Catherine DeVrye

Catherine DeVrye

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Change and Resilience Expert, Best Selling Author and Woman of Influence

Canadian born, the twice voted Australian Keynote Speaker of the Year, and named last year by the Financial Review as one of the Top 100 Women of Influence, Catherine is an entertaining communicator with proven international management experience in the private and public sectors – as both a female corporate executive and small business owner. She now speaks globally on customer service, change, disruption, and turning obstacles to opportunities through resilience.

Catherine is a best-selling author of eight books and past winner of the Australian Executive Woman of the Year Award. Her memoir, Who Says I Can’t? was released by Random House and nominated for the National Biography Award.

On the cover Bryce Courtenay calls it a ‘story of hope and perseverance’, asking ‘when’s the movie?’ Other best-sellers, translated into over a dozen languages, include Hot Lemon and Honey – Reflections For Success in Times of Change (endorsed by Sir Edmund Hillary), Hope Happens! Words of Encouragement for Tough TimesThe Customer Service Zoo and Good Service is Good Business, a #1 best-seller in Australia and Taiwan. Her most recent, endorsed by Dr Edward DeBono, is Paperclips Don’t Grow on Trees – Add value not cost to your bottom line.

A former IBM executive, Catherine held roles in sales, marketing, communication and leadership development, spending two years in Tokyo as Asia Pacific Headquarters Human Resource Manager. Once responsible for IBM incentive events and leadership programs, she vowed to not only deliver an entertaining and educational motivational message from stage but to be authentic and easy to work with off the platform. Thousands of testimonials from delighted clients prove she has achieved that.

Always in search of adventure and new material, she has cycled over the Andes, trekked to Timbuktu, beyond Everest Base Camp and was given the honour of carrying the Olympic Torch on the day of the opening ceremonies of the Sydney 2000 Olympics. A cancer survivor, she also has an inspirational, heart-warming story of her personal journey from an orphanage in Canada, which she sometimes shares depending on your brief.

Catherine is also an Australia Day ambassador, featured in Who’s Who of Australian Women, a former board member of the third largest police service in the world, past CEO of Young/Junior Achievement Australia, as well as working for Ministers of Consumer Affairs, Education and Sport, where she was involved in the establishment of the Life: Be In It fitness campaign.

She holds a Master of Science degree and has attended short courses at Harvard University and Melbourne Mt Eliza Business School… but believes the best education is common sense! She touches the head and heart to encourage action and better ‘buy-in’ to key management messages whether in time of complexity or disruption!

Clients include American Express, AT & T, Australian Tourism, Austrade, Bankwest, Coca-Cola, Domino’s Pizza, KPMG, Hewlett Packard, IBM 3M, Local Government, Mercedes, Neways, Qantas, Red Cross, Remax, Royal Australian Airforce, School Principals, TAFE, World Triathlon Championships…

Her versatility, experience and commitment to quality will act as a catalyst to maximise organisational and individual potential, and contribute to the success of your next event.

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Speaking topics

Shift Happens-Conquer the Challenge of Change

Another best-seller, ‘Hot Lemon & Honey…Reflections for Success in Times of Change’ helps individuals cope with personal and professional change. The late Sir Edmund Hillary said: ‘information in this book can lead you on the road to success’ and Jack Canfield, co-author of ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’, comments: ‘full of vitamins for the mind.’ Attendees will see that:

  • The 7 most expensive words in business are…’ We have always done it that way’
  • Change is inevitable. Learning from change is optional
  • Winners become victors from change-rather than victims of change
  • As stakeholder expectations change, differentiate between adding value or adding cost
  • Turn common sense into common practice
  • Fight complacency… Success today does not equal success tomorrow

Resilience for Results: Turn Obstacles to Opportunities Through Hope & Humour

From best sellers, Who Says I Can’t /Hope as My Compass, and ‘Hope Happens!… Words of Encouragement for Tough Times’, attendees hear how to be more optimistic-but remain realistic-as Catherine shares an inspirational personal story, which can be applied to our working lives.

  • From early days in an orphanage in Canada-to an education in the USA-to her parents dying of cancer the year she graduated from university-to arriving in Australia jobless and near penniless-to an international career with IBM in Japan-to carrying the Olympic torch, the former Australian Executive Woman of the Year outlines:
  • We can’t always control circumstances -but we can always control our attitude
  • Focus on what you can do-rather than waste energy on what you can’t do
  • Focus on the positive to produce professional and personal success
  • Incorporating analogies from working with street kids in Vietnam, trekking to Timbuktu, cycling over the Andes, sailing to the Antarctic and climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, participants are reminded not to make mountains out of molehills.

Good Service is Good Business -7 Strategies for Success

From the #1 international best seller of the same name and ‘Paperclips Don’t Grow on Trees’, endorsed by Dr. Edward De Bono, your team will learn how to:

  • Boost your bottom line without increasing cost
  • Use service to differentiate you from your competition
  • Gain market share through exceeding customer expectations
  • Fight complacency… Success today does not equal success tomorrow
  • Increase brand loyalty by turning complaints into opportunities
  • Combine the high tech and high touch for top results
  • Understand the key difference between adding value & adding cost
  • Make minor improvements for major impacts
  • Create Customers for Life-and a life for yourself

Video clips

Hot Lemon & Honey

Demo Video

Catherine DeVrye: Backgrounder

Catherine DeVrye - Adding Value to Events

Speaker testimonials

A big thank you for adding value with both content and entertaining delivery that kept everyone fully engaged. Our partners are fully motivated with new skills & crucial reminders to ensure we retain our pinnacle position.


Powerful & dynamic presenter who leaves a lasting impression; even our most negative team members were impressed…Thank you for a tremendous contribution to our business & the participative culture we have developed. Part of our success is due to your involvement & I am most grateful


Captivated entire audience; nailed the brief to reinforce our key messages & delivered beyond expected; professional yet relaxed style; excellent entertainer & also touched people’s hearts!


You sowed the seed of change…The service quality program developed from these beginnings will result in a 40-50% improvement in productivity


Catherine was fabulous – well researched and knew her audience hot buttons – funny and tearful all at once – a great start to the convention – so much positive feedback from all the delegates and we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Catherine to anyone needing such a versatile presenter


Your presentation on strategies for success opened our eyes to limitations & our paradigms have now shifted to a higher plateau…first time we have given a standing ovation to any speaker


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