One of DC’s Decision Makers
In the area of market research, Cathy Chamberlain is a one-woman political powerhouse. Her influence, as well as the results of her studies, has been spread across the country from Washington, DC, back to the West Coast, and overseas as well. Since graduating from BYU in 1973 with a degree in business education, she’s tallied up more than thirty years of experience in market research and is still going strong.
Just before Ronald Reagan ran for office, Chamberlain was in Washington, DC, working for what is now known as Wirthlin Worldwide. She quickly found herself immersed in the political arena, where she developed her skills designing and conducting studies for presidential, senatorial, gubernatorial, and congressional races both in the United States and abroad. During Reagan’s time in office, she was responsible for two landmark studies on women and the gender gap—an area of expertise she has become well known for.
Currently Chamberlain is the managing director of market research and strategy for Deseret Book and also conducts research for other entities owned by the LDS Church. Through her work at the LDS publisher, she developed and executed the Time Out for Women conference program, which draws crowds of thousands in cities around the country.
Prior to starting Time Out for Women, Chamberlain created her own nonprofit organization called Options, which hosted and coordinated educational conferences for women and families. Chamberlain has facilitated more than seventy-five of these conferences and reached out to more than seventy thousand people. She also directed a major study in Arizona about domestic violence, which was instrumental in the program design for a women’s self-help center in Phoenix.
And her ties to the Oval Office still run deep. She conducted a study under the George H. W. Bush administration about families in crisis and has recently worked with America’s Promise, a foundation created by Colin Powell to help youth.
Though much of her research and efforts have tracked and benefited women, she couples this with a broad research base.
“I have an expertise in women’s attitudes, but I’ve always done research among both men and women,” she says. “You don’t just focus on women. If you don’t understand men and how women are juxtaposed to men, you don’t understand how women work and think.”
Through her involvement with the Marriott School’s National Advisory Council, Chamberlain mentors students and gives lectures. She also helps with the Women in Business club and conducts research about women and the school.
Of her own success, Chamberlain says the varied opportunities have been a blessing.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity to understand what motivates people to do what they do, because it’s been a gift that has served me all of my life,” she says. “It makes you less judgmental. It makes you more compassionate.”
Though Chamberlain, who makes her home in Murray, Utah, thinks these are the winding-up years of her career, she will probably never retire.
“As long as I feel like I’m contributing and making a difference, you’ll probably see me out there.”