Catherine Davis Named EVP, Account Director for U.S. McDonald’s Business
Leo Burnett Chicago has appointed Catherine Davis as executive vice president and account director, overseeing the agency’s McDonald’s business in the U.S. She will be responsible for leading the brand’s marketing programming and will report to Leo Burnett North America CEO Rich Stoddart.
The hire is a return to Leo Burnett and Chicago for Davis, who previously worked at the agency for 10 years, rising from account executive to VP, account director. While at Burnett, she oversaw brands such as Allstate and Green Giant, among others. She then took on senior-level marketing roles at Morgan Stanley, HARRISdirect and Diageo, all based in New York. She led her own consultancy before being named president of Dentsu’s Vizeum U.S.
Davis was named one of Adweek’s 2014 Media All-Stars. Active in social media, she has more than 18,000 Twitter followers and, in 2014, made Forbes’ list of 100 Must-Follow Marketing Minds on Twitter.
We had the chance to speak with Davis about her return to Chicago and what she’s learned from her experiences on the client side. Read on to get Cathy’s perspective and learn how she has amassed her large Twitter following.
How does it feel to return to Leo Burnett?
I am really excited about coming back to Leo Burnett. I loved the 10 years that I spent there and am excited to work on an iconic brand like McDonald’s.
What are you most excited about being back?
Having worked at other places and with other agencies, I can tell you that the people at Leo Burnett are amazing. I am really looking forward to working with them again.
What did you learn from working on the client side?
The importance of integration and having all of the agencies work together to help build their client's business. It increases impact and helps drive sales.
You have more than 18,000 followers on Twitter. How did you build your brand on Twitter?
I started spending a few minutes on it every day and it added up. I try to post things on marketing and innovation that I think my friends and clients will find interesting.
Why do you find Twitter so valuable?
The pace of change is crazy and Twitter immediately exposes me to wide variety of information and differing points of view. I think it makes me smarter and it has become a great way to stay in touch with people.
If you could go back and give advice to your intern self, what would it be?
Focus on the big stuff.
What’s on your to-do list this year?
I am doing a triathlon with my brother this fall. I am a little behind on my training, so I need to get in the pool or I will drown!
What are you most passionate about outside of work?
I am passionate about dance. I was on the board of The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for several years and go to every dance performance I can find. I find it absolutely inspiring. I am really looking forward to getting to see The Hubbard Street Dance company more often now that I am back in Chicago.
How do you feel about the current state of advertising?
I think there has never been a more exciting time to be developing advertising and content. Technology has completely changed the way people interact with brands and can provide additional ways to enhance brand ideas. I am particularly excited about multi-channel storytelling.
In work or life, what’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I felt like moving to New York was a huge risk. In many ways, I was starting over. It ended up being one of the best decisions I ever made. I had a whole new set of experiences that I don't think I would have had.