4A’s Names Cathy Chan Butler as EVP of Talent, Equity and Learning Solutions

By Kyle O'Brien 

The American Association of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) has appointed Cathy Chan Butler as executive vice president of talent, equity and learning solutions. The goal of Butler’s position is to address the changing needs and future of talent for agency members.

In this role, Butler will lead the 4A’s Foundation, Learning Institute and HR/Talent Solutions practice while also joining the executive leadership team.

“We are thrilled to welcome Cathy at this critical juncture when attracting, retaining and developing talent remains a priority for our members,” said Marla Kaplowitz, president and CEO of the 4A’s, in a statement. “Cathy is an incredible talent and is going to channel her extensive experience leading agencies and her passion for advancing talent to serve our 4A’s member community.”


Most recently, Butler served as the CEO of Organic, part of Omnicom. Prior to that, she was CEO of Barbarian, a Cheil agency. Over her career, she has worked with brands including Johnson & Johnson, Ikea, Nestle and American Express, along with media companies including The New York Times and Condé Nast. She also held roles at Deutsch and DigitasLBi and has nonprofit experience.

At Organic, Butler built a diverse workforce and made the agency more diverse by hiring people of color and women in leadership roles while driving retention rates above the industry average.

Butler’s accolades include the She Runs It Change Agent Award and an ADWEEK Women Trailblazer award in 2022. To further support women and BIPOC talent through career development, she recently pursued her certification in leadership coaching. In 2023, Butler co-founded API Rising to advance Asian and Pacific Islanders in leadership roles across corporate America through career development, coaching and community involvement.

“As someone who is super-passionate about learning and people development, I am excited to join the 4A’s. There is no other organization with the level of partnership and influence over the advertising industry—an industry that I deeply love. The 4A’s unique relationship with agencies and agency leaders offers an elevated scale of opportunity to drive change and help advance the perspective on talent,” said Butler in a statement.

Butler is a published writer for Forbes, Entrepreneur, Fast Company the Huffington Post and other publications and also serves as president for the West Orange High School (NJ) Music Boosters, a non-profit dedicated to providing financial support for the co-and extra-curricular visual and fine arts programs.

The 4A’s is a top U.S.-based advertising trade association, serving over 600 members nationwide.