Mark Cate

Co-founder & President

Connect with Mark Cate

Mark Cate is a seasoned executive, public policy and political strategist with extensive experience in lobbying, strategic communications, issue advocacy, business development, project management, and for profit and not-for-profit strategic planning. Mark helps clients navigate political risks, launch compelling advocacy campaigns, capitalize on business and engagement opportunities, and strengthen comprehensive lobbying and public relations efforts. Mark formerly served as Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam’s chief of staff, where he was his top advisor, strategist and negotiator. He has an extensive network of relationships in Tennessee with business and political leaders and a network of national relationships. Mark has also advised several governors and other elected officials on their formal transitions into office.

  • While serving as Governor Haslam’s chief of staff, Mark led several legislative policy initiatives, including K-12 education reform, workers’ compensation reform, civil service reform, an alternative approach to Medicaid expansion, and postsecondary education reform, including the nationally-acclaimed Tennessee Promise program.
  • Mark previously worked as an executive in real estate management and development and served 16 years as a higher education leader.
  • Over the course of his career, Mark has served as a chief development officer, chief planning officer, chief marketing officer, and chief financial officer, working on budgets ranging from $10 million to $30 billion.
  • Mark has been recognized annually as a top leader and prominent strategist in Tennessee’s political and business sectors.
  • He serves as a member of the National Finance Committee for the Republican Governors Association.
  • Mark received his Bachelor of Science degree from Carson-Newman College in Business Management, his Master of Science degree from the University of Tennessee in Educational Psychology and completed Harvard University’s Institute for Educational Management program.

Get to Know Mark

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Grew up in Maryville, Tennessee, and now resides in Nashville with his wife, Cathy Cate, the founder and former executive director of Leadership Tennessee.

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He has two daughters, Bailey, who works for the Crop Trust in Bonn, Germany, and Abbie, who lives in Washington, D.C. and works for the Commission on Presidential Debates.

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Served on numerous boards over the years and currently serves on the boards of Nashville Classical Charter School, Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee, and Tennessee Kids Belong.

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Mark and Cathy enjoy a mostly empty nest, albeit with their very spoiled Goldendoodle, Jimmy.

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Mark has been a lifelong sports fan, enjoys getting out on the links when he can, loves to hike with his family, and thrives on travel and great food.

Meet the rest of the team