Professional Stepmom Mentor, Trainer and Founder of Stepmoms on a Mission® (SMOMS.org) since 2000
Hi! I’m Cathryn and here’s a bit about my background.
Want to learn how you can turn your frustrations into positive actions? Listen to a live, 45-minute recording of Cathryn giving this talk. You can also read a written version by clicking here.
Seems I’ve been passionately studying human behavior my entire life. I went to college to learn about management and organizational behavior. Graduated from University of Hartford, Magna Cum Laude in 1978. Went to work for IBM, as a Marketing Rep. to learn ethical selling and marketing skills. In 1980, was hired by a bank holding company (First CT Bancorp) as Director of Electronic Banking to start a new ATM programs. Back then ATMs were brand new, threatening to tellers and scary to most consumers. Because we didn't have the budget for motivating people to change behavior with presents, I trained the branch staff (60 branches) how to listen for fears and objections and then how to talk with each consumer about their specific needs. And it worked! In three years, we set national records for consumer usage that was twice the national average. These results gave birth to my speaking & consulting career...sharing experiences with others.
Took the leap: Self-Employed: In 1984, I went out on my own as a consultant, working with financial executives on retail strategies and training their branch staffs to sell new services like ATMs and debit cards to consumers using psychology and high integrity interpersonal skills to help everyone feel comfortable embracing change, facing fears and making new choices. The programs were well received all over the English speaking world. Even in Mexico and South America, although I had translators to help me in those countries.
During these years I did many things:
Diebold hired me to conduct a 27-city, one-day, seminar tour.
Wrote a book about how to market ATM machines to bank staff & consumers
Spoke at dozens of US national banking conventions & 6 European Electronic banking conferences in Scotland.
Published 24 articles in national banking magazines (remember those?)
Made training videos and programs for banks & corporations like Mastercard & IBM.
Lived & worked in England for almost a year, working for IBM, Building Societies & computer Service Centers
Did several weeks of work in Mexico & Columbia.
Note: I flew over a million miles, on American Airlines alone, happily doing this work.
Transitioned & expanded work: In the early 90‘s I started doing motivational speaking, coaching executives in speaking and presentation skills, helping them develop their own style and began mentoring sales people. In 1996 my world changed dramatically when I became a stepmom to a 5 year old boy who lived with me half of the time. With the desire to get to know my stepson and needing a break from 12 years of traveling, I set aside my international consulting career and instead worked locally mentoring sales people and caring for my new stepson whenever he was with us. As Dickens wrote, “It was the best of times, it was also the worst of times.” (Italics mine.)
Focus turned to Women then Stepmoms: In 2000, I became the relationship columnist for phenomenalwomen.com (3rd largest site for women at the time) and wrote a monthly column for 2 years. I also founded the support group called, “Stepmoms on a Mission®.” For 2 years, we met weekly, then monthly for another 3 years. SMOMS.org opened in 2002 to create a on-line community to support and teach women new ways to deal with the unfathomable stress so many women experience when their husband’s ex-wife or children are unwilling to have a kind or civil relationship with them.
Thanks to the wisdom and skills I’ve acquired from several experts & professional in over 1,100 hours of paid training since (2008) and the work I’ve done with thousands of stepmoms from around the world, I’ve developed insights, practical and proven tactics and emotional skills to pass along to any woman interested in becoming more aware and empowered as an individual, a wife and as a stepmom.
My approach to personal growth? Although I’m not a therapist by degree, you will learn a lot about psychology, relationships, boundaries, beliefs and communication skills as we work together on your unique situations and issues. One benefit of being a teacher & mentor and NOT a therapist, is that I will freely share my stories, feelings and experiences, including the lessons learned from 18 challenging years as a stepmom. Whether we work together privately one time or every week OR if you join me for a workshop or conference call on SMOMS.org, my approach is to help you learn at the pace you set for yourself. No contracts, just your commitment & mine to do our best each time we work together.
From personal experiences as both student and teacher, I believe that working with a trustworthy, honest, non-judgmental and patient teacher who believes in your potential for change, wisdom and happiness is the smoothest pathway for sustained growth and change. I believe what my Gramps told me when I first went out on my own in 1984, "Take advice only from those who have already done what you're trying to do." I've been there and if you read any of my 40+ articles at SMOMS.org. you’ll get a sense of my approach and you’ll know if working with me is a good fit for you. I welcome your calls, messages and emails.
Wishing you a trusted circle of compassionate, wise and supportive friends on your stepmom journey.
Please join one of our on-line groups for compassionate support and know I'm standing by to help, Cathryn