Success… Turning Obstacles into Opportunities


Sometimes we can control and shape the changes in our environment, and sometimes we can not. However, we can always control our attitude towards change. Regardless of the circumstances, it is our attitude to change which decides whether an outcome will be positive or negative.

Catherine DeVrye has experienced the effects of a positive attitude to change in her own life. Born in Canada, she was abandoned by her mother at three months of age and raised by adoptive parents.

Their untimely death from cancer in 1973 left her alone, and so with $200 in her wallet, she arrived in Australia to start a new life.

Working first as a teacher, Catherine successfully carved a career in the predominantly male domains of sport, politics and international business. This success was recognised with the Australian Executive Woman of the Year award she received in 1993.

Yet, even though her life in Australia was filled with friends and the satisfaction of a blossoming career, there was still something missing. So, at age thirty seven, she decided to search for her biological parents. In spite of the problems of geography and government bureaucracy, Catherine’s perseverance paid off when, on the eve of the closing ceremony of the 1988 Winter Olympics held in her home town of Calgary, Canada, she discovered who they were.

Similarly, her father had been looking for her since she was six months old. Catherine finally met the eight times Canadian Rodeo Champion as one of 12,000 spectators when he was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame.

From an abandoned infancy to finding her biological parents; from an underprivileged primary school to a short stint at Harvard University; from a failed marriage to friends and financial success beyond her imagination as a child; Catherine will share in a
humorous and heart warming way, her experiences of how every obstacle can be turned into an opportunity by choosing to adopt a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

Although we cannot always control change, we do always have a choice to see it as a negative or positive force in our business and personal lives.

Attendees will leave this session feeling better about themselves and their organisation. They will recognise the importance of focusing on the positive to produce personal and professional success and learn how anyone can turn obstacles into opportunities