Cathy Dano: Balancing work and motherhood

MOTHERHOOD is never easy. Being a mother and a businesswoman is harder. Juggling your responsibilities as a mom and your work as a business owner can be stressful and tiring. It takes a lot of effort and management to balance your time and focus on your priorities.

However, as a mother and a businesswoman, Cathy Dano is a believer that women can have a family and also build a career that they are passionate about.

Dano is a professional chef. She's the general manager and co-owner of Thai Me Up in Centrio, Ayala. She is also the program head for culinary arts at Monster Kitchen Academy.

With her talent in culinary arts, handling the business and teaching students, you may find Chef Cathy as an amazing and skillful woman. And yet, what truly made this person awesome is her being a wife, as well as a mother to her 12-year-old son and to her 16-year-old daughter.

She met and married her husband, Mark, in Manila. Dano decided to take a second career in culinary arts at ISCAHM. Upon completion of her education and training, Dano opted to settle in Cagayan de Oro where she wanted to be an entrepreneur and start a business of her own.

Catering was her first business venture.

Dano shared, "Just like someone who is starting a business she had to do all the work such as creating proposals, menu, marketing, cooking, setting up, delivery, cleaning and inventory. It wasn't easy but I found a sense of joy and fulfillment."

Another thing that Cathy wanted to do, apart from having a business, was to teach. It was fortunate that when she was looking for a school where she could work as an instructor, a friend introduced her to Jan and Maggie Uy, who became her business partners. They built the Thai Me Up, a homegrown food haven specializing in Thai cuisine in Cagayan de Oro.

"Thai me up is now on its eight year. We encountered a lot of challenges; the ups and downs in sustaining and growing the business. But I have the best partners. I learned a lot from them and considered them as my mentors. We respect, support and help each other," Cathy said, adding there were no conflicts between them, as they all value partnership and friendship.

At present, apart from teaching at Monster Kitchen and running Thai Me Up, she's also managing and co-owning Bite Me Up, a brand of Bite Me Up Food Corporation that sells the well-known pasalubong Brownie Bites and supplies bread lines for 7 Eleven.

"It's challenging to balance family and work. But with God's help, I was able to manage," Chef Cathy said, adding that she taught her kids how to help in the household chores and be independent.

Chef Cathy and her husband help each other in raising their children in being responsible, kind, good-hearted and God fearing.

"In the things that I do, the most important thing is family, at the end of the day they're the reason that you work hard," she said.

Looking into and knowing all the work Dano has to do every day, it makes you wonder how she was able to look hassle/stress-free.

Cathy said if she's not too busy with her work, she tries her best to go to the gym, go walking and do meditation in the mornings.

"As a mother, I'm grateful, I get to do all the responsibilities but there are times that I fail. I try my best to correct it and make up for it," Chef Cathy said.

She added that keeping up with her schedule also helps her balance her time, being efficient in her work, and setting her priorities.

Chef Cathy also sets aside time for family bonding. She values her moments with her kids when she drives them to and from school. She enjoys listening to their stories and always want to know what they're up to. She gives them parenting advice as needed.

"On weekends, I put aside my work for family time. I make sure I to spend all my down time with my husband and children. I feel complete when I'm with my husband and kids. I try to instill good family values to my children in as much as I could. We try to bring out the best in them and encourage them to follow their dreams and work hard for it," Chef Cathy said.

"If you want to succeed, you have to find your purpose. You go from what others think you should do to doing what you love. Your career should be aligned with your purpose and fulfillment. There will be good and bad days but the difference is you know why you're doing what you're doing. It takes time, a lot of hard work and pains to be a good parent and good entrepreneur. Until now, I'm still learning in the process," she said.

"You always have to be grateful for the people who helped you along the way. Never forget that," she added.

"I'm always thankful to God for all the blessings and I try my best to see the good in everything. Enjoy the moments because, at the end of the day, this is what it's really all about," she added.


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