Catia SkinnerCEO - Mega Experience and The Venue
Catia's Story :
People always ask me how I ended up in Peterborough, after growing up in a city with a population the same size as Canada. Here is my story.
I was born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil. I was in my second year of university, taking an economics degree, when I started my career. My first job was an internship at General Electric (GE) and after six months I was hired. At the age of 19, I was working with the Senior Management Team at GE.
The first years of my career presented me with amazing opportunity and unexpected adversity. After five years at GE I joined a software company which eventually led me to move away from home to the south of Brazil. Only a couple weeks after the move, my mother suddenly passed away. The tragedy my family was enduring miles away led me to a crossroad: Do I return home to São Paulo or do what my mother would have wanted – to keep working toward my goals and aspirations. Choosing the latter was the most difficult and courageous decision I have ever made.
During my seven years with the software company I discovered my passion for marketing. Management began showing interest in me advancing in other areas of the organization, but I knew I wanted to continue with the work I loved. After much thought I knew change was needed and ultimately made the bold decision to leave Brazil and move to Vancouver for an internship to improve my English and experience Canada’s west. I did not know a single person in the city and was not familiar with the language and customs. I was definitely out of my comfort zone!
One month after I arrived in Vancouver, I received an incredible invitation from my former boss in Brazil to apply for a marketing position with a company in Peterborough, Ontario. Although I had a new position in Brazil to return to upon completing my internship in Vancouver, I decided taking the interview was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I survived a phone interview in English and was invited to Toronto for an in-person interview. The next thing I knew, I arrived in Peterborough to begin my next chapter.
Ten years later, I am so grateful to now call Peterborough my home. I now have my own business, Mega Experience, but more importantly Peterborough brought me the love of my life, Michael Skinner. Together we have two children who we love more than anything else in the world. The gratitude I feel every day for feeling so welcome in Peterborough and for the life I have with my family continually motivates me to give back to our community.
Over the past decade it has been an honour to be involved with many local organizations all working for a better tomorrow. The amazing agencies I have been privileged to be on boards for include Peterborough Pregnancy Support Services, New Canadians Centre, Bears’ Lair Entrepreneurial Competition, 100 Women Peterborough and the Women’s Business Network of Peterborough. I can never show enough gratitude for the hard work and dedication that these organizations do to help the community I care for so deeply.
Last year, I officially became a Canadian citizen. Looking back on my journey I think it truly is courage, passion and gratitude that sometimes leads us to life’s greatest accomplishments.