From the CEO’s Desk: The Creative Process & Collaboration at CATMEDIA

Change is key. 


Do you know anyone creative? What traits or characteristics do they have? What comes to mind? Now think about yourself. Do you consider yourself to be creative? Why or why not? After being creative and producing creative work for much of my life, I believe that creativity exists everywhere and in everyone. People tend to doubt their creative abilities because they think, “I’m not a painter. I’m not a writer. I’m not a musician,” but creativity is not just about being an artist. It’s not about whether you can dance or sing or play an instrument. Creativity is about being adaptable and open to change. So, today we’re going to cover why change is so critical in the creative process, and how it has impacted collaboration and creativity at CATMEDIA over the years.

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Sometimes you just have to shake things up.

pug-pup-shakes-off-water_4460x4460Creativity has a tendency to manifest itself in people in different ways. For example, even in my personal life, there have been times when I’ve felt stressed or overwhelmed, and I’ve had to look at my life and see where I could make changes. I’ve had to stop to consider what I could do differently to make things run more smoothly, and this is something that we all feel the need to do from time to time. For some people, it’s a matter of rearranging furniture or switching up their hair color, but a huge part of our creativity involves having the need to shake things up and approach things from a different angle. At CATMEDIA, this desire crosses over into our professional lives and helps us to develop projects that are impactful and creative.

Tenacity trumps talent.

carl-heyerdahl-181868-unsplashOne thing my father used to always ask is, “Is it the talent, or is it the tenacity?” When it comes to creativity, the creativity itself does not require work, but the craft certainly does. If I’m a pianist, I have to practice. If I’m a baseball player, I have to practice, and this is true no matter the career path. There are a lot of talented people who don’t develop their talents, and a lot of less talented people who managed to become successful through dedication and tenacity. To maintain that competitive edge, we have a responsibility to develop and sharpen our skills, no matter the industry.

Creativity in leadership

CATMEDIA-Founder-and-CEO-Catherine-DowneyEffective leadership would be almost nonexistent in the absence of creativity and change. “Leadership is a set of processes that creates organizations in the first place or adapts them to significantly changing circumstances.”[i] As a leader, I try to encourage my employees to think creatively. I want them to think critically and independently, tell me what’s not working, and suggest ways that we can improve. I’m all about giving them the tools to help them succeed, but I need them to take ownership, and use those tools to do great work. Here at CATMEDIA, we approach everything creatively. Yes, we have processes in place, but I expect my employees to be able to embrace change in order to make the most impact on our clients. 

We employ creativity to help our clients succeed.

rawpixel-570908-unsplashAt CATMEDIA, we employ creativity to help our clients succeed through program management and human resource management, in the fields of training and creative services. We provide a unique service for our clients by putting ourselves in their shoes, and seeing the problem from their perspectives. As a team, we approach every new project from two different points of view: by acting like a customer and thinking like an owner. When acting like a customer, we ask ourselves what the client needs, what they want, and how we can make them more successful. When acting like an owner, we ask ourselves, “If I owned this business, what would I do?” By approaching each problem from these two perspectives, we are able to come up with the most ideal solutions for our clients. 

Collaboration at CATMEDIA

collaboration-colleagues-cooperation-398532There are many projects at CATMEDIA that I’m proud of, but there are two in particular that I believe are really great examples of our ability to employ creativity and work well as a team. The first would be our work with the Atlanta Housing Authority, where we came up with a marketing plan and tagline that was very unique to the client’s target audience. We also gathered research and obtained an in depth understanding of the marketplace. This led to us to create one of the most innovative marketing plans the organization had ever seen. 

I’m also super proud of our work on the Flight Standards Administrative Manual (FSAM) with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In this project, we have exercised a great deal of creative problem solving, and have worked collaboratively with the client to identify the organization’s needs and create an amazing product.

Creativity comes in all shapes and forms, and through creativity and adaptability, we have been able to imagine our customers’ needs and provide them with the tools to help them be more successful. Creativity is about more than art. We are all creative thinkers, and the only block to creativity is when we are afraid to change.

[i]“Reflections on Creative Leadership.” International Journal of Global Business, June 2015, pp. 1–14.


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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Catherine Downey

About Catherine Downey

Catherine founded CATMEDIA in 1997 as CATVIDEO drawing from her many years of media production and broadcast television experience. In 2011, she changed the company name to CATMEDIA to reflect its expanding services. True innovators, CATMEDIA is patent-pending on several training and communications technologies. CATMEDIA was named to the Inc. 500 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America in 2014, 2015, and again in 2016. It is under Catherine/a>'s stewardship that CATMEDIA is able to offer such innovative services.

View all posts by Catherine Downey

Leadership, Communication, Creative Services, Creativity, Collaboration

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