major growth spurt.

Soper was on-hand and often responsible for promoting and organizing dozens of groundbreakings, public open houses and ribbon-cuttings.

In the past few years the port has welcomed Hotel Indigo and the 236-unit Waterfront Place Apartments and has ushered in new restaurant and retail development. The expansion of the working waterfront continues. Soper and her team are key players. “I just feel so lucky that I get to be part of this community and get to be part of change,” Soper said.

She brought the port up to speed on social media, helped make changes to the website and went to work expanding and coordinating the port’s now more than 75 annual waterfront events.

Challenges arose for Soper, a mother of two, during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The past two years have been a challenge for many working parents and, specifically, working women,” Soper said. “You push through the obstacles and persevere.”

The learning curve has been steep, she said. “Every day you’re pivoting. Every day you’re being flexible, seeing what other folks are doing.”

In particular, Soper drew inspiration from her boss, Port of Everett CEO Lisa Lefeber.

“She’s a working mom, a powerhouse and a really good example of a leader,” Soper said of Lefeber.

Janice Podsada: 425-339-3097;; Twitter: @JanicePods.

The annual Emerging Leaders award by The Herald Business Journal seeks to highlight and celebrate people who are doing good work in Snohomish County. This year’s partners in the award are HeraldMedia, Leadership Snohomish County, Leadership Launch and Economic Alliance Snohomish County. Co-sponsors are Gaffney Construction, Inflection Wealth Management and the Port of Everett.

Talk to us

> Give us your news tips.

> Send us a letter to the editor.

> More Herald contact information.

More in Business

Photo provided by 
Economic Alliance
Economic Alliance presented one of the Washington Rising Stem Awards to Katie Larios, a senior at Mountlake Terrace High School.
Mountlake Terrace High School senior wins state STEM award

Katie Larios was honored at an Economic Alliance gathering: “A champion for other young women of color in STEM.”

The Westwood Rainier is one of the seven ships in the Westwood line. The ships serve ports in the Pacific Northwest and Northeast Asia. (Photo provided by Swire Shipping)
Westwood Shipping Lines, an Everett mainstay, has new name

The four green-hulled Westwood vessels will keep their names, but the ships will display the Swire Shipping flag.

A Keyport ship docked at Lake Union in Seattle in June 2018. The ship spends most of the year in Alaska harvesting Golden King crab in the Bering Sea. During the summer it ties up for maintenance and repairs at Lake Union. (Keyport LLC)
In crabbers’ turbulent moment, Edmonds seafood processor ‘saved our season’

When a processing plant in Alaska closed, Edmonds-based business Keyport stepped up to solve a “no-win situation.”

Angela Harris, Executive Director of the Port of Edmonds, stands at the port’s marina on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, in Edmonds, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Leadership, love for the Port of Edmonds got exec the job

Shoring up an aging seawall is the first order of business for Angela Harris, the first woman to lead the Edmonds port.

The Cascade Warbirds fly over Naval Station Everett. (Sue Misao / The Herald file)
Bothell High School senior awarded $2,500 to keep on flying

Cascade Warbirds scholarship helps students 16-21 continue flight training and earn a private pilot’s certificate.

Rachel Gardner, the owner of Musicology Co., a new music boutique record store on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2024 in Edmonds, Washington. Musicology Co. will open in February, selling used and new vinyl, CDs and other music-related merchandise. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New Edmonds record shop intends to be a ‘destination for every musician’

Rachel Gardner opened Musicology Co. this month, filling a record store gap in Edmonds. owner Tom Harrison at his brick and mortar storefront on Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2022 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Burst pipe permanently closes downtown Everett toy store

After a pipe flooded the store, MyMyToystore in downtown Everett closed. Owner Tom Harrison is already on to his next venture.

Melrose and Vine Collective owner Kara Langus in her vintage collection room at her store on Friday, Jan. 5, 2024 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New and vintage women’s boutique aims to dazzle in downtown Everett

Add some sparkle to your wardrobe: Melrose and Vine Collective opened inside a former bank building on Pacific Avenue.

Garry Clark, CEO of Economic Alliance Snohomish County. (Kevin Clark / Herald file)
CEO steps down at Economic Alliance Snohomish County

Garry Clark, who has led the nonprofit chamber of commerce for three years, is leaving to “seek new opportunities.”

Dan Bates / The Herald
When Seattle Genetics founder, Clay Siegall lost his father while in college, he switched from studying for an MD to studying for a PhD., and a goal to treat cancer patients.  His efforts are paying off in lives.
Ex-Seagen CEO to return to Bothell to lead newly relocated biotech firm

Clay Siegall, who resigned from Seagen over allegations of domestic abuse, is now CEO of cancer therapy developer Immunome.

Molbak’s Garden Cafe in Woodinville, Washington. Photographed in 2016. (Andrea Brown / The Herald)
‘Shocked and heartbroken’: Woodinville garden store Molbak’s to close

After 67 years, Molbak’s Home + Garden, a mainstay just across the county line, will cease operations early next year.

Good Cheer’s two thrift stores are great places to find Christmas decorations and other knick-knacks. (File photo by David Welton)
A guide to gift buying on Whidbey Island

Consider these unique gift idea suggestions from the South Whidbey Record and the Whidbey News-Times

Support local journalism

If you value local news, make a gift now to support the trusted journalism you get in The Daily Herald. Donations processed in this system are not tax deductible.