Catherine Malloy Cummings

Cues and Views

Change leader and people champion Catherine Malloy Cummings, in brief.

Catherine Malloy Cummings

Home: Chicago, Il.  Age: Fifty-something.  Alma mater: Kellogg (MBA).  But will always remain an Illini at heart.

Current project: Building the dream team.  What’s been you big (or biggest leap)? Founding a startup consultancy to transform teams with big dreams.  Recent travel or adventure: Hiking Zion National Park in the snow.  Amazing!  Number of countries visited: Twenty-one and counting.  Recent unique acquisition: A lovely painting, Chicago Morning, by Andrea Almeide.  

Personality profile: Connector, imaginative, change agent.  What is your personal playbook? People first, product second.  Profits will follow (credit to Ben Horowitz, The Hard Thing About Hard Things).  What is your greatest joy? Belly laugh.  My own and sparking one in others.  What occupation, other than your own, do you most admire? Humanitarian aid workers.  What is your favorite place (or way) to spend money? Adventurous vacations, fine wine.  What is at the top of your bucket list? Alaska, by land and sea.  

What was your first paying job? Whopper Flopper at Burger King.  What movie have you repeatedly watched? Princess Bride.  What’s prominently featured on your home or office wall? Ted Lasso’s Rules for Living.  What’s the best advice you received in your career? What you see depends on where you sit.  Appreciate different perspectives.  What personal circumstance has had the greatest influence on your life? High-quality education.  

What is your big idea? 

People strategy, including the definition and realization of your distinctive company culture, is the most critical strategy any business must execute.

What change are you working on to effect in your profession or field? Strategy and execution without bureaucracy.  What message do you want to send out into the world? Definition of consensus: 70% agreement, 100% alignment.  Not everyone needs to agree for us to move forward!

Who would you like to spend an evening with, in heaven? Great Aunt Mary.  And my mom.  They are definitely hanging out together.  After your loved ones, what object would you first save from your burning home? My mother’s jewelry.  How would you choose to spend tomorrow, if you knew it was your last day on earth? At my home, with my friends & family, enjoying fine wine and amazing food while we all shared laughs.  What advice would you give your younger self? Stop worrying.  It’s going to turn out better than you ever dreamed.

Personal mission: Be the light you want to see in the world.  Personal motto: Let’s GO!  Desired epitaph: Brought smiles, joy and positive energy to every room and conversation.

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