From helping with the family business to becoming one of the most influential women in franchising, Catherine has always dreamed about reaching the C-suite.
My family owned a preschool. Starting at age 10, I would go with my dad on the weekend and mow the lawn, clean the toilets and kitchen. I have had horses since I was six and my dad said: “Now that you are 15, it is time for you to pay for the hay of your horse.”
I got a job at a Mexican restaurant as a hostess and one of the duties was to make guacamole. So, I know how to make great guacamole because I was taught by Gilbert Gonzales at his family restaurant.
After graduating from college my goal has always been to become a president or CEO of a company. I had been a buyer at Beckman Instruments, so I knew I needed to get a different job. I started looking for a sales and marketing job and I got hired by a small franchisor called Sir Speedy Printing Centers in 1980.
At that time, they had under 200 locations and I kind of grew up in that organization. In the 1980s my biggest challenge was being good at what I did to be respected by male franchisees. What I found was if I proved my worth, that was not an issue.
I have no regrets. But if I could go back and change one thing, I would learn about the opportunities of working for a private equity-owned company and would have gotten involved in that sooner. I know I have a lot of people in franchising that look to me to mentor them and give advice and I think that is a blessing.
No day is ever the same for Catherine. But her desire to lead a healthy lifestyle, underpinned by a whole foods diet and exercise, is a constant.
I typically get up at 4.45 am and I have a trainer that comes to my house at 5.30 am and we work on building muscles. Then I would usually have some tea, do a little bit of email and then get ready for work. And head to the office.
My days vary. It is the case of what day of the week it is. I have one-to-one meetings with my executives, outside of that it is based on what the priorities are. There is no set schedule.
I don’t eat until I get hungry. There are some days I don’t get hungry until 3.00 pm. I am more of an intermittent fasting person. Even if I am not hungry, I will have dinner. And I like my dinner to be warm.
I love cooking even for one. And I don’t get to-go often and I don’t have it delivered. Part of it is I have a healthy mindset where I would try and eat what I call whole foods. I don’t want to eat processed foods, anything that comes out of a can or a box. So, protein and vegetables.
My happy place is getting things done. I eat dinner, check emails, I might pay bills, do laundry and I always have news in the background because I want to know what is going on in the world.
The Oura Ring tracks my sleep, my heart rate, my blood oxygen and exercise. And it is telling me my best time to go to bed is between 9.30 pm and 10.00 pm and I am pretty good at that.
I am a big believer of ‘no screen time after 9.00 pm’ other than setting my alarm and texting someone good night. I am not looking at my phone and I keep it charging in my bathroom to have some distance from it.
Get to know
From her love for The Man from Snowy River to her childhood dream of becoming an equine vet, we get to know the empowering woman behind Propelled Brands.
My guilty pleasure every day/week is…three mornings a week I have a hairstylist come to my house at 7.00 am and she blows my hair dry. So, I sit in my chair, and I can get 40 minutes of email done.
If you could eat one food until you die, what would that be?
Rare steak. I do cook a lot of steak.
The film I could watch over and over is… The Man from Snowy River. It’s not a popular film, but I grew up with horses.
What is your proudest achievement?
In 2016, when our company was given the Freedom Award by the U.S. Department of Defense.
What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
I jumped out of an airplane and recorded 12, 800 feet. It was fun.
What was your dream job when you were little?
I wanted to be an equine vet so I imagined that is what I would do.
My motto is… you have got to do something positive to make a difference in your company, your friends’ or strangers’ lives.
What is your greatest fear? How do you overcome that feeling?
I’m terrified about failing. I’m not afraid of working hard and asking questions, seeking advice. But that fear of failure drives me to make sure I never fail.
What animal would you be and why?
It would be a beautiful Friesian stallion.