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Ten Questions for Cat Franklin
Catherine (Cat) Franklin is a two-timer. As in: A two-time Edelman veteran. Two very different
positions – account supervisor and client handler extraordinaire, her first tour of duty – strategy
and planning guru, her second time aboard the mothership. Cat is now at GE (killing it in the
Innovations Department.) Yes, Cat is now an Edelman client. Given her “inside baseball”
perspective, she’s uniquely qualified to shed light on Edelman, from both sides. Here’s Cat…in her
own words.
I’d like to think it was both. A friend who I worked with at my previous firm returned to Edelman
for the second time (they called them “retreads” at the time). They were looking to fill more
roles in the Consumer Practice, which was the area I wanted to move into, so she put my name
in, and I was there for an interview the next week. I remember knowing instantly when I walked
in that it was where I belonged, a feeling that only got stronger with each subsequent interview.
Did you choose Edelman or did
Edelman choose you?
Though I had been at two other PR firms prior to joining Edelman, it was
Edelman that really solidified my career in communications. I was there for
nearly a decade (with a small break in the middle), and was doing the work I
wanted to do and the work I was good at. The culture was a perfect fit, so much
so that I built life-long mentorships and friendships that are still integral to my
life both professionally and personally.
How did your Edelman
experience contribute to your
career and personal life?
The people, the clients, the breadth of topic areas, the pace and the
camaraderie. You never got bored, and if you did, there was something
different you could do and something new you could learn. The energy was
infectious. I loved the seemingly endless depths of experience, personalities
and expertise that I could tap into every day.
What made you leave and then
come back for more?
I left because I was offered a role at another agency that I really wanted to
pursue and challenge myself with. It was a head of planning and strategy
role, which at the time was not a standard function in all PR firms. I was in
that role for nearly 4 years, and when I moved back from London to New
York, Edelman had built an impressive planning practice. So I was lucky to be
able to go back “home” and still do the job I loved.
What was the best part of being
at Edelman?
Please share any Edelman
achievements that you are
especially proud of.
I did some pretty cool things right out of the gate. I started on the Barilla
account. We staged two massive events about the role of food in culture.
We also created a celebrity pasta cookbook to raise money for Feeding
America. But perhaps the biggest milestone was when I was lucky enough
to move to London to help build the Global Consumer Practice. It was
supposed to be a six-month project but I stayed for 7 years. Working and
traveling globally transformed my career. It changed my life, my
perspective and my abilities. It was the best career choice I’ve made so far,
and the colleagues and friendships and life lessons I gathered there still
play a meaningful and helpful role in my day-to-day life.
Returning to Edelman after a 4-year hiatus was also a milestone Coming
back in a completely different role from when I left felt like more positive
progress.
Well, if I’m honest, in the early days it was weird. It took some time to not
feel like the agency person – you’re still trying to do their job while figuring
out your own. But it provides really good perspective on the challenges that
both the client and the agency face, and this perspective makes you a more
well-rounded (and compassionate!) communications expert. Learning to
balance the business objectives of the company with the strategic and
creative ideas of the agency is a bit of a dance, but learning to do it brings a
lot of satisfaction.
Would you recommend
Edelman to others?
Yes. But not every agency is for everyone – it isn’t one size fits all. What you
get with Edelman is an endless arsenal of dedicated, passionate and smart
people around the world with the right mix of strategy, creative and
management smarts. You also get results, which at the end of the day is
what really matters.
What’s it like being an Edelman
client?
What’s your idea of a
dream job?
Given the varied experience I’ve had over the past 20 years, I gravitate
towards roles that encompass communications, branding, content and
marketing. Truly integrated teams and roles can be hard to come by, but it’s
the holy grail for someone with my experience who has always had their
hands in a bit of everything and loves the big picture. So I guess that’s my
criteria for a dream job, as well as focusing on subject matter that I am truly
passionate about.
I’m a huge fan of Beth Comstock, Vice Chair at GE. It’s rare to see someone
start in communications and grow into a Vice Chair role where they run a
P&L. It’s inspirational to see how communications and marketing expertise
can translate into roles that manage such a mammoth business at a very
high level. Beth’s ethos is all about the new – what’s next, what’s
disruptive, what’s changing the world and the people in it. She has
transformed into a role that reflects who she is as a person and a leader –
and that’s pure career magic.
What’s your favorite
quote?
“In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a
rock.” – Thomas Jefferson
Who inspires you?

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Edelman DNA Imprint Series - Cat Franklin

  • 1. Ten Questions for Cat Franklin Catherine (Cat) Franklin is a two-timer. As in: A two-time Edelman veteran. Two very different positions – account supervisor and client handler extraordinaire, her first tour of duty – strategy and planning guru, her second time aboard the mothership. Cat is now at GE (killing it in the Innovations Department.) Yes, Cat is now an Edelman client. Given her “inside baseball” perspective, she’s uniquely qualified to shed light on Edelman, from both sides. Here’s Cat…in her own words. I’d like to think it was both. A friend who I worked with at my previous firm returned to Edelman for the second time (they called them “retreads” at the time). They were looking to fill more roles in the Consumer Practice, which was the area I wanted to move into, so she put my name in, and I was there for an interview the next week. I remember knowing instantly when I walked in that it was where I belonged, a feeling that only got stronger with each subsequent interview. Did you choose Edelman or did Edelman choose you? Though I had been at two other PR firms prior to joining Edelman, it was Edelman that really solidified my career in communications. I was there for nearly a decade (with a small break in the middle), and was doing the work I wanted to do and the work I was good at. The culture was a perfect fit, so much so that I built life-long mentorships and friendships that are still integral to my life both professionally and personally. How did your Edelman experience contribute to your career and personal life?
  • 2. The people, the clients, the breadth of topic areas, the pace and the camaraderie. You never got bored, and if you did, there was something different you could do and something new you could learn. The energy was infectious. I loved the seemingly endless depths of experience, personalities and expertise that I could tap into every day. What made you leave and then come back for more? I left because I was offered a role at another agency that I really wanted to pursue and challenge myself with. It was a head of planning and strategy role, which at the time was not a standard function in all PR firms. I was in that role for nearly 4 years, and when I moved back from London to New York, Edelman had built an impressive planning practice. So I was lucky to be able to go back “home” and still do the job I loved. What was the best part of being at Edelman? Please share any Edelman achievements that you are especially proud of. I did some pretty cool things right out of the gate. I started on the Barilla account. We staged two massive events about the role of food in culture. We also created a celebrity pasta cookbook to raise money for Feeding America. But perhaps the biggest milestone was when I was lucky enough to move to London to help build the Global Consumer Practice. It was supposed to be a six-month project but I stayed for 7 years. Working and traveling globally transformed my career. It changed my life, my perspective and my abilities. It was the best career choice I’ve made so far, and the colleagues and friendships and life lessons I gathered there still play a meaningful and helpful role in my day-to-day life. Returning to Edelman after a 4-year hiatus was also a milestone Coming back in a completely different role from when I left felt like more positive progress.
  • 3. Well, if I’m honest, in the early days it was weird. It took some time to not feel like the agency person – you’re still trying to do their job while figuring out your own. But it provides really good perspective on the challenges that both the client and the agency face, and this perspective makes you a more well-rounded (and compassionate!) communications expert. Learning to balance the business objectives of the company with the strategic and creative ideas of the agency is a bit of a dance, but learning to do it brings a lot of satisfaction. Would you recommend Edelman to others? Yes. But not every agency is for everyone – it isn’t one size fits all. What you get with Edelman is an endless arsenal of dedicated, passionate and smart people around the world with the right mix of strategy, creative and management smarts. You also get results, which at the end of the day is what really matters. What’s it like being an Edelman client? What’s your idea of a dream job? Given the varied experience I’ve had over the past 20 years, I gravitate towards roles that encompass communications, branding, content and marketing. Truly integrated teams and roles can be hard to come by, but it’s the holy grail for someone with my experience who has always had their hands in a bit of everything and loves the big picture. So I guess that’s my criteria for a dream job, as well as focusing on subject matter that I am truly passionate about.
  • 4. I’m a huge fan of Beth Comstock, Vice Chair at GE. It’s rare to see someone start in communications and grow into a Vice Chair role where they run a P&L. It’s inspirational to see how communications and marketing expertise can translate into roles that manage such a mammoth business at a very high level. Beth’s ethos is all about the new – what’s next, what’s disruptive, what’s changing the world and the people in it. She has transformed into a role that reflects who she is as a person and a leader – and that’s pure career magic. What’s your favorite quote? “In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock.” – Thomas Jefferson Who inspires you?