Cathy Monetti is the founding partner of the West Columbia, SC, creative marketing consultancy, Riggs Partners. In 1998, she and her business partner, Teresa Coles had an idea. The two best friends wanted to create an opportunity to put their day jobs as creative services strategists on the shelf for 24-hours, but not for a vacation. These ladies were on a mission. Along with a team of all volunteers from various creative and marketing backgrounds, they were going to stay up all night to create high -quality communication plans for local nonprofits without charging them a dime. CreateAthon was born. Now entering it’s 19th year of pro bono giving, the national nonprofit has built a partnership with 100 agencies, professional organizations, and student groups. Together they have collectively donated $24 million in free marketing services.
With Riggs Partners next CreateAthon less than 24-hours away, we were delighted Cathy could join us for this edition of Well, I Declare.
What is your favorite southern saying?
My mother used to say “It’s colder ’n dammit.” I think that’s a fine phrase.
Who is an influential Southern woman in your life?
I picked up writer Lee Smith’s first novel, The Last Day the Dogbushes Bloomed, when I was a teenager working summers at the Lonesome Pine Regional Library in Wise, Virginia. I already loved to read but this book made me realize—from the first page—I wanted to write books like that. Just last year, some forty years later, I got the opportunity to study with Lee at the Key West Writer’s Workshop. She is everything I expected: smart, knowledgeable, funny, and incredibly generous. She is also the most gracious woman I’ve ever met. For me, Lee Smith is the example of a woman who does life really, really well.
What piece of advice would you give your younger self?
Shakespeare classes are awesome, but a business course might turn out to be a pretty good idea.
What is the best compliment you have received?
The blog my writing apprentice, Kathryn White, created called “Lessons from Cathy.” (http://lessonsfromcathy-blog.tumblr.com)
Tell us about your parents/family growing up.
Once, when my parents left all four of us with a babysitter, my oldest brothers—who couldn’t have been more than 8 or 10 at the time–got in a big fight and one shoved the other through the closed kitchen window. There were no serious injuries, thankfully, but boy oh boy were they in trouble when Dad got home. And yup, of all of us, I was the one who cried.