Unconventional entrepreneur to speak at Brescia’s 9th annual Breakfast for Bursaries

October 15, 2010


London, ON – Award-winning entrepreneur Cathrine Ann is about to option her gripping life  story for a Hollywood movie but guests at Brescia University   College’s ninth annual  Breakfast for Bursaries will hear it first-hand when Ann presents on October  21, 2010 at 7 a.m. at the London Convention Centre.

In a candid interview Ann revealed that she grew up  neglected and abused until she met the Marc Joncas, the man she would one day  marry and who would support her desire to start a business that has become a  multi-million dollar success story.

“I had taken a job selling dental implants based out of Toronto even though I was living in Vancouver. I quit that job and collected some  unemployment benefits for awhile. This was a time when I was doing some things that  I was not proud of, but I was always trying to do something better to get me  out of a bad situation. Mark pushed me. He said, ‘You’ve got some good business  skills there. Maybe we should think about doing something on our own.’

“When I picked up my last unemployment cheque, inside was a  little slip of paper inviting people with a good idea to apply for SEEDS (Self-Employment  and Entrepreneurial Development Society). Because I was a was always looking to  even the score for a life and education I never had, I convinced him to quit  his minimum-wage job to come and make millions of dollars with me. He quit his job  so we were both homeless and living with our three dogs in his truck.”

Upon completion of the SEEDS program, which Ann said is the  first thing she ever completed in her life, she had a business plan for  Consumer Connection – the business that has made her a national success story  and recipient of multiple awards. She returned to some of the business leaders  she interviewed as part of the research for her plan and asked them to invest  in her business because the banks denied her applications for start-up funding.  No one said “no” because they believed in the strength and creativity of her  plan.

The company’s web site states, “Consumer Connection  specializes in customer service evaluations and analysis. We allow our clients  to see how their business appears through the eyes of their customers.” Ann  employs thousands of people – many on a contract basis – who have limited  opportunities to earn an income, including people who are homeless, retired,  disabled or stay-at-home mothers.

“Customer service was a pet peeve of all of ours. It was  dwindling even 13 years ago and it still is, which is why my business is doing  so well. When I put it out there, I do everything in my power to make it  happen. It doesn’t get better over night. You  have to be realistic. People don’t move as fast in my life as I want them to.  There are ebbs and flows in life and business and you have to be adaptable. It’s  miraculous how different I am. When I decided to do better and give back I  changed on a physical and spiritual level.”

Ann has given back in many ways as a philanthropist, often  supporting the charities that matter to her clients. A project she is  particularly enthusiastic about is the Cathrine Ann Project (CAP) in Mexico.  “Something that was important to me were dogs and animals because they were the  only ones who would show me love when I was growing up. I said, ‘One day I’m  going to give back to all the animals.’ I just formed CAP in Mexico as part  of a veterinary school in Los Cabos. As part of the curriculum, they provide  free vet services to all of the animal rescues in Mexico. My blueprint for this  business plan may be adopted by the whole country because it’s changed the  culture of how people deal with animals. It’s a big lofty project for me.”

Most of the proceeds from her book Beautiful  Buttons, which will be available for sale and signing at the event, will  support CAP. The book is also the inspiration for the movie she is about to  option. “I think it’s a great story for the times. I have no doubt that this  will be a movie.”

The proceeds from Breakfast for Bursaries  support helps students with financial need to attend Canada’s only women’s university. For  more information and to reserve a space for the event http://brescia.uwo.ca/support/the_foundation/breakfast_for_bursaries.html or contact Alison Vilaca at 519.432.8353, ext. 28446.

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Brescia University College, Canada’s premier women’s university college, is  affiliated with The University   of Western Ontario. The  1,100 women registered as either full- or part-time students at Brescia study a wide  variety of subjects in Arts, Social Sciences, and Foods & Nutrition in an empowering, compassionate, student-centred, and  invigorating environment. Degrees are granted by Western. The Catholic College  welcomes students from all backgrounds and values diversity. For more  information, please visit www.brescia.uwo.ca

To view the release online, please go to Brescia’s Online Media Room at http://www.brescia.uwo.ca/media/newsroom.html

To arrange for a  telephone interview on Monday, Oct. 18 or Tuesday, Oct. 19 with Cathrine Ann  please contact:

Julie Maltby                       Communications, Marketing & External Relations Officer                       E-mail: julie.maltby@uwo.ca                       Phone: 519.432.8353, ext. 28280

Note: Cathrine will have limited time for very brief one-on-one  interviews on the morning of her presentation. If you’re interested in a brief  interview at about 7 a.m. on October 21, please contact:

Sheila Blagrave                       Director of Communications, Marketing & External  Relations                       E-mail: sblagrav@uwo.ca                       Phone: 519.432.8353, ext. 28293

For more information  about the event, please contact:

Alison Vilaca                       Development Officer                       E-mail: alison.vilaca@uwo.ca                       Phone: 519.432.8353, ext. 28446