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Cathy Boston: Encouraging the greatness within

Cathy Boston’s background in Human Resources has allowed her to develop expertise in empowering people “to become their best selves.” She tells the story of how her business, STATEMENTS by Cathy Boston, LLC, came about. 

In her previous position, she was responsible for internal training and development. “I was asked to do stress management training because of significant downsizing” …and then it turned out that she, herself, was impacted. 

“It’s a life-changing moment. It feels awful while it’s happening, but beauty comes from ashes. There are always ‘nexts.’ With the right preparation, we can move towards our passion and purpose,” Boston says.

STATEMENTS was created to help fulfill the need to equip business leaders and their teams to excel in customer engagement. For the past decade, STATEMENTS has focused on helping others find their “nexts,” through personal coaching, workshops, and focus groups.

Boston’s current role serving as the Volunteer Coordinator for Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio directly aligns with the hallmark and mantra for her personal brand, “Empowering Leaders, Releasing Passion, and Inspiring Excellence,” which is why STATEMENTS exists.

The greatness within

Boston has led workshops for Health Care Access Now’s Community Health Workers (CHWs). To help achieve health care equity, CHWs go into the field and provide one-on-one support for clients, identifying and providing access to resources that remove barriers to good health outcomes. 

“It’s amazing work,” she says. She was excited to “help [the CHWs] engage those things within themselves they’ve neither had the courage for nor been encouraged to explore.” Her aim is to extract “the greatness within” from all people.

She gives the example of an unhappy employee she coached at another organization. She told him, “Whatever it is you do will either take you further into where you’d like to be or further away from it. Present your best self in elevation. Don’t look at the current situation; look at the dots connecting you to what comes next.” Despite obstacles from his past, he was eventually able to establish his own business using this philosophy.

“There’s always a return on the investment” of empowering people, Boston says. “What can I do to create a space where people feel seen, appreciated, and valued? Those outcomes bring about growth. Positive begets positive.”

Mental health and physical health

Although Boston is not a mental health professional, much of her work centers on helping individuals reach a healthy mental state. “There are ways to undo the wrong messages” that people may have internalized as fact throughout their lives. She believes that “every day, every moment, can be your Monday.” In other words, each moment is a chance to make a choice not to fall back on habitual unhealthy behaviors.

It’s important for business leaders to create an environment that “facilitates that mind shift,” and a big component of that is “promoting dignity and respect” for all people. This ties in with the work that CHWs do on a daily basis.

CHWs develop rapport with their clients. That involves “actively listening with intentionality to understand where a person is or isn’t and giving them time to come to a place of sharing. Access is earned.” Boston says there is a “diamond rule,” which asks you not to apply your own biases, but to “move past what you think [a situation] should be to where it can be.” 

She cautions against mistaking “friendliness for familiarity” because that can cause people “to make assumptions, which annihilates respect.” Remembering that each individual is just that—an individual, not a stereotype, idea, or cultural monolith—is the foundation of trust-building.

Honest conversations to eliminate biases

“When we dismiss [biases], fires brew,” Boston says. “They’re a part of what we live every day,” and while most people aren’t intentionally exercising their biases toward others, “if they’re not explored and addressed, they fester.”

Not addressing biases can have extreme negative consequences. “Business leaders need to create atmospheres that empower others to invest in change of thought. We’re doing a major disservice to ourselves and those who come after us if we don’t make an investment in correcting ignorance and building knowledge,” she says. 

“This should not be a threatening process. Life won’t end if you tell the truth.” And business leaders should reinforce that idea by not imposing punitive action on those trying to rectify issues of bias. 

Building from kindness

Boston says she “immensely enjoys being a builder”; in other words, she helps her clients look at positives by “speaking life and encouragement.”  This kind of work can “transform a person’s behavior and mental and physical health.” 

The opportunity to be a builder exists for everyone, she says. “Everyone has a customer,” whether that’s CHWs’ clients, health care providers’ patients, or countless other examples. “Never take for granted the kindnesses we can show to people.” 

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