November Sister Spotlight: Catherine Paour
Updated: Jan 10
One of our 2019 #Upgrades for our Every Heart Sister Membership is our new Sister Spotlight! Every single month we will feature one of our valued members and share some of what makes their HEART shine.
Our November Sister Spotlight is Catherine Paour. Her entire family was born and raised in Torrance, California, and everyone (including both of her parents) still reside there. They all graduated from Torrance High School, where a family member was the first to graduate in 1916, and her own son graduated 100 years later in 2017!
Catherine found her passion at a very young age. She loved clubs and leadership! Founded her very own 'Front Porch Club' at the tender age of 6, where she hosted meetings, designed a handbook, and even handed out flyers. She moved into 'Indian Maidens', and then spent her teen years in 'Jobs Daughters' rising through the ranks and also serving at the state level. She proudly served as president of her 'Junior College Music Department' and then in the 'Junior Women's Club' and local, state and national leadership roles in the 'Jaycees' (Junior Chamber of Commerce.) She adds, "The trend during that time was to work for someone and represent the heck out of them! Entrepreneurship was rarely mentioned."
She married late and had bouncing baby boy in 1999. Her dream life was shattered
when her 4 month-old baby left a daycare provider's home diagnosed with Shaken Baby Syndrome. While her baby had to fight for his life, she had to fight to clear her name, facing an overwhelming battle to prove her innocence. Her baby survived, but Catherine admits it took her close to 15 years to start feeling 'normal' again. She was a single mom, working full-time, and had several health challenges, including adrenal fatigue. Even though it was a dark and difficult time for her, Catherine says she loves connecting the dots to where she is today. She shares a special quote she has always adored:
"You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something - your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever."
She adds, "I now understand that things happened for me...not to me."
Some of you may be reading this and wondering how a California gal ended up in our Texas-based group. I love how Catherine tells the story...
"So I was stalking a few members of The Every Heart Project on Facebook, all the way from California. I was always so impressed with the love, support and sisterhood the ladies all shared. Plus, the group offered so many projects and learning opportunities that I had been searching for in my own community. I struggled with severe FOMO (fear of missing out) with this group! There are tons of networking organizations and events here in California, but once I learned I could travel to Dallas and participate in the Third Annual Retreat... my heart was sold!
I am now a member from afar, and while a feel tons of support, love and lessons from Janet, I also have been fortunate to have formed virtual connections with many of my Heart Sisters. The Dallas area may indeed by my one day, and at least I know I've already found my tribe! And the Visibility Mastermind Janet leads has been a pivotal piece to my passion projects!"
I asked Catherine what she loved about our retreats or any advice to future retreat attendees or those on the fence about attending in the future:
"The planning and passion that was shared at the retreat put me right into my zone of genius, which is exactly where I thrive and truly love to be! Or better yet, I was in my Zone of JOYous! As a highly sensitive person with a friendly personality, I gravitated to other attendees on such a personal level in such a short amount of time. I felt, well... so ELEVATED! But I'm also one of the first to need my down time and rest and recover! (As I was writing this part, I'm home recovering from my 15th surgery and praying I'll be cleared to fly to attend the retreat in just a few weeks!) Those who met me at last year's retreat may remember the closing slide of my presentation... it had a hilarious image and the text, 'Aren't you glad we don't look like what we've been through?'"
Catherine worked 45 years in non-profit Public Relations, primarily in special events, media relations, membership and recognition programs, communications and fundraising. She started with only had a typewriter and index cards! There were no computers and everything was done in person. She says it taught her a lot about attention to detail, and once computers emerged, she was the first one to be trained as the Desktop Publisher for a local medical center. She then spent nearly 15 years in Corporate Human Resources as a program coordinator. She always felt she wanted to do more with her personal passions, and now that she is on early retirement due to her disabilities, she can pour her love and efforts into her own purpose and passions, rather than the vision of a corporation.
In 2009, Catherine built an awareness project called 'The Trevor Endeavor', to raise awareness of Shaken Baby Syndrome. After 10 years, she retired that project, and is now sharing 'Catherine's Courage' to the invisible illness community. She describes herself as a 'professional patient.' She is also a Patient Leader Advocate for WeGo Health, and currently preparing to launch her blog and videos.
She founded a support group in her community called 'South Bay Inspired Spoonies,' and she still plans to make moves in the medical and legal arenas.
Catherine's only son, Trevor, is an EMT and currently enlisted in the US Navy. As she
was preparing this interview, he still hadn't left for boot camp, and was on a delayed entry program for Medical Corpsman. She admits that she was very anxious for him to go, but now realizes she is cherishing every moment she has with him, event though he can't stand it. This is also delaying her anticipated empty nest projects, which include adopting a new cuddle-bug-fur-baby, since she lost both of her beloved Yorkies last year.
Thank you Catherine for joining our group all the way from California! We are so blessed by you and cannot wait to see you at the Fourth Annual Every Heart Retreat happening this month!
If you are not a member of The Every Heart Project, we invite you to join us for a future event and experience the magic of our Sisterhood!