Principal, Madison Park Ventures; former Chairman and President, Hearst Magazines
Cathie Black opened the world of women to advertising and the world of advertising to women.
A publishing pioneer, she launched her career selling magazine classifieds and capped it as the president and chairman of Hearst Magazines for 12 years. Her current role is as a principal in her company, Madison Park Ventures.
Along the way, she was “first” in many roles: the first advertising manager of Ms. Magazine; first woman publisher of a national consumer weekly, New York Magazine; President and publisher of USA Today, the country’s first national newspaper (in all its 4-color splendor); and the first woman President of Hearst Magazines, one of the world’s largest publishers of monthly titles, where she became widely known as America’s “First Lady of Magazines.”
Over the course of her career, Cathie’s influence, innovations and impact have been legendary. She convinced an “old boy” ad industry to support a feminist magazine. She won over skeptics to advertise in USA Today when Wall Street was predicting that it would fail. As president and CEO of the-then Newspaper Association of America (now the News Media Alliance), she represented 2,000 U.S. newspaper publishers as they transitioned from local print buys to regional and national print and digital networks.
A perennial choice on Fortune and Forbes Magazines’ lists of the Most Powerful Women in Business during her Hearst tenure, she continues to inspire young, professional women today. Her 2007 best-selling book, Basic Black: The Essential Guide for Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life), has sold 160,000 copies and has been translated into 12 languages.
Today, Cathie pays forward a lifetime of industry experience, as she advises and coaches women entrepreneurs. She has mentored three generations of women in business.
Cathie was one of the first publishers to intuit how partnerships could maximize resources and boost visibility and sales, something that today is standard for the industry. She tripled Hearst Magazines’ revenues in 10 years. Perhaps her biggest win was convincing Oprah Winfrey to create a partnership with Hearst to publish O, the Oprah Magazine. It was an immediate best seller.
As an angel investor, Cathie has been involved with a number of start-ups. She is also a board member of Path Forward, a non-profit that works with over 100 companies to coach women returning to work after they’ve taken time off to care for children or a loved one. She is on the New York regional board of UNICEF. She is on the board of PubMatic and served on the boards of Coca-Cola and IBM for approximately 15 years.
A past chair of the Magazine Publishers of America, Cathie also briefly served as New York City’s Schools Chancellor under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Besides numerous industry honors, The Preservation Resource Center of New Orleans presented its New Orleans Citizenship Award to Cathie in 2009 for Hearst’s leadership in donating time, resources, and volunteers to help the city rebuild after Hurricane Katrina.
She has been married to attorney and watercolor artist Tom Harvey for 40 years. They have two adult children, Alison and Duffy, plus daughter-in-law Rebecca and grandson Jack Parker. Cathie and Tom divide their time between New York, Palm Beach, Southampton and Seattle, where the younger Harveys reside.
Inductee, Advertising Hall of Fame
Last Updated: December 2022