Truffles: So, what was your path from being a nurse and oncology researcher at the Cleveland Clinic to Sweet Designs?
Cathy: It’s pretty funny how it came about. Ines (the founder of Sweet Designs) is like a second-mom to my son Jon. He’s done quite a bit of work for her through the years with just about everything - electrical, plumbing, and construction. When I retired last January from the Clinic, I must have called him too much at work. One day when we were on the phone, he says ‘Ines needs help, mom’ and ‘you’re kind of bothering me too much here at work’. I had just retired and wasn’t looking to go back to work. So, after the second or third call, he handed the phone to Ines and she said ‘So when can you start?’ That’s how I came to start working at Sweet Designs and I’m so glad I did.
Truffles: Prior to Sweet Designs?
Cathy: I started working at the Cleveland Clinic at Fairview Hospital in 1977 in an administrative position. That’s what I did for about 18 years, but then I decided to become a nurse and started night school. I started in the Labor and Delivery unit, but I’d always been interested in oncology, so I left to do research in oncology and ended up managing 7 or 8 different sites. After 42 years in the medical field, I decided it was time for retirement.
Truffles: Biggest surprise since coming to Sweet Designs?
Cathy: We’d been customers for years so the quality of the chocolates wasn’t a surprise. I‘d always get my employees gifts from Sweet Designs. The complexity of the business has been a surprise. And Ines is a surprise. She seems to do just about anything for the customer. If a customer wants a pink ribbon with blue dots, Ines will buy a pink ribbon with blue dots. She’s great at taking care of her customers. Not only the customers but her employees too. Ines would do anything to help out her employees.
Truffles: What’s a day at Sweet Designs like for you?
Cathy: I really like the variety of work Ines gives me. One of my jobs is doing all the ingredient labels for all the products. A lot of computer work, labels and getting supplies organized by holiday. Along with the packing of the chocolates and being on the belt making chocolates. The day goes fast. I like working here and I feel like I contribute. It’s a nice place to work. It’s fun.
Truffles: Passions outside of work, anything that might surprise people?
Cathy: My favorite pastime is just being with family. We do a lot of family activities, including vacations. We just went to the Grand Tetons and are planning to go to Glacier National Park.
I have always enjoyed being healthy and love being outdoors. I like to exercise quite a bit – whether it’s walking, biking, or hiking. I used to be a certified personal trainer. I’m also a big animal lover. I just rescued a dog and she’s such a joy to have. It might surprise people that I also have a horse named Lilly and an Amazon parrot named Chili.
Truffles: Your favorite treat?
Cathy: It’s chocolate-covered popcorn for me although it’s hard to choose when you have so many wonderful choices.