The Meet Metis Q&A: Cathy Atkins, founding partner

January 5, 2017
 
The first time I pitched a tech story, Cathy was sitting next to me. It was 1998, and I remember wanting to impress her. I also remember not easily adapting to the whole pick-up-the-phone-and-don’t-flinch-if-reporters-yell-at-you-ness of the job, but Cathy – who trained me – said I could do it. 
 
So I did.
 
That dynamic is part of the reason I still feel lucky to work with her. Cathy’s Metis bio says she “always has one more big idea,” and it’s true. Some of the big ideas I’ve learned from Cathy over the years include these: It’s OK to say what you mean – it’s actually required.There is time in the day for fun. Creativity counts. Good things happen when you stay open to learning. Comfort zones are boring. 
 
Read on, as we ask Cathy the hard questions:
 
CCA.jpgWhat's one thing you love about Metis?
My favorite part about Metis is our longevity. We've been in business more than 11 years and have no plans for stopping, and that makes me proud. Our team and our work matters, even if only for a small part of this great big universe. 

What were you up to before you came to Metis?
I worked as a vice president at another PR agency in Boston. I'm an agency lifer. We're unicorns these days, but I'm definitely not made of liquid silver or gold. That would be the coolest.

What’s your favorite Metis benefit?
My favorite benefit is that we can work from anywhere. When we started Metis in 2005, I lived in Portland, Maine. Courtney lived in Boston. We were a hybrid team in that we always had a headquarters but could work remotely, and I've been passionate about this topic ever since. That is important to me as an owner. We support technology companies daily, so it's nice to know that these technology advancements can also benefit us as individuals. 

What's one thing you've learned since starting at Metis?
There's so much I've learned, but I'll offer up two things:

I LOVE small businesses, and helping companies grow. Whenever I meet small business owners or people thinking of starting a business, I do what I can to help them. That might be a simple high five, a word of encouragement, or if they want, some advice on how to help them promote their company and themselves. There's a special magic and mojo that comes with small business ownership. I do anything I can to put that magic out into the world.

Also, I've learned how important it is to know what you stand for, both as an individual and a company. It took me a long time to realize that, and sometimes I still need that amazing pep talk to remind myself of it. It's so critical to know that even if you are alone in your thinking, everything is ok and you will be fine. 

Do you have a favorite holiday? 
Jazz Fest in New Orleans is about my favorite time of year - and yes, it should be a national holiday. I would gladly give up the last weekend in April and the first weekend in May for the rest of my days to spend it walking the fairgrounds in the heat or in the rain, eating incredible food and dancing my face off to some of the best music around. You can't beat Jazz Fest or the city of New Orleans during that time. 

Tell us about the best concert you've ever been to.
There's too many to count, and for such different reasons. There's late-night jam sessions with Rebirth at the Maple Leaf in NOLA to feed my dancing soul; Jenny Lewis at the House of Blues at Boston because she's just effing amazing and can do no wrong no matter what she does; Bon Jovi at Gillette Stadium for reminding myself that being 13 and singing your face off just matters in life. 

What would your perfect weekend consist of?
I pretty much had the perfect weekend recently with our vice president of content, Rebecca, the smartest and most talented person I'll ever meet, and her beautiful daughters, who are clearly following in her footsteps. We saw the new Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, followed by afternoon tea at the Taj in Boston. I later learned that my Patronus is a kingfisher and I'm a proud member of the house of Hufflepuff, which is traditionally trashed by all for no good reason whatsoever. If it's good enough for Cedric Diggory, it's good enough for me. As Jay Baer says, "Hug your haters." 

What's the next destination on your travel bucket list? 
I am trying to work through the logistics of working remotely at Frying Pan Tower this summer. I'm trying to see if the WiFi will pass muster. I haven't explored the coast of NC nearly enough, so it's a top priority for next summer. El Cosmico in Marfa, Texas, also looks like a total dream come true.

Tell us about the best meal you've ever had.
While my husband's gumbo is hard to beat, eating from the cheese cart at Menton was second to none. The entire meal was something that's been seared into my brain as one of the best dining experiences I'll ever encounter. 

Do you have any hidden talents?  
I have a pretty strong memory recall. That's about it for talent.

Best book you've read this year:
I'm still waiting to read it.

What TV show do you binge watch?
I can't get enough of Westworld. My old standbys - Firefly. Battlestar Galatica. Friday Night Lights. Mad Men. Six Feet Under.

If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Tacos. Tacos. Tacos.

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