Principal, Creative Spirit, Chief Strategist

Deeply connected to visual thinking and the art of making, Catherine Dauer is a trusted strategist, advisor, creative director, art director, facilitator, writer and editor.

Balancing right and left brain tendencies, her perspective is informed by decades of experience in roles within the arts, architecture, building and design industries.


A recipe has no soul. You as the cook must bring soul to the recipe. —Julia Child



Professional Volunteer Activities:
CCA | California College of the Arts: Guest Critic in Architecture Professional Practice, Graduate Graphic Design
Ox-Bow School of Art & Artists ResidencyNational Advisory Board
SF Arts Commission Gallery: Advisory Board Chair, Capital Campaign Chair, Development Chair, Benefit Co-Chair
Headlands Center for the Arts: Benefit Co-Chair
GenArtSF: Board of Directors, Program Chair
The Women’s BuildingBenefit Committee
Capp Street Project
Ansel Adams Friends of Photography


Prior to founding Straightforward in 2007, Catherine directed branding, marketing and communications for a prominent San Francisco custom builder as it expanded into national markets. Past experience includes development and audience engagement at Headlands Center for the Arts international artist residency center, and managing the Interdisciplinary program in Academic Affairs at the San Francisco Art Institute.

She has served in Board leadership and advisory positions with arts, civic and human services non-profit organizations, as well as a guest critic and panelist. Catherine earned her BA in Art History with an Architecture minor from the University of Cincinnati School of Design, Art, Architecture & Planning. In her free time Catherine takes inspiration from music, nature, artmaking, creative writing and cooking.