Q&A with Cathy Bessant

Pride Magazine publisher Dee Dixon asked Cathy Bessant, president and CEO of Foundation For The Carolinas some pointed questions about what it’s like to lead such a powerful philanthropic nonprofit community foundation that serves multiple counties in North and South Carolina.

Dee Dixon: Without question, Cathy, you have had an unusually long and varied career path to the top. Please share a bit with us about your life growing up — your family dynamic, your very first job, your high school or college experience. Did any one factor or person serve to help mold you into becoming a high-achieving go-getter?

Cathy Bessant: I hope it hasn’t been “unusually” long! I’m the oldest of four children — we lived in a 900-square-foot home, all six of us, with one bathroom, no shower – so from an early age, I was a go-getter. I was raised in a family of go-getters, so I’ve naturally been an overachiever.

Fortunately, I had a high school home-room teacher who expanded the universe of colleges I should consider. That’s how I ended up at the University of Michigan. I’ve always said, U of M was my pathway. It’s how a girl from Jackson, Michigan, gets to have a favorite restaurant in Hong Kong — education, education, education.

My first job was at McDonald’s. I loved it. I think about it every day. My McDonald’s store had a motto: If you have time to lean, you have time to clean. It’s really influenced how I think about efficiency and multi-tasking. Click here to continue reading at Pride Magazine.