Ep 21: Catherine Rocheleau: Building a Successful Business Through Diversity

On this epsiode of Marketing for Good, Catherine Rocheleau joins erica to discuss the benefits of leading from behind the scenes, how to successfully network as an introvert and understanding and embracing the cycle of the event. They also talk about building a team of diverse backgrounds for a better team.

This is a transcript of Erica Mills Barnhart’s interview with Catherine Rocheleau on the Marketing for Good podcast. You can listen to the episode here and listen to more episodes on Apple Podcasts, or wherever you enjoy listening to podcasts. Enjoy!



people, leader, work, business, leadership, leading, purpose, triple bottom line, listeners, leadership role, introvert, talk, networking, feel, norm, inspires, hearing, opportunity, organization


Erica Mills Barnhart  01:26

Hi, Catherine, welcome to the show.


Catherine Rocheleau  01:28

Thanks. Okay, it’s so great to be here and I’m so excited to have this opportunity to chat.


Erica Mills Barnhart  01:34

I am I’m excited to have you on the show for very many, many, many reasons. We have many different directions and things to cover. But one of them is that you were based in my hometown of Vancouver, Canada. And this makes me happy.


Catherine Rocheleau  01:49

Oh, yes, I love Vancouver too.


Erica Mills Barnhart  01:51

Now, are you originally from there or did you make your way there?


Catherine Rocheleau  01:55

No, I made my way there. So I originally was born in Victoria. My dad was In the Navy, so obviously Victoria on Vancouver Island, about three hours from Vancouver, for those who don’t know, is a major naval city. And so that’s where I started my life. And then being a Navy brat, I had to travel across the country with my parents. And I ended up in Halifax in Nova Scotia on the East Coast, which is another major naval city. And, and so I did a lot of my growing up on the east coast. But I also had the fortunate ability to move to England. My dad was on exchange with the Royal Navy. So he worked there for three years and so I got to go to school there and to live and to travel.


Erica Mills Barnhart  02:42

And how old were you when you lived in England?


Catherine Rocheleau  02:45

I was in I was 12, 13, 14. Yes. Yeah. And so then I came back and we went back to Nova Scotia, I went through the rest of high school and university. I finished, I actually skipped a grade, so I finished university at 16 and or finished high school at 16 University at 20. And then I moved to Vancouver to do my internship because I started my career in dietetics. And I moved to Vancouver and loved it there. I do not like winter so I got there and that was it. And now I have a goal of moving back to Victoria. Because my parents now live there. And it’s like, okay, that’s a great place to go. I can be close and, and we have a lot of family friends and stuff in Victoria. Yeah,


Erica Mills Barnhart  03:37

Vancouver Island is breathtaking.


Catherine Rocheleau  03:39

It is. It’s beautiful. So yeah.


Erica Mills Barnhart  03:43

Okay, so I’m a little mentally stuck up on graduating from stuck up stuck on graduating from high school 16 and college from 20 I mean, I guess that yeah, that’s that just feels young like you were just thrown out into the world kind of…


Catherine Rocheleau  03:58

I was I was, but you know what I think that, you know, I mean, obviously, one of the things we have in common is is, you know, looking at how do you market yourself? How do you How are you a leader, you know, in what you do, and I mean, I literally I jumped in with two feet, I knew that I wanted to be in a leadership role. I only worship role. I mean, right from my first job, as a as a registered dietician, I was in a job where I was leading a team, I was interacting with a team of employees, and, you know, then had my colleagues and, and whatever. So, I’ve kind of that’s just kind of been my net natural. And then over the course of my career, you know, even getting into being self employed and in the field that I was in and I worked primarily in foodservice management that I was actually in something that was really quite unique and I was sort of a leader in in those areas and it been that way all the way along. And you know, I just keep pivoting and jumping. And I say I literally jumped from wave to wave. But I’m on that leadership edge of the wave. And then when everybody else gets on, I’m probably on to the next thing onto the night. It’s just kind of been the wave that I’ve always been.


Erica Mills Barnhart  05:17

I mean, that’s very interesting to me that you, as a very young woman said, and presumably said out loud, not just like to yourself, like I want to be in a leadership role. That’s very, that’s quite unusual.


Catherine Rocheleau  05:31

It probably it is. I think some of that came from while I was in university, while I was like it even in England, there were opportunities when you took a leadership role that just appealed to me. I’m not an extrovert. I’m very much an introvert. As a leader, being an introvert, you had to go about things differently. It wasn’t that I was out there like connecting with the world. I was making very strategic partnerships, I was making connections, but I was demonstrating my skills and oftentimes I had an extrovert who would partner with me and I would be leading from behind. So they would almost be perceived as the leader. But in fact, I would probably leading more, but face of it and so that actually has always worked to my my advantage. But when I was in unit when I was in university, I, you know, I’ve led the group for the within the faculty I was in, I also ended up on Student Council, I did all of those kinds of things, and I just organized because I saw the benefit of people coming together working together and and getting an outcome and and I was very outcome driven right from the get go. always have been. And I think when you’re very outcome driven, you tend to lead a little more, because because you want to see the results. Yeah. How do you do that by getting involved? And I also was very fortunate because When I moved back to Canada after England, my mother said to me because she knew that I was I wasn’t into sports. But she said, You need to get involved in something. That’s how you’re going to meet people. And by getting involved, and then people would have opportunities, and I go, Oh, well, I could do that. And so I think it was a way of me being able to get connections without within my introverted way, but getting connections that actually built what I wanted to see happen. Yeah, yeah. fortunate that I had that advice early on. And, you know, I go into things and like, networking, for me was really hard. But I learned, okay, just get involved in the organization, maybe sit at the reception desk or get on a committee early on, and all of a sudden, now you meet everybody, and now it makes it easy.


Erica Mills Barnhart  07:52

So that is a gem of a tip. I think for listeners, particularly those who are more introverted And, like networking just causes such anxiety because you’re like, I’ve talked to a room, there’s all these people. And to, I guess, think of it differently, it’s like, well, you could network by actually being of service and taking these roles where it’s a little more clear. And also, I mean, I like visualizing the receptionist. People come to you. And I think that’s one thing for introverts that is particularly challenging, like the idea that you’re gonna, like, march up to somebody and be like, Hi, I’m Catherine, you know, is terrifying.


Catherine Rocheleau  08:34

Absolutely and I mean, I my experience with networking, I remember those days where, you know, I would book you know, my seat for dinner at this meeting, I would drive myself there, but I would literally be like, so anxious and making myself sick, I get the parking lot, I’d actually physically get sick, and I would never go inside and I would turn around and run Home.


Erica Mills Barnhart  09:01

And that was fun? Not!


Catherine Rocheleau  09:05

And it was expensive, you know. But then, you know, but then I decided, Okay, if I get there, but I get there right at six o’clock, then I literally can walk in, pay my money sit down, and everything happened. I don’t have to do the networking, but you would meet the few people at your table much more comfortable. And then I give them one day, you know, somebody came late. So often I did this month after month, that was my success. And then as soon as it was finished, I was out of there. But you know what was really interesting because somebody said, you always come too late. And I said, Oh my goodness. I said, I really get upset. I tense and anxious about networking. And they said, well, any chance you’d like to work on the desk? And I went, yeah, I can help you. What that did is a it got me out of networking, but it got me meeting everybody. So with somebody who picked up on what I didn’t like, they couldn’t get people to work the desk because everybody wanted to do the networking. But what I ended up doing was working the desk getting to know everybody on the inside the organizing people as well as the people attending. And then I ended up moving up. And in that organization, I became president elect. Just in the time that I there, I never became president by choice.


Erica Mills Barnhart  10:27

I think Katherine, you’ve given listeners not only a gem of a tip for how to handle this, but really the gift of letting go of this idea that networking, by definition means mingling,and small talk. And some people love that, but so many people don’t. And so I just, thank you and thank you for being so honest about like being so anxious that you would get physically ill and then leave and I know that there are listeners who were like, I’ve done that.


Catherine Rocheleau  10:58

And a lot of people wouldn’t ever say that they did that.


Erica Mills Barnhart  11:01

Right, cuz who wants to admit that? So anyway, that’s so brave. And thank you. Especially like as leaders, you know, you’re like, no, somehow you’re supposed to magically love networking. Yeah, so many different ways.


Catherine Rocheleau  11:16

And you know what? I’m so committed to taking action so committed to helping others take action, how to get the results they want, that I’ve learned over the years. How do you market yourself as an employee? You know, as an introvert, how do you connect with people as an introvert? How do you do these things as an introvert, and how do you now pull out that slightly more extroverted part of yourself, use it and then be able to retract back into where your comfort zone is. And I think part of leadership is to me is you have to be willing to push outside your comfort zone, you have to be willing to grow and to experience and so it was part of marketing you have to push yourself out of your comfort zone. To really get there, and then you have to, but you have to lead yourself as well as your business. And then, you know, get the results that you’re looking for. So there’s different components there.


Erica Mills Barnhart  12:13

Yeah, and what I’m also hearing how strategic you are, and I’m gonna use the word planful. Even I’m not even sure that that’s technically a word, but because one of the things so I skew towards being an introvert, definitely more with each passing day, week and year. And one of the things that I share is so going to networking events, so I can, I can do it, but you know, it’s I’m tired after. So one of the things I do is plan for that, right? Because because you have so much in the tank and you know that it’s going to deplete you. What are you going to do after the event? and and you know, really knowing as a leader, and we’ll talk about the term leader and what that means. What do you need, what’s the full cycle because it’s not just showing up at the event. For extroverts, you need to plan for like, you’re gonna have a plummeting moment after you’re like, we’re all the people I liked all the people and the people have left, you know, because they gave you energy. Introverts are like oh my god, where’s you know, where’s my book, where’s my cup of tea. So just, it’s a full cycle deal that doesn’t end at the end of the event or whatever.


Catherine Rocheleau  13:17

And, and that’s where like, knowing yourself, knowing yourself what you can do, it’s not uncommon for me to go to say, a live three day event. And when we have meal breaks, I take off and go have a nap. Yeah, that’s how I survived. Or, you know, I find ways of, you know, like, I have my breakfast in my room. So I always travel and I buy breakfast items, and I have them in my room, because then I can go downstairs like right on time, but I’ve had that morning to kind of get myself ready. And I can expend the energy. And then I can retract deck and have that quiet time and then I can go out again, and there are some days where people go, I can’t believe you. You’re introvert, well, I can go for so long. And then I crashed. And every live event whether I’m like I work live events now online, I do coaching for some of some people through their events. But you know what, the two days after the event, I have to book a really slow two days because that’s my time when I’m going to crash. That’s my time when I have to find a way of recharging. And not always can I take that time completely off, my business requires me to continue. But I can take them as slow days, I might take my appointments much later, or I end my day much earlier. And then I have what I call my my downtime, recharge. And then I can go again so I can turn. I’ve now learned that okay, turn on that energy and then turn it off. Cooper, eight, rejuvenate, refresh yourself and then hit your hip go again. And that’s just part of getting results I want getting getting the results my clients need, as well as you know, like, if I’m on an event like this with a podcast, I really want to give my best 100% of the time, how do I show up with 100% and then be able to recharge for the next time I have to do that. And you know, and you find those times you find that energy cycle, but you do you have to be strategic, you have to plan for it. But one of the other things that I’d like to share is that when I go to a networking event, my goal is not to meet everybody in the room. Yeah, yeah, my my goal may be to meet three really good connection. That’s my goal. Three good connections. I don’t care about I don’t need more than that. But if I go to make three good connections, I feel really good. I haven’t expanded more energy or effort than what I could have the capacity to do, but I can do a really good job. I can now follow up with them. Whereas some people, they’re out there to maximize the number of cards they could collect, or the number of people they can talk to. And I just always say that’s never worked for me.


Erica Mills Barnhart  16:08

Yeah. And an observation, which is, this isn’t about good or bad. It’s about how are you wired? How can you show up? Because so much of leadership is how can you be fully present?


Catherine Rocheleau  16:19



Erica Mills Barnhart  16:21

So if you’re somebody who’s listening, and you’re like, well, but I’m the person who likes to gather all the cards, great. Go gather all the cards, because because Katherine’s the Catherine’s or the world meet you in order to complement and one of the themes I’m hearing from you throughout your career is this kind of idea of leading from behind, and I was I was curious how you got into coaching, but actually hearing you talk about your career. I’m like, this makes perfect sense. Yes. I love this description of you and your work, which is “if corporate teams are orchestras trying to make music, Catherine is the bandleader helping them hit all the high notes, all the right notes, I put in my high notes. Yeah, I suppose whatever syncopation whatever is gonna happen little pauses. I love that one. Because it’s, you know, we can see that and sort of feel it. Does that feel true to you about how you try to work with corporate teams and leaders?


Catherine Rocheleau  17:14

Yes, because I will often orchestrate how people can come together what they can do. So I work with the leader, but I also work with each member of the team. I believe that if we can get this two way, communication is two way built of trust. And I think teamwork really doesn’t include that, then when we can do that. I, my philosophy is that as a leader, if you can build the trust, build the communication and, and and support your team, they’re going to do the same in reverse. And I’ve learned that firsthand, that sort of almost seemed my natural style. And now when I work with with lead who, you know, some have been introvert some have been extrovert some have been, you know if you use the diff profiles like some are dominance, but there are there their dominance but their staff may be you know, steadies and conscientious, well, they’re totally different styles, they have different communication, different thinking different operational style. How do we bridge that gap so that we create what we want. And so for me when I learned, I didn’t have to be the leader. Yes, I had the title as director or whatever. But I didn’t have to be the safe person.


Erica Mills Barnhart  18:37

I don’t have to be a capital L leader to lead.


Catherine Rocheleau  18:39

no, I could lead from behind. I could let whoever needed to be the person in the front. I could let them be in the front that never undermined what I was capable of. And I was able to support them assist them direct, but in a way that was more collaborative was more connected and got the results we were looking for. Yeah, just like this, like an orchestra director does. I mean, they’re directing everybody. But you know, each of those musicians knows exactly what to do. And they’re going to do their own thing, but they’re going to keep their eye on the leader. Because that’s what makes the beautiful music.


Erica Mills Barnhart  19:23

So it makes it come together. I did you play an orchestra by the way?


Catherine Rocheleau  19:27

No, I’m not musical at all.


Erica Mills Barnhart  19:29

I was just curious. I played oboe for a really long time. Cool. I was I was like the most mediocre. Principal oboist you ever did meet I was not particularly gifted or good. But it gives you great insight into kind of this idea of of independently doing your thing like to independently counting and then it all coming together which which is which is cool. For sure. So we’ve Okay, so we’ve definitions are important. We’ve used the word you know, we talked about leadership and leaders. So one of the and that whole basket of words, you know, there’s leadership, and there’s leading, leader capital L, and little l, all of these things. I think they’re all kind of a bit slippery. So one of the things that we were going back and forth on when we were introduced was this idea. You know, I wonder if leadership has a marketing problem? Before we can answer that, I think we have to define leadership. And so one of the I study language, it’s one of the things I do, and when I was looking at the idea of leadership, so etymologically speaking, if we go way, way, way back, it actually meant to see one’s own way. So it had nothing to do with other people, which I find superduper fascinating. Because the way we hear it now, I think, in general, is you know, by definition, there’s like other people are by default, there’s other people. So I’m very curious about like, how does that original definition land for you and then how do you stack that up against the you know, modern day definition and reality of leading, it’s fairly rare to have somebody refer to, you know, I guess their thought leadership and you can like think deep thoughts um and have it not really involved with leading other people. But beyond that, I can’t think of examples. So how does it land and how does it stack up given your experience?


Catherine Rocheleau  21:18

yeah, I think you know, finding your own way you have to if you’re a business owner, or if you’re sort of pushing through into new areas, that’s what leaders do, they find their own way, and other people don’t have that skill set. So if you can find your way, other people will follow behind you, that sort of is natural for human nature. So if you are a thought leader, a thought leader is somebody who brings the idea of knowledge and brings it forward in a way that it demonstrates them as having found their way having sort of have demonstrated their skills and ability and their understanding on a certain topic at an elevated level. And now people want to follow that person because they see them as an expert in that one area. And so you thought leadership is more than just knowing a topic. It’s, you’ve, you’ve almost proven it at the same time. So that’s where that’s why we often hear now is, you know, are you writing books? Are you doing, you know, what, what kind of media media exposure Are you getting? What kind of work have you done? What are the results you’ve got, that builds your thought leadership component. But you know what, there are lots of people who are great at putting stuff out, but they’re no good at implementing. I personally believe, yes, you can, you can, in order to be a really good leader. You not only have to be able to get the knowledge but you have to be willing to share it and to help others to follow in your footsteps. And that to me is where we go from a leader finding their own way to a leader being what is now believed to be a leader who is somebody who can help others find their right way through the same path or a parallel path or a perpendicular path, whatever works for them to get to the results. So it you know, if I think about teams in a business, we have our vision, mission, our values, our purpose in our businesses. That’s what that’s supposed to be our guiding star. That’s what we’re supposed to be doing. You know, you need that North Star, when everybody kind of buys into that North Star as your your vision and your purpose. Now, what happens is, we work the mission well, as a leader, you’re going to help people to work the mission, which is the how you get to your vision, which is that Northstar, and it’s keeping you on the right path. So as a business leader, That’s what you’re doing. Whether you’re an employee, whether you’re in a church group, whether you’re in, you know, whether you’re in, you know, Boy Scout,s you’re still going to have that leadership capacity to be able to take you forward. And now what happens is people will follow. But your goal as a leader is to not shine above them, but to help them shine individually and collectively with you. Yeah, yeah, it’s not separate.


Erica Mills Barnhart  24:31

Yeah. And so I think one of the things that, you know, if we think about a big L leader versus a little l leader, especially now the big L leaders implied in that is that you have positional authority. So you have the title or you know, you’re in charge of the budget, or there’s something about that. And I would say one of the things that gives me pause about big  L leadership is that it often feels exclusive and are like, out of reach for certain folks, I’m thinking particularly marginalized, you know, those are in marginalized communities, leaders of color, that like, structurally, it feels out of the gate, kind of either harder to get to or more challenging than if you’re white, privileged some of these other things. So there’s some, like structural barriers to getting to big L leadership. And so that’s, you know, when I say does leadership have a marketing problem, part of what I’m sort of trying to poke at is, is there a way to recast how we talk to and I’m thinking next generation right so I, you know, teach at University of Washington. So I have these students and when I think about them, or channel them like what can we be saying about leadership, big l or little L, but particularly big L, because that does come with some privilege. How do we how do we, how do we reframe it? How can we talk about it differently and think about it differently so that you know down the road, there’s not that sort of exclusive club feel to it, and we remove some of these structural barriers.


Catherine Rocheleau  26:08

And you know what, I think you’ve touched on a topic that when when I look at impact business models, and when I look at, at how we are seeing a shift in the way that businesses are pulled together, I believe that leadership is not a title, I believe it’s, it’s a way of being it’s a way of moving and interacting. Some there are lots of people who get promoted into leadership jobs, because they were maybe the brightest or they they were the most visible. There are lots of people who are less visible, but probably more capable. And what you’re seeing a little bit more is that in order to get into leadership roles, particularly in businesses that are more focused on the well being have their people within their their within their organization that they’re now recognizing that just because you were maybe the top salesman or you were the most visible and sat on most committees didn’t necessarily mean you were the best with developing and nurturing the people. And what that created with silos. It created fractionalized teams. It created divisiveness. And now what we’re looking at is leadership is now all about collaboration. And that takes a totally different skill set a totally different mindset. And a totally different way of being that has, like for me has been my norm. I mean, I’m very fortunate living in Vancouver, I have worked with over decades, every different cultural group I can think of and I’ve had people in, in all different sectors. That to me became my strength. I didn’t see people as beyond, okay, what’s inside them? I see beyond a color of a skin or a stereotype. I really work hard at trying to recognize what what is inside what is the quality of the content inside of the person and help bring that out. And it’s been interesting because as we kind of walk through this change that we’re starting to see becoming more visible, that some of the things that for me seemed like such common sense, is, you know, what, why would that stopped somebody but now I’m recognizing Okay, it is stopping, I need to better understand that so that I can now advocate on their behalf. So I can take a leadership role as a leader for somebody else, and help them get where they need to go by being an advocate and a partner rather than as that superior.


Erica Mills Barnhart  29:00

Yeah, and I’m also hearing you bringing great intentionality to using your privilege, because of the positions you hold and the color of your skin. And this is one thing I do, I want to sort of definitely call out that the history of race and racism in Canada is very, very different than it is the United States. It is so I think, you know, for listeners in Canada, because I know we have so much makes me happy. You know, there, this will land differently on your ears, listeners, depending on where you grew up. And so just the history super different. And the moment that we’re having in the United States is going to have a trickle trickle effect in many directions, I hope. And, and it’s just, it’s different.


Catherine Rocheleau  29:46

And, you know, I totally, I totally understand that and it’s interesting. I’ve had some amazing conversations with some Americans of all different nationalities are different ethnic backgrounds and and whatever and it’s been really interesting. For me to get more of an understanding of where they’re coming from, because as I work with people because I work with people in the US, as well as in Canada, in other places, trying to get my head around, where, how to position this, but I still come at it from let treat, you know, let’s look at how can we bring out the best of each person, and then work collaboratively to do that. And gradually by our actions, we’re going to change the norms. And sometimes, you know, I love that it’s an open conversation. Now, I love that people, there are enough people that are wanting to see change, that the people who don’t want to see change are now being out, out, out voiced and the more that we can raise that awareness, the more we can get that common bridge, the better it’s going to be and all it takes is calling people out Demonstrating walking your talk and you really using your business as a force for good to support these things to show people that you know what, I can have a phenomenal business. And yes, I can have people of all different ethnicities and different colors of skin and different backgrounds. And I can still have a really strong really cohesive team that worked well and delivers what it is I need to be delivering.


Erica Mills Barnhart  31:25

And actually to put a finer point on that what the research will tell us is that because of that diversity, you are in fact stronger. Yes. And this is your you are more profitable, you are more powerful, you are more pretty much everything that’s positive in terms of business and humanity. By definition of diversity. There’s a gentleman here in the Seattle area, Mozart Guerrier, and he is the executive director of an organization called 21 Progress and he was on a panel and a couple of years ago and I will never forget him saying you know, people ask me like why are you so in favor of diversity. And I remember him say, “Because there’s no downside.”


Catherine Rocheleau  32:01



Erica Mills Barnhart  32:01

There’s no downside. There’s no downside, except the downside of people individually being afraid of it. Yeah. And you know, the, you know, that’s on each individual to to work through. But literally all of the data will say to you, it’s not like, oh, we’re doing this and we’re still doing well. It’s like we’re doing this. And by the way, this makes us more profitable, stronger, and more compassionate, more kind. So interesting.


Catherine Rocheleau  32:27

And the more you get to know somebody as a person, the more you interact with them, the more you understand them, the more that you realize how similar we are. And it is those we want to celebrate our differences together, not to use them to divide us and you know, it’s interesting, I worked with one client, I, they I went in I was helping the the the leader of that department to really improved the efficiency of their department. They they really were fraction I factionalized. And when I looked at it, I thought, you know what, I have one ethnic group here. I have one ethnic group here. I have one ethnic group here. No wonder we’re not chatting. And so what I did was I literally said, we need to diversify the team. And they’re like, What do you mean? I said, clunk. Here’s my three groups. We need to break that up. We need to hire people who are not part of these ethnicities. And we need to start mixing them up, we need to cross training them, so that now they have to work together. They they have, they can, you know, they mix and match. They were like, horrified that I would even think that because they thought everything was working so well, because they all understood each other. Well, they had infighting within each cultural group. But then they had in, they had fighting between cultural groups. I said, it was bizarre. I wish and I was out to break all of those silos. I was out to break all of those barriers. And that’s literally what I worked with them on for six solid months to try to, you know, add somebody laughs let’s try to bring somebody different in and then support that new person who wasn’t part of the inner circle to break into that and to be good at what they did, but to have everybody else welcome them into understand. And now let’s do that between sections of our department and within sections of the types of tasks we do. And that was like, it was a big challenge.


Erica Mills Barnhart  34:31

That’s just that’s culture change, like it is deep culture change. And I think there’s that there’s an important piece to mention as we think about leadership and organizational context and culture, which is historically, like we’re out of whack, right? Because biologically, what we understand is how to be in tribes. Yeah, so we have a like, in our DNA is this idea that there are in groups and out groups and that helped us survive for a moment. nia. So this whole idea of this strength through diversity on a biological level is kind of like newness for our brains. So I love this example that you bring up because it’s like, yeah,this is new. But now in the in the world in which we live, tribalism doesn’t serve in the same way. And that doesn’t mean that’s not to say that there aren’t that there aren’t strengths to that and obvious reasons to stay within however you describe tribe for you. And if we’re looking at it in an organizational context, which I think you have to you know, you’ve got a nod to like millennia of survivalism and biology and how it’s playing out and as a leader of the organization.


Catherine Rocheleau  35:45

And you want to celebrate that you want to celebrate your origins, you want to celebrate your your uniqueness, and that empathy then when you can bring everybody together in a diverse situation. Recognize that you know, what we All, a lot of us, like think can act and behave the same with slight differences. But there are some a lot of commonalities in there. You know, within any, you know, if you look at like, the Black Lives Matter movement, I mean, they have strong leaders, they have strong communicators, they have strong, you know, everything. And so why shouldn’t they be just as recognized as if it was white or Latino, or, you know, anywhere or, you know, whatever, it doesn’t matter, Chinese Asiatic Indian, you know, we have all of these. So I always think, okay, we can do all of this. Because ultimately, we often have the same ideas. We just have differences. Let’s celebrate those differences. But then when we can break down these silos that make me and you different, and part of that is we have to push people outside their comfort zone, and that goes both ways. And that’s what human nature doesn’t like to do.


Erica Mills Barnhart  36:57

So Catherine, I’m very curious about your thoughts. We still we’re recording this under the backdrop of the global pandemic that is COVID. And there’s such widespread anxiety because of that. So if you think about Maslow’s hierarchy, I feel like and you know, when I’m reading and listening, what seems to be emerging is, you know, a sort of across the board as individuals being lower on Maslow’s hierarchy, because we just don’t have those basic sense of safety doesn’t have to be there. And I’m curious if you’re seeing like a, an increased aversion or fear or whatever word you want to use, to the, to this idea of getting outside your comfort zone, because it feels like all of us have just been kicked outside of our comfort zones in so many ways. And so we can’t do much about it. So I’m just curious what you’re seeing if anything in that regard.


Catherine Rocheleau  37:52

You know, I haven’t seen I have seen some people who are retracting, but interestingly enough, with So, with the fact that we all have been kicked, this isn’t any one group, this is everybody, everybody got kicked backwards. I think what this does is open up a door of opportunity, and some are walking through that door at different rates. But I think what you’re going to do is see more and more people walking through that door. And the people that will get left behind behind are the ones that aren’t embracing. And so it was interesting. I was just hearing just before we went on air is that there was a gentleman that was being interviewed. And he was talking about the fact that with Black Lives Matter coming up now, while we’re in a pandemic, has the capability of us shifting way more, probably more way more effectively and probably faster than at any time in history. Since, you know, slavery was like the prime norm. And and it was interesting because I’m thinking how does that happen? And my brain kind of got thinking, but you think it is because when you put people off balance, they find balance, but it’s not always the same balance. It’s like having a three legged stool, you could put that third leg, it doesn’t have to be in exactly the same spot. It’ll just go back and it will hold you stable.


Erica Mills Barnhart  39:27

So it was part of what they were saying that because of the global pandemic, and because certain opportunities simply aren’t available to us, by definition, we need to be looking for different a different leg to the stool because the previous one is no longer there?


Catherine Rocheleau  39:40



Erica Mills Barnhart  39:40

Okay. Yeah. Yeah, I think behind that.


Catherine Rocheleau  39:43

And so, you know, when you think about it, you know, now it’s like, okay, we’re all we’ve all been equalized, in a way not completely, but there’s more of an equalization because, yes, certain certain groups have been affected more, and I’m not discounting…


Erica Mills Barnhart  40:00

Yeah, I think it’s important to say that BIPOC communities have been disproportationality negatively impacted, at least in the United States.


Catherine Rocheleau  40:03

I totally realized that, like, every every single country in the world is being affected. And you know some sectors more than others, and in the severity and in the frequency. However, what this has done is it’s upset the norm because people who thought that they would be immune or not, they thought this was only for the poor or only for the blacks or only for the Asians or only for third world countries, that has no law that no longer can can stand. We know that we know that unequivocally with all of the rapidness that this happened. It didn’t happen in just one country. It happened globally. This is something that has changed the whole face of what we’re facing. Now what we want to do is look at how can we put this back together like a jigsaw puzzle, but put it back together better than what we had it and this is an option. tunity for leaders in all different areas and for diversity to become so prevalent, and for acceptance of diversity, and to ensure that everybody’s life matters, and that we all have a role to play, and that we all have this opportunity. All of us as leaders, anybody who sees themselves as a leader, anybody who sees himself as wanting to have a world better than the way we found it has an opportunity to now advocate to demonstrate to to implement exactly these issues in a way that we have never ever had before.


Erica Mills Barnhart  41:43

And I mean, I hope that one of the things that will make that possible because I would go one step further and say there’s an opportunity. My one step further would be I think there’s no obligation at this point in time like we no longer deny certain things and so, if you are to lead with integrity, then it is an obligation to make sure that the jigsaw puzzle gets put back together, more equitably. And I guess what I hope that this message, which I want to go back to is, is this idea of this, there’s there’s no downside, like, if you were in a for profit company and you’re like “What about the profits?”, they’re going to get more. Yeah. Like, that’s what every scrap of data is going to say. So I hope that that emboldens people, because I do I do sense. And I feel and you know, I own sometimes I still have these moments of feeling it, which is because you know, as humans, we crave progress and we resist change. It’s like what was on the other side, what that look like. So just knowing that, that, that it’s, you know, we have proof that it’s going to be better and being brave and fearless in the face of it and and know that also we’re going to stumble and get it wrong and, and that that’s going to be part of the part of the journey for all of us, right?


Catherine Rocheleau  42:56

And you know, and I think that’s important is yes, we are going to to stumble, it’s not going to be right. And really what we’re looking at is that when we think about an impact business model, so that’s an impact business model is a business model where all shareholders have to be taken care of. So that’s your shareholders, your employees, your customers, your suppliers, your community and the planet. The triple bottom line which I, I use a little I put my fingers together into a little triangle. That is the triple bottom line. But to me, that’s a triple when you’re helping people. That’s the people in your organizations and people in your community and the people in the world, you’re going to be helping your profit. What that means is that you’re going to have a strong thriving business, and you’re going to use that business for good. And then you’re going to also help the planet you’re no longer is it okay for company to use their business at the expense of everything else. But then the anchor point to that in my model is your purpose. If you’re a purpose driven business owner, a purpose driven leader, you have empathy, you have a way of being you have a way of trying to increase all of these things. So diversity, pay equity, making sure people are taken care of making sure that people have what they need. Because when you do that, you are going to build a much stronger team, that training team is going to be more engaged, there’s going to be less turnover, there’s going to be more innovation, there’s going to be better customer service. What does that do to your business? It increases your profit.


Erica Mills Barnhart  44:42

By the way, it’s much easier to market this. Absolutely, because I feel like I’m referencing a lot of research and data today. But that and you know, this varies a little bit but you know, 82% of consumers would prefer, all things being equal. So quality being equal, right? They would prefer to purchase from a company that has this triple win framework. By the way, I really hope that we can rebrand the idea of the triple bottom line because that feels heavy. It’s like one’s not enough? I need three to manage…that we could go from triple bottom line to like the triple win company or something. I don’t know, Catherine, I think you’re onto something there.


Catherine Rocheleau  45:20

Yeah, well, that’s that’s what I use all the time. And so I always say every decision you have has to have a triple win. It has to fit that model. It has to be on purpose. It has to fit in, you know, it has to have a win. Now, some things are going to have a little bit more of a balance. But I honestly believe that when we run our businesses that way, and what the data has shown is that impact businesses not only attract more clients, but more loyal clients and we all want the loyal clients because they’re the ones that buy from us or less press price sensitive, and they become a raving fans and talk about us in a positive way to get more people to come, that we need to do to communities want more impact related businesses, because they want to be a part, they want their companies to be a part of the community, not just an existence that, well, I’m just here until, you know, my resource runs out, and then I’m off to the next place where I get a tax break. But when you run your business that way, an impact business model has been demonstrated time and time again, to be more resilient, and more effective in every single economic condition that it faces, then those businesses that are just profit driven.


Erica Mills Barnhart  46:41

That’s incredible, actually, so I want to underline that verbally. Because it’s podcast, just to say, you know, we’re hearing so much about resilience, and I think folks feeling a little bit behind the curve since this wasn’t necessarily the standard mindset, but know that you You can make the transition and that then you will become more resilient over time. I think that’s quite powerful, even though maybe it feels a little daunting to folks, but you have an ebook that I think might be able to help which is: “How to be how to be a great purpose driven leader: leading on point and on purpose”.


Catherine Rocheleau  47:17

Yes, yes. And in that ebook, I talked through what it means to be a purpose driven leader,how that that mindset of having a purpose is sharing your purpose, working your purpose and aligning that with your team, with your company but sticking to your own purpose will actually create that that strength that you’ll never know any other way.


Erica Mills Barnhart  47:42

Okay, so if folks are listening and you’re like, ahhhhh, I don’t know about that. You know, lots of we have listeners who work for nonprofits and foundations and B corpse and for profit businesses LLCs, all the tax statuses. And I think purpose is kind of taking on new meaning as well. I had Dr. Akhtar Badshah on on a previous episode and he talks he has a new book coming out. And he talks a lot about shifting from the me to the we want mindset and this reminds me that because he really is about, you know, all of that rules don’t have any common purpose shared purpose that aligns with individual purpose and I think we’re all seeing just such a yen for that now so we will make sure to put a link in the show notes to the ebook.


Catherine Rocheleau  48:31

That would be great. And you know, it’s starting the dialogue. You know, when I say when people have a purpose, this is your like more than just a why this is this becomes your driving force. Your purpose is why you do what you do, why you want to make a difference why you want to be a leader, and then that you want to make a difference. And there are ways we can all take that on. And it doesn’t have to be really foreign. It means making tiny change. Consistently to advance through forward, but you’re, you’re on a path that really kind of gets you there. And it really does shift you from me too weak. And I think the more we think about all of us collectively, as leaders, we have the ability to shift people’s thinking the way they behave, and to create that movement. And when we can create movement where we’re engaging in positive change, and that’s ultimately and when you think about it, B corpse, you know, which of course is my goal for my company is to become certified as a B Corp. And so I’m, you know, I help other people go through that certification process. But what it does is it helps people focus on all of those triple wins, to get it into the core operation of your business, if you can get it into the core of your business. Everything else just kind of grows from there, but it forces you to keep re looking at it and going back and that Where you can create that ignition point of change and opportunity in this new reality that we’re facing, seeing, and it’s going to change anytime soon. So we might as well look at what we’re facing.


Erica Mills Barnhart  50:12

But I love that you’re mentioning operationalizing, all of this. So I do a lot of work with organizations drafting mission mission value statements, it’s kind of my bread and butter. I love them. But I love them because when because I’ve seen so many times when organizations coalesce around that in a really is like, Oh, you know, on the bad days, we’re all gonna have bad days, and then your teams in a bad day. And the idea is that you could go back to it and sort of say, you know, remember, this is why we’re doing this. And it can kind of, I think, kind of see you through that. But I think you know, a follow up conversation for another podcast is I think getting into that tactical like okay, that’s all well and good and very aspirational. And it’s in the operationalizing of that’s like the the mission vision value statements. I think that’s kind of the tip of, you know, the tip of the iceberg. And then there’s all of these things that are underneath. And sometimes that is about culture change, which means, you know, sort of like, seemingly, I’m saying boring sort of things like, you know, so what’s in your handbook. Like when you onboard somebody? What do you say? Yeah, you know, what is when you interview them even before you onboard them, like what does all that look like is so important. So but I’m mindful of time. So conversation for another day. I like to ask every guest, this final question. So again, I look at words. And so the the original meaning of the word inspire means to take a breath, this breath in, and then motivation is about taking action. So we need both inspiration and motivation. They go hand in hand. So I’m curious what inspires you and what keeps you motivated to do the work you do?


Catherine Rocheleau  51:47

I love to see people thrive. I love to see people thrive and do more do better to get to be the best they possibly can. That motivates me. Every time I work with teams, every time I work with leaders, every time I work on anything that almost motivates me to do it again and again and again. So I love that. So it’s almost like it’s a externally internally driven motivation. When I do bet when I do better, I know I’ve helped somebody, when other people do better than that motivates me to help them more. So it creates that and what inspires me is to see people take on new challenges take on new opportunities, that and for others to be sharing their their what they’ve learned, in a way that we can get that knowledge out there because make it the norm instead of the unknown. And I want to see everyone have the opportunity. So my vision for me and my company is that every business is profitable and thriving, that it’s a great place to work and that they make an impact in the world. That is my driving force that inspires me. It motivates me in every aspect of my business. But when I’m at home when I’m just me and not doing my business, I want to see change happen I want to be helped make it happen. And I want to help those that are struggling. And because I have that capability, so for me, it just becomes like, all mixed in together. And I believe that’s what inspires and motivates me to keep on going day after day. Even when I feel like somebody kicked me in the teeth. I just, I have this resilience that just says just get up and keep doing it.


Erica Mills Barnhart  53:36

After you’ve after you’ve recharged and whatever introverted way calls to you, right?


Catherine Rocheleau  53:43

Exactly. But you know what, I can do this in my own way and I can do it. And quiet leadership often is a really cool way. Because a lot of times introverted leaders will do things because it’s the right thing to do. Or if it’s good for everybody else, that it’s not all, think if you can shift your leadership from not being about you. So again, going back to what we talked about earlier, it’s not about you has nothing to do with you, either than you might be motivated to help make the change happen. But it’s all about everybody else. And when you can shift your thinking, to doing that, I think we all have the ability to get a whole lot more done a lot faster, and with a lot better results.


Erica Mills Barnhart  54:29

Yes, agreed. And again, if you’re running a triple win operation that is way easier to market than something else. Oh, Catherine, thank you so much for being here for sharing all your wisdom. And it’s been truly wonderful. Thank you, listeners, for being here with us, along for the ride as always. Do good, be well, and we will see you next time.


Catherine Rocheleau  54:53

Thank you. Bye bye.

Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?