Cathy Dimarchos is the founder and CEO of Solutions2you, also she’s an award-winning Mentor, Global business advisor, and coach, an indefatigable philanthropist, TedX, and Keynote speaker, and author who believes that knowledge is only of value when shared. She is future-focused and believes that we can all contribute to lifting the baseline of where people start life across the world one person at a time.
As a professional advisor and motivational voice, she dedicates her time to sharing lived experiences and knowledge that combines people, business, and situational skills to deliver tangible tools and skills to clients and businesses across the globe. Her values take center stage and business becomes honest and expressive. She has clear boundaries in the way she lives life and works and together with her values steps forward into every challenge knowing the impact she can create. Success to Cathy is about the success of those whom she is there to serve (her Clients).
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to Valiant CEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Cathy Dimarchos: As a professional advisor and motivational voice, people seek me out because what they have tried in the past has not worked. My business referrals are usually from word of mouth, high net worth clients, and people who are ready to face their challenges to step into the lane of success.
With over 30 years of experience working with businesses (scaling or supporting entrepreneurs to set them up), I have seen more than most people. Trust forms the glue that leads to a strategic alliance that is formed not with just the CEOs, Founders, or the Board who have engaged me, but with their staff/team. The success of every business is its people and when we create influence and enable people to become creative so that they are performing at their peak, we see the true transformation that transcends across all areas of business making it sustainable for continued growth.
Who has been the most influential person(s) in your life and how did they impact you? How did that lead to where you are today?
Cathy Dimarchos: Like any successful person, I have had mentors throughout my life, but two people come to mind. One who was a serial entrepreneur whom I still am in constant contact with and have known for more than 20 years. I learned the value of true collaboration, trust, and the value of family comes first. The second is my father whom I sadly lost in 2020 during the pandemic after a fatal fall. I am just beginning to recognize the impact he had on my life from the lessons he showed me. Our home was a revolving door where people were welcomed from all walks of life (I have learned the gift of acceptance in differences, the power of paying it forward, and most of all I have learned that through friction we learn and grow as long as we step into it and not walk away from it.
These lessons have enabled me to stand in the presence of anyone and hold the space to allow them to be heard and valued – the measured way in which this occurs enables me to build trust and to influence so we can create the impact they want. Facing challenges and embracing friction has enabled me to develop strategic clarity in any situation and to plan forward whilst mitigating risk. Embracing differences enables me to draw out the creativity in people so they perform at their peak, think innovatively, and gain confidence in trialing new ways to step forward and take others on the vision forward. My impact mission is to Raise the Baseline of where people begin life globally and change the lens through which they view things.
2020 was a challenging year for all of us, particularly for businesses. How did the pandemic impact your business? Please list some of the problems that you faced, and how you handled them.
Cathy Dimarchos: Mine started on a return flight to Sydney from Perth on Friday 13th March 2020 after a National Speaking engagement to the Financial Planning Sector where I talked about Change and Transformation (not knowing what was ahead of us across the globe). On Tuesday 17th March my father had a fatal fall and sadly we lost him on the 21st March. On Friday the 20th March my mother suffered a heart trauma and was rushed to a different hospital to my father, so she sadly did not get to say goodbye. We were in full lockdown by this stage. A funeral was with immediate family only that had to rotate in being inside for the service. My mother was barely walking, talking, and eating. Some of International and Interstate clients went into pause mode not knowing what will happen and I switched to online engagements where possible. As I passed through this period I realized that I needed to do more and to be more so my point of crystallization formed with absolutely clear as to what impact I wanted to make on the world and that meant to intensify the work I did in “paying things forward” I had been working in East Africa volunteering in orphanages and doing some mentoring to young entrepreneurs for the previous 6 years and it dawned on me that I can do more to change lives of many and that within communities.
- I intensified my Entrepreneur leadership work online and did this pro-bono in developing nations as everyone was suffering.
- I wrote my first book “Same People, Different Vision – developing leaders of today to shape a better tomorrow”
- I mentored on a Pro-bono basis to Executives in NFP organizations as they do not have the entrepreneur mindset and they needed to navigate forward in a business world that was collapsing around them
- I wrote leadership programs for young students and developed the “Raise the Baseline” Academy and Program which provides Leadership programs for aspiring young people through to young entrepreneurs
- I funded the Raise the Baseline programs in Tanzania through community and now in Schools so we can reshape the lives of many young children. We will have approx 300 students going through our programs by the end of 2022.
- I have become more visible to show others the power of IMPACT and knowing how you want to contribute to the world
- I delivered my TEDx talk in full lockdown as well as spoke at the Women in Leadership Summit with key influential people
In short, the pandemic happened but this meant it was time for me to step up and be seen and to show people globally that we all have a choice and no matter what challenges are thrown at you, your decision of how you want to step forward is what counts. Mindset, strategy, and the people with who you surround yourself determine the success you have in life and the joy you have at work.
The pandemic led to a myriad of cultural side effects, including one that was quite unexpected that is informally known as “The Great Resignation”. Did this widespread trend affect you in any way?
Cathy Dimarchos: The great resignations were what I talked about before the pandemic as part of my Key Note speaking engagements. I did not label it that way but I shared the trends that were already visible with Millennials and GenZ. This is what my TedX is about and what my next book “Going against the Grain references” The pandemic has just extenuated the pattern, beliefs, and behaviors that were already there. People, in general, want to be valued for who they are, how they choose to live life. They do not want to lead a life that was created for the industrialization period. They know that life is not about work alone.
The influence and impact that our future generation has had on the older generation have been interesting. On one hand, Baby Boomers say that Millennials are entitled and lazy but on the other hand, they admire that they can walk away when they don’t feel valued or that they are not contributing and as time has passed through the pandemic they can see why Millennials have adopted the patterns and thoughts that they have had. The impact on my business was not significant other than I could not travel. Mostly my clients adjusted to online service and this enabled me to be more productive. It enhanced my ability to build my business based on “Values” and “Impact” and to be clear about who I choose to work with and who would be better served by someone else.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 4 million Americans quit their jobs in July 2021. How do you feel about this trend? Explain.
Cathy Dimarchos: The trend indicates data at a surface level. People may not have opted to “quit” their work as a whole, these statistics may indicate a slightly different trend when looked at closer. I would be inclined to believe that many quit “full-time” employment in search of a better balance or to work with flexibility and in some instances their employer required them to quit and become engaged under new terms (be it part-time or under contract). Relocation would have been a huge contributor as people who were not wanting to live in major cities any longer looked for better options in a community where they wanted to live (especially if they were not able to work remotely). The trend is about people gearing themselves up for how they want to live life.
According to a study by Harvard Business Review, Employees between 30 and 45 years old have had the greatest increase in resignation rates, with an average increase of more than 20% between 2020 and 2021. That can be quite an alarming rate. What advice would you share to increase employee retention?
Cathy Dimarchos: The age group general is likely to be young families and Millennials who have been vocal over the years on how they want to work however have tolerated the rigor of employers terms of employment until the pandemic where they have identified that their voice has not been heard (so they don’t feel valued). This age group can be innovative in mind and action, but tradition has prevented them from having a chair at the board room table. Progress in any business is about disruption and whilst every business is calling for it, they are not prepared to truly listen and to allow innovation to take place as most want to hold onto legacy systems and processes.
Having the ability to allow true innovation to take place, would require businesses to allow the voice that challenges and thinks differently to be heard. To accept that failure from trying is about innovation and not a lack of knowledge. It is about truly creating an environment for flexibility and enabling new voices to be heard. Employing people who think like you will deliver more of what you already have and will not create innovation. Creating a vision or mission that is only on paper and not acted upon across the whole business creates a dichotomy that people see-through. Actions speak louder than words so if you want to retain talent, be prepared to listen to what your people want and deliver it. Most people simply want to be heard – it is in this process where you will regain trust.
According to a Nature Human behavior study, In 2020, 80% of US workers reported feeling that they have too many things to do and not enough time to do them – a phenomenon known as “time poverty”. What is your take on the work-life balance? Explain.
Cathy Dimarchos: Being “Time-poor” has been a problem shared for several years it has been the case since emails, social media, and electronic applications. In part it is attributed to the belief that when we send a message into cyberspace and it is received, we need to respond instantly, so we are on this perpetual “chase cycle”.
The way to navigate this is:
- By setting the expectation of “self” and of “others”. This phenomenon is easy to resolve. Set expectations when sending out communication of when you would ideally require the work to be achieved and likewise respond in kind if it is suitable or not.
- Create time in your day to pause – the reflection time that occurs during the moments of pause enables you to better perform.
- Know the outcome you want or need to achieve before your response as this alleviates the “to and from” situations.
As a society, we have drifted away from a lot of things that are logical so we simply need to unlearn behaviors so that we can reinvent how we step forward. People are simply reacting to situations rather than responding and when we realign how we engage we will establish that “work-life balance ” is in our control.
A more recent survey by Joblist asked about 3,000 respondents if they’re actively thinking about leaving their job. That survey found that 73% of 2,099 respondents who answered this question on their employment plans are considering quitting. How are you preparing for the future to counter this potentially persistent problem?
Cathy Dimarchos: This statistic is not surprising as we have seen an increasing trend of Millennials and Genz becoming self-employed over the past 5 years. The driver is about flexibility and taking control of their future. Employers would benefit from building into their growth strategy and increasing in contract work as opposed to employee contracts and then looking at scheduling and work on a projects basis. This can be mutually beneficial providing that strategic planning is in place for the business and that they have people in key positions who have an entrepreneurial mindset.
Thank you for all that, our readers are grateful for your insightful comments! Now, if the Great Resignation isn’t your greatest concern, what is the #1 most pressing challenge you’re trying to solve in your business right now?
Cathy Dimarchos: Developing people to think beyond self. We live in a Global community, so we must see the success of others again collectively. Shifting the mind of people to see the benefits of elevating others as they raise will enable us as a global community to have great success in the way we all live life. We all want innovation and a planet that will thrive so collaboration as opposed to competition will see us all succeed in life and business. I am keen to collaborate with people who understand the impact of paying it forward and sharing knowledge.
Before we finish things off, we do have one last question. If you had 10 Million Dollars to spend in one day, what would you spend it on?
Cathy Dimarchos: Education young leaders in developing nations and communities so that they can impact the lives of millions and elevate the baseline from which they are living. Education would also alleviate poverty, create greater equality and suitability of growth across various sectors.
Mike Weiss, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Cathy Dimarchos for taking the time to do this interview and share her knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Cathy Dimarchos or her company, you can do it through her – Linkedin Page
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