Brand voice meets actual voice.
Hi. I’m Cate and I’m related to Abraham Lincoln.
You’d think that being a descendent of one of the most famous orators of all time is what would have given me the idea to empower others to use their voices, but no. It’s really just a fun fact I share when people ask me to share fun facts. And when I’m not exactly sure how to start a web page about myself.
I knew I had to teach people — specifically fellow creatives — how to speak when I was called to do it. Quite literally, on the phone. By friends who had job interviews coming up, who were going on podcasts, who told me things like, “I always get more clients/followers/exposure when I give a talk, but I hate it so much; what do I do?!”
So I would come over and we would work, and then they would get the job, rock the podcast, give the talk and feel like a champ.
I wondered if there were other people out there approaching speaking and communication the way that I was. A troubling deep dive into the offerings on the Internet told me that the answer was decidedly no. (Case in point: ZOMG.)
I have smart friends. They could see the skill set, intuition, the personal journey (oh boy, I’ve used the word “journey” on my own page) that all intersect right at the center of this work.
To flesh those out for you, in a few short paragraphs:
I grew up acting, giving speeches, and being told to use my “inside voice” constantly. When I found out I could study those things in college, I did — I got a degree in Communication from Northwestern University and majored in Theater and English. After working as an actor in New York, I went back to school and got my MFA in Acting at UC San Diego/La Jolla Playhouse, where I studied voice and speech in depth for three years and taught Public Speaking. That led to teaching voice and speech to groups, Yoga instructors, executives, and friends.
Things were going pretty well after graduate school until I got a particularly brutal acting job that seemed to mysteriously steal all of my confidence and joy onstage. The performance anxiety, cold sweats, and general sense of being bodysnatched that my non-actor friends had complained about? I got them all. At the time I thought I’d developed some rare form of late-onset stage fright, but I hadn’t. A lot of searching and inner work (therapy, hypnotherapy, sound baths, tarot — I’ve tried it all), I realized I had lost my power — and with it, my voice. And in order to get it back, I had to deepen my understanding of what it means to speak the truth. And to figure out for myself what that truth even was.
As I set out on that journey (help me), I fell fast and furiously into a new line of work: brand voice. I began writing for all kinds of creative companies, helping them discover and elevate how they talk to their customers and communities. I began to study how people communicate within these companies, both collectively and individually — how they champion what they do, what kind of feedback they receive, and where they get stuck. And then I started a podcast, talking with many, many people about their lives and work.
Through all of this, and the process (really just another word for “journey,” let’s be honest) of getting my mojo back onstage, it became clear to me the work that needed to be done — and that I was the one to help others do it.
If you’ve read this far, I have a good feeling it’s work you’ve been wanting to do.
I won’t ask you to go on a journey with me. But I will suggest you click here to read more about it.