An Interview with CATMEDIA’s CEO

In February 2016 CATMEDIA launched The Agency, an in-house advertising agency organized by the creative thinkers at CATMEDIA. To learn more about the Agency and company as a whole, I sat down with CEO, Catherine Downey, to get her point of view on all things advertising.

Q: How has CATMEDIA evolved in the past five years?

A: We’ve had explosive growth. We have been on the Inc. 500 list three years in a row. We were named to the Georgia Fast 40, a list of Georgia’s fastest growing companies. We have diversified from being a creative services organization serving the federal government, to serving all levels of government with training, marketing, and creative services. We launched CATMEDIA The Agency to serve the commercial market and landed our first big account. We also opened an entertainment division and have a full-length feature film as well as a documentary in progress. We continue looking for opportunities to diversify and grow, which is really exciting.

Q: How would you describe the culture at CATMEDIA?

A: You know, it’s really kind of funny. At the last staff meeting I handed out post-it notes and asked everyone to write down what car they would say the company is today. They wrote down five attributes of that car, and it was incredible and amazing to see. The responses I saw were “fun,” “innovative,” and “exciting.” We have an engaging culture that is full of highly motivated, driven, and creative people. We all work well together, perhaps due to deliberate actions of CATMEDIA’s management team to nurture a collaborative attitude toward the work we do. I would say overall we have an awesome culture.

Q: What led to your decision to open CATMEDIA The Agency?

A: Well, it just made sense to me. I started out in advertising. My first company was a small regional advertising agency. When I had my children, I needed something that was a little less demanding on a daily basis. So, I did larger scale federal work that didn’t require media placement. However, CATMEDIA has grown considerably as a company, and I had the opportunity to expand and diversify our markets. I felt having a commercial advertising agency that paralleled our federal client work made sense, which is really why we chose healthcare, aviation, energy, and Fintech as our focal industry sectors.

Q: How does CATMEDIA differ from other advertising agencies?

A: CATMEDIA is different because we have been in the federal space for so long and we understand compliance. We have the ability to work with highly regulated industries because we’ve done it for years. We have several high level contracts in the federal space and deal with compliance of federal regulations on a daily basis, which makes us unique among advertising agencies. Performing in highly-regulated, compliance-based organizations requires a specific skill set, and if you don’t understand the pertinent compliance issues you won’t navigate successfully in that space.

Q: How do you manage client communication and collaboration?

A: For us the client always comes first, and whatever we do, we do it with the client’s best interest at heart. We establish a communication schedule with our clients in the beginning of each project to ensure we meet or exceed their communication needs. We manage each stage of a project with highly detailed project plans, shared with and approved by the client, which facilitates collaboration with the client team and each member of the CATMEDIA creative team.

Q: What are you most excited about regarding CATMEDIA The Agency?

A: We just launched the Agency in February 2016. We have been awarded several smaller contracts and just landed our first large commercial account. I’m most excited to get the ball rolling and learning more about opportunities to serve organizations in healthcare, aviation, Fintech, and energy industries.

Q: How much experience does your team have in advertising?

A: Our team has substantial experience with diverse levels of education, skills, and professional backgrounds. Our talent pipeline includes knowledgeable marketing and creative service interns, highly experienced and creative marketing practitioners, and PhD-level professionals with 30+ years of marketing and organizational change expertise.

Q: Lastly, what do you see for the future of CATMEDIA The Agency?

A: The Agency has so much in-house talent. I really think the sky is the limit for us. Our vision is to become a leader and powerhouse in our four industry segments. We certainly have the talent and depth of knowledge in those industries to do so. I am really looking forward to growing that part of the company. Having landed our first big account, I anticipate with joy watching everyone at CATMEDIA continue to grow and succeed.


CATMEDIA is an award-winning Inc. 500 company based in Atlanta, Georgia. Founded in 1997, the company specializes in advertising, creative services, media production, program management, training, and human resource management. As a Women Owned Small Business (WOSB), CATMEDIA provides world-class customer service and innovative solutions to government and commercial clients. Current CATMEDIA clients include Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

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