Some people are born to serve and give to others and to their communities, while as others may never feel the calling. Thankfully, there are those who feel compelled to help a stranger, who share what they know with those in need, and who make a difference.
As a frequent volunteer myself, from ‘Ready for Work’ programs for struggling women to serving on the Board for Associations for aspiring and published writers (SCWW and WFWA), I am confident in my ability to spot a fellow ‘giver’ in the crowd. Cathey Petkash is one of those people.
Cathey is an active supporter in her community for entrepreneurs and business people seeking new business opportunities. I recently had the opportunity to meet with Cathey and ask her some questions about her background and professional journey. I learned how she continues the cycle of what I refer to as ‘Business Humanity’– the art and act of helping others to learn, grow, and succeed in an ever-changing world.
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Cathey Petkatsh grew up in Missouri, a state affectionately known as the “show me state.” When she was quite young, her mother gave her a book with a picture of a graceful ballerina on the front cover. Cathey dreamed of becoming a graceful dancer from then on. However, as the years went by and she grew, she realized that that particular dream would probably not come to fruition for a rather tall, tomboy.
By high school, Cathey had set her sights on a more ‘realistic’ endeavor –becoming an accountant—and this is the occupation that she eventually pursued. Part of her motivation stemmed from a discouraging comment that her high school math teacher used to tell Cathey’s mother, whenever Cathey would say that she wanted to pursue a career in math. “Girls cannot be good
accountants.” However, Cathey eventually proved that teacher wrong as she did just that. Since then, whenever she was told that she couldn’t do something, that activity or goal became a personal challenge.
She continued in her education to earn her B.S. in Accounting, and then went on to pursue an MBA. Upon completion, she acquired an internship in the accounting department of Western Electric, a large and reputable manufacturing company that served as the primary supplier to AT&T, in Kansas City. This role led to a full-time position where she served for years. Since then, she has amassed an impressive career with a few other outstanding companies, including Black & Veatch Consulting Engineers and Hewlett Packard.
It was soon after her retirement from Hewlett Packard, when Cathey decided to venture into personal business ownership. She became a Franchise Coach with FranNet, helping people realize their business ownership dreams and open their own franchises and businesses. She has a strong passion for helping people, and enjoys the opportunity to learn about various business models and industries in the process.
Though a resident of Daniel Island, South Carolina now, in her prior life, Cathey lived on St. Simons Island Georgia. Somewhat out of character, it would seem, she owned a flower shop there. She chose Charleston as her next destination, wanting a ‘bigger city’ way of life, yet she was drawn to the smaller community feel of Daniel Island with its safe and friendly neighborhoods. Daniel Island is also an ideal location to work with clients from around the Lowcountry.
Many people like Cathey who move to Charleston arrive with the goal of starting a new career and starting over. It can be quite challenging, though. I know from personal experience, having left the corporate world to become a writer, I understand how overwhelming and daunting the goal can be. Following her passion to serve, Cathey started BENG (Business Executive Networking Group) for just that reason. BENG is a networking group for mid- to senior-level executives going through a career transition.
The BENG group meets on the first Tuesday of every month at the Library on Daniel Island from 5:00pm until 6:30pm. Everyone is welcome. There, you will find a supportive group to assist with job searches, and provide personal encouragement along the way. Also, if you are a real entrepreneur, check out the Harbor Accelerator–another group for those looking to build a new business from the ground up.
BENG has already helped dozens of people connect and secure new jobs. There are a number of success stories under Cathey’s FranNet ‘belt’… Local DI residents, Amy, Joe and Brent are just a few and they were all amazed to find out that franchises are NOT all about food. Cathey coached each of them through their drive and determination to open a franchise.
Amy Justis lives on Daniel Island and has owned CMIT Solutions of Charleston for 3 years now. CMIT provides Information Technology services to small and medium-sized businesses.
Joe Riley invested in CPR (Cell Phone Repair) and recently opened his third location in Mt Pleasant.
And, Brent Tatum invested in Mosquito Squad – watch out mosquitos!
The city of Charleston is very supportive of its entrepreneurs. Given the national publicity for tourism and the recent designation as “the #1 best place to live,” businesses here will continue to thrive. Simply look at the growth and changing business community on Daniel Island to see new opportunities arising daily. That doesn’t make for an easy path, though; with Cathey’s assistance, people with a dream of owning their own business can thrive.
If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, then let Cathey know how she may help you and your new career. She supports those who take a leap of faith to try something new… and continues the cycle of ‘business humanity’ by helping others by share what she has learned, and watching their new businesses grow. Visit Cathey’s Website today!
by Crystal Klimavicz