5 Things I've Learned: Catherine Mathis

5 Things I’ve Learned: Catherine Mathis

Friday, April 2, 2021

Catherine Mathis Headshot

Catherine Mathis

Catherine Mathis is the Chief Communications Officer for McGraw Hill. In her career as a strategic communicator, she has previously held marketing and communications roles at Standard & Poor’s, The New York Times Company, and International Paper. She received a bachelor’s degree and her MBA from the Carlson School, and in 2020, she became the chair of the Carlson School’s Board of Advisors.


1. Be Kind. 

I can hear my mother’s voice as I write this. She was a big believer in always treating others with compassion, civility, and respect. She practiced the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But she also practiced the less well-known Platinum Rule, “Treat others as they would like to be treated.” When I find myself feeling sad, stressed, or unhappy, I’ve learned that doing something kind for someone else will lift my spirits.

 

2. Know yourself.

Understanding who you are—your strengths and weaknesses, what makes you happy, and what makes you unhappy—will make you better at your job and more effective in life. I’ve gained a better understanding of who I am through reflection, meditation, reading, and coaching. I try to remember that self-understanding is a journey, not a destination.

 

3. Develop strong habits of mind, body, and soul.

This pandemic has really underscored the importance of self-care—but the fact is, self-care has always been critical for success. Maintaining a healthy body, cultivating an open heart, and striving to be a lifelong learner can all help you live more fully. One of my favorite T-shirts says, “Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor each morning the devil says, “Oh s---! She’s Up!” Being mentally, physically, and spiritually fit helps you be that kind of person.

Laughing is fun and life is short. Enjoy it and don’t take yourself too seriously.

4. Challenge yourself.

I try to do something that takes me out of my comfort zone every day. When I was younger, it was making sure to speak up in meetings. Sometimes it’s reading political opinions that differ from mine. Sometimes it’s doing something I don’t know how to do. Recently, I bought a drone. I like to take photos so I thought it would be fun and interesting. Yes, the drone has crashed, but I’ve also learned a new skill and have some cool photos.

 

5. Laugh a lot.

Laughing is fun and life is short. Enjoy it and don’t take yourself too seriously. Laughter relieves stress for you and those around you. At a time when the lines between work and home have become blurred and people have taken on more responsibilities, such as schooling their kids or caring for relatives...well, we could all use a little more laughter.

Spring 2021 alumni magazine cover

This article appeared in the Spring 2021 alumni magazine

Women & Work: Exploring the challenges—and opportunities—presented by the pandemic.

Spring 2021 table of contents