Role Models: Women Lead in Business and Media
By Ben Mackin
As a way to help Frankfort celebrate Women’s Equality Day on Aug. 27, The State Journal has spoken with local women in leadership roles in various industries for a three-part series entitled Role Models.
In part one, published on Aug. 5, we spoke to leaders from local government, law enforcement, tourism, and activism.
For part two we have reached out to women in business media, such as the culinary professional and owner of B’s Bakery, Beth Greenwell Carter; Frankfort Plant Board Marketing and Communications Director Cathy Lindsey; co-owner of Broadway Clay Megan Sauter; and The State Journal Editor Chanda Veno.
To what do you attribute your success and motivation?
Sauter: I attribute much of my success to the dozens of art instructors I have had over the years, in many different disciplines, from art administration and graphic design to woodworking and ceramics.
Lindsey: I attribute my success to family, confidence, happiness and communication. The core factor is my support system, my family. My parents raised me to believe I could achieve anything to which I applied my mind and efforts. That instilled a confidence in me that is essential not only for success, but for happiness in life. I consider myself successful because I’m happy. I live a life that I love — with people who mean the world to me, at a job that is both fun and challenging, but most importantly — fulfilling, in a community that raised and nurtured me. That’s the life! Finally, communication is key in my world. This includes being open to effectively listening to people and building teams to get things done. As far as motivation at this point in my life, I am motivated by my 10-year-old daughter, Ella. I set the example for how she will go forward in life. That is a huge responsibility. I want her to understand what women have endured and achieved in the past to ensure that she has every opportunity for success in the future.
Greenwell Carter: I was surrounded by very good mentors, women actually. I went to a fabulous culinary school in Cleveland, the International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute. The founder was an Italian woman named Loretta Paganini and she sent me on my journey with an exciting opportunity to travel to Italy and that is what started it. I worked for a German woman named Vanessa Weikert and she helped me get started in my career in catering by hiring me for her business. I also had a mentor named Sharon Granter who was a caterer and restauranteur and she gave me great advice early on and that’s what helped me be successful.
Veno: I believe to be successful at anything in life, your motivation has to come from within. You have to be passionate about what you are doing and you can’t fake that. There is no gray area — you are either passionate or you aren’t. You also have to put in the work — especially when no one is watching — and follow through. Another key ingredient to success is surrounding yourself with supportive people. I am fortunate to have a great team here at The State Journal and a wonderful family who believes in me and understands that my job is 24/7 not 9 to 5.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced? How did you handle it?
Greenwell Carter: The biggest challenge was the [COVID-19] pandemic. My industry shut down totally. I have a venue, we were not allowed to gather. I had a catering business, we were not allowed to cater for gatherings. There were moments in the bakery where we were actually shut down as well. So the struggle was pivoting and thriving and hoping that you were making the right decisions. Nobody knew, nobody had been through a global pandemic before. Then it just turned out that my gut feelings were right. All the experience I had, I listened to what I thought might be the right decisions and they were. The bakery is doing great being open three days a week and the other businesses are thriving too now that we have opened back up.
Lindsey: The biggest challenge I’ve faced is myself. When you are young, there are so many options for your future. And it took me time to find the path to success that fit for me. After five years in two colleges with three changes in my major and no degree in sight, I realized I was spinning my wheels with no clue what I wanted to do in my life. So, I took a beat and entered the workforce. That real-world experience helped guide me and showed me how important it is to find a career doing something you love. I tried different things. I even went to culinary school and opened a successful catering business and restaurant. Talk about investing blood, sweat and tears! I realized that is not how I wanted to spend the rest of my life. Finally, I went back to UK and got my degree in journalism, and it all clicked. I finally recognized what skills I needed to foster to find the career for me. Those were difficult times for a 20-something, but those are the times that shaped the person I am today. I now draw from that experience when I encourage young people to not panic when that path to the future is not clearly laid out in front of them.
Sauter: My motivation stems from the desire to empower others and foster creativity in our community. At Broadway Clay, we have created a community center where artists can learn, grow and even sell their work.
Veno: Career-wise one of the biggest challenges I have faced has been juggling motherhood with work. I was a stay-at-home mom for many years before returning to the workforce and there are many times when this job demands additional time away from my family. It has not been easy, but I have found a sort-of balance between the two — which basically means I sacrifice sleep.
What piece of advice would you give to young women?
Lindsey: My top piece of advice is to be your own biggest cheerleader. If you are not rooting and advocating for yourself, chances are that others will not be either. Surround yourself with people who support you unconditionally. Recognize your strengths and the qualities that make you, you and embrace them, love them, foster them. That’s when you will find the confidence that leads to success and happiness in life.
Veno: Don’t sacrifice your dreams for anyone or anything. And never give up. Just because it hasn’t been done before doesn’t mean it can’t be done. Show up, put your nose to the grindstone and make your dreams a reality.
Sauter: One piece of advice I would give young women wanting to start their own business is that you have to be a “Jane of all trades” and never stop adding to that toolbox so when the opportunity presents itself, you will be prepared.
Greenwell Carter: Stamina. You have to have incredible stamina to be in the food industry, this type of business. You are always working, always thinking about the next thing. Especially if you own several businesses like I do. I work all day long and you have to be OK with that and be able to function through that. There is not any downtime. To me that is exciting. My passion is this, so it’s not like it’s work, but it is a lot of work. I think people who are in business and are successful make it look easy and others try and realize then what it takes behind the scenes to keep it going. And you have to have incredible staff. There is no way you can do this by yourself.