WIA Women to Watch: 2022 Q1, Cathy McPhillips

Cathy McPhillips is the Chief GrowthOfficer at the Marketing Artificial Intelligence Institute, overseeing product growth, marketing, revenue, and customer experience for the Marketing AIConference (MAICON) and AI Academy for Marketers. Cathy was Vice President of Marketing at the Content Marketing Institute and their flagship event, Content MarketingWorld, for almost a decade. She owned her own strategic marketing consultancy focusing on nonprofit, hospitality, and service sector marketing and media, and was media supervisor at Wyse Advertising in Cleveland. She was part of OhioUniversity’s Jerry L. Sloan Visiting Professionals in Public Relations program,and regularly guest lectures at area college and universities. Cathy was named aFolio: Top Women in Media and MarTechExec 50 Women You Need to Know in Martech. Cathy currently sits on Ohio University’s College of Business MarketingAdvisory Board, is the Communications Chair Board Member for the Orange EffectFoundation, and is an Executive Board Member for Community of Hope.


If you could have any superpower, what would it be and why?

I just finished reading The InvisibleLife of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab, and it had me thinking about decisions we make and the consequences that go along side them; I’d be really cautious about selecting a superpower without knowing all the details. That said, I’d love the ability to read, comprehend, and retain books instantly. I have hundreds of books I want to read, and currently 11 are loaded on my Kindle, so getting through that pile of books would be amazing! I started with a new company inMay 2021 and am mixing in more non-fiction so I can learn more about the world of artificial intelligence as a whole, but also its impact on marketing,analytics, data, and more.

However, I’d also like to be able to shut off that superpower temporarily, because I really love settling in with a book and relaxing.


What advice would you give your younger self? What advice would you ignore?

I’d tell younger self to “take the leap!” I have always been very cautious…making good choices, staying out of trouble, never veering too far from my family and friends. I didn’t go to school three states away. I didn’t up and move to Chicago like some college friends. I’ve never lived by myself. My choices have all worked out very positively for me, but a little adventure in my life would have been really fun! However, I’m making up for that now and have picked up some new hobbies and booked some fun getaways. It’s never too late!

And as far as advice I’d ignore? Anything that doesn’t sit right with you from the get go. Discomfort is OK if, for example, you recognize you’re working through your imposter syndrome or it’s something you need to figure out for yourself. If you’re being asked to do something or pushed on a path you just don’t want, don’t do it. Trust your gut.


What is your favorite quote or saying that captures your mission?

I bought a canvas print for my daughter a few years ago with a poem by Rupi Kaur. I read the poem in one of her books, milk and honey, and I immediately went online to see how I could get it blown up and framed. It read:

i want to apologize to all the women
i have called pretty
before i’ve called them intelligent or brave
i am sorry i made it sound as though
something as simple as what you’re born with
is the most you have to be proud of when your
spirit has crushed mountains
from now on i will say things like
you are resilient or you are extraordinary
not because i don’t think you’re pretty
but because you are so much more than that



WIA Team