Being a woman in business can be tough
Although workplace laws and policies have come a long way in reducing gender bias and creating a more equal working environment for everyone, the actual changes may still be viewed as slow and can be frustrating.
Hi I’m Catherine Cooke,
Founder of The Engine and a recognised Leading Business Advisor.
As a mother, wife, daughter and businesswoman, my life is abundant and full. Combining a successful career with motherhood/family commitments is challenging, but brings me great joy and gives me a sense of accomplishment.
As a woman, I have always strived to be a role model for my children while navigating the challenges of starting and running successful businesses. Having a solid support network I have managed to achieve both.
Heroic women that have shaped me
I come from a big family. My mum Phyllis was one of eight and her mum managed the farm with my grandfather so I’ve come from a line of hard-working women. My mum successfully raised eight children single-handedly while having multiple jobs -sometimes 3 in a day. One of my Aunts at 80 years old still ploughs and harvests her kumara farm.
Holly, my daughter was born prematurely – her fighting spirit and positive attitude are something I admire.
All of these strong, beautiful women and other women in my family inspire me every day. Collectively through perseverance, resilience and hard work, you can turn the impossible into the possible.
Getting clear on who I am and what I really wanted
Growing up in a large family with a single parent, money was at times tight. I wanted to start working and earning my own money as soon as possible. At the age of 14, I started modelling part-time. I remember the excitement of cashing my first paycheque!
At school, I organised various successful and lucrative fashion shows. One event raised $60,000. I realised then that I could do anything that I set my mind to.
While studying at AUT, I continued as a part-time cashier, worked full time in the finance sector and did part-time modelling. I co-purchased my first home when I was 22 years old.
As a young woman, navigating the work challenges of a male-dominated industry gave me confidence and taught me invaluable skills that have helped shape my career.
At 26, I unexpectedly lost my hearing. A few months later I had a miscarriage. I could feel my life coming apart. My doctor advised me to give up on my career and lead a quieter less stressful life.
This did not sit well with me.
That’s when I set up my first company. Within 11 years that business successfully secured and retained renewals on major contracts and tenders both in New Zealand and globally. Through sheer grit, determination and passion, I created a multimillion-dollar enterprise, employing over 90 staff.
One would say I started out as an entrepreneur from a young age as a natural evolution. Determination, coupled with freakin’ hard work.
My advice go with what ignites the fire and passion in you. Do whatever it takes to make it happen and surround yourself with a great network of support and experience. You will be rewarded with unexpected success.
The best investment you can make is in yourself and your future.
In 2017 I started The Engine. I realised that existing business coaching services needed to be reinvented. What they were offering was just not enough. Most business coaches focus on singular aspects of business and do not address the whole picture needed for success.
At The Engine, we like to shake things up and challenge our clients to step outside their comfort zones. When you think outside the box and feel uncomfortable, your business, along with you personally can truly flourish and grow into so much more.
Our business support toolkit encourages good business practices. The benefits include Membership with Business Support and Savings for companies & their employees, informative customer & employee surveys, financial reviews, Non-Director Governance, Facilitation for Sale & Purchase of Businesses, HR, Health & Safety, Strategic Planning and road-mapping and so much more. The Engine Business TV Show also provides an affordable platform for showcasing companies and our Business Forums are designed to bring insights, learnings and an opportunity to make many business connections.
The Engine has quickly made a name for itself and in 2020 became a recognised business advisory firm across New Zealand amongst the funders and business owners.
The Engine is an all-inclusive, supportive business community that cultivates growth, connection and business opportunities like no other. When you work with The Engine, your business becomes our business.
Helping women to achieve their full
potential in business
Empowering women to move forward and thrive in business.
We understand the very real challenges that women face in business.
That’s why we offer specialist one-on-one coaching, advisory board services and ongoing tailored support.
We help you create an actionable business plan specific to your business needs.
Guiding you to improve efficiency, productivity and increase profit.
Lead your team to success.
This is a specialised training program that teaches best business practices.
It’s designed to upskill business owners and those in management roles.
The program includes weekly topics from sales, marketing and finance to operations.
You don’t have to do it alone.
Membership provides a supportive community of like-minded business owners and individuals and includes:
A 2-hour one-on-one coaching session with one of our top advisors.
Up to 30% savings for your business and staff on common business expenses.
Regular member-only networking events.
Exclusive invites to member-only events and quarterly forums.