“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Hope Happens with Catherine De Vrye
Catherine De Vrye started life in an orphanage in Canada. She was adopted by loving parents and then lost them both to cancer within a year of each other. Following their untimely deaths Catherine arrived in Australia, despondent, with nothing but a backpack and $200.
Today Catherine is a best-selling author and motivational speaker who has worked with business leaders and elite athletes around the world. A keen sportswoman herself, she's cycled over the Andes, climbed 20,000 feet to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro and in December 2001 went climbing in the Antarctic. Catherine also had one of her dreams realised when she was given the honour of carrying the Olympic torch on the Opening Day of the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
The former Australian Executive Woman of the Year is well known for her number one best-selling business books, Good Service is Good Business and Hot Lemon and Honey. Her latest best-seller Hope Happens! is a beautifully presented gift book featuring her own photographs from around the world, alongside her favourite inspirational quotes. Catherine's book is a tribute to the way in which hope brings healing and happiness to our lives.
What challenges have you faced on your road to success?
Like all of us, there have been challenges along the way. But I try to think of every problem as an opportunity in disguise sometimes, very heavy disguise!
What made you decide to set up your own publishing company?
I'd published six books with major international publishing companies and enjoyed considerable success with a couple of them one book becoming a number one best-seller on the Dymocks list.
However, I realised that a large company was unlikely to get Hope Happens! published within the time frame I wanted and I also wanted total editorial control over the contents. So I sold some bank shares to invest in what was essentially a self-publishing venture. I decided to invest in myself rather than the blue chip bank shares. Sure, it was a huge gamble, but I'm pleased to report the book is already in a second print run after only six weeks. If anyone had told me how much work would be involved, I wouldn't have believed them.
Like any entrepreneurial venture, there's been an incredible learning curve with Everest Press, and I felt there were times that I should have been wearing safety ropes. I thought of changing the name to Never Rest Press.
Can you offer any advice to women looking to set up their own business?
Any small business venture (or adventure) is akin to climbing a mountain. It's important to set your sights high, realise that it's a long, hard slog and sometimes it can only be attained by taking three steps forward and two back, and knowing there is a risk but managing that risk prudently with a strong support team behind you, in an ever changing climate of uncertainty. And when you're halfway up a peak, you always think, 'I should have prepared more. No one told me it would be this hard.'
There has been the unexpected workload of getting the little things right behind the scenes, as I firmly believe that in publishing or any venture, bigger isn't necessarily better. Only better is better. The best decision I made was to surround myself with an incredibly talented and diverse team.
Who or what has inspired you in your life?
As a professional speaker, I am fortunate to meet many household names in sport, entertainment, business and politics. Sir Edmund Hillary, who provided a jacket comment for my last book, was a childhood hero. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I'd meet the man who not only was the first to climb Everest but has built over 20 schools and hospitals in Nepal. As he so eloquently says, it wasn't the footprint he left on Everest that was as important as what that footprint has allowed him to do. He's an inspiration because he's put so much back into the community and remains so incredibly humble.
Where did the idea for your latest book come from?
I sat in the lounge of Brisbane Airport on September 11, 2001, having just addressed the World Airline Entertainment Association. I felt incredibly sad and numb.
In addition this global tragedy, a friend phoned to say her mother had died. Certainly, she shared compassion with thousands of people on the other side of the world, but the loss of one life weighed far heavier on her mind.
I couldn't help but think that, undoubtedly, global tragedy impacts on us all in various ways, from the personal to the economic. Yet, ultimately, it's the everyday tragedies in life that cause us the greatest grief, wherever we live on the globe.
I've collected motivational quotes, poems and stories since my grandfather died when I was 16. As I was an only child, he had been my confidante and best friend, and when my parents passed away a few years later I revisited those initial inscriptions in my diary and have since added to them over the years.
Even though I had not lost any loved ones on September 11 and it has been over a quarter of a century since my parents passed away, I felt a strangely similar sense of disbelief and sadness. So once again I turned to the pages of my diary, searching for words of encouragement and scribbling some thoughts. Before I knew it, I was gathering them into Hope Happens! Words of Encouragement for Tough Times to hopefully help others work through their tough times, faster than I did mine.
Interviewed by Meghann Dengate, Publicist at Mediaworks International.