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Cathleen Trigg-Jones of Catscape Productions: They Told Me It Was Impossible And I Did It Anyway

An Interview With Candice Georgiadis

Passion, purpose and focus. Our passion is promoting women, our purpose is to create a village where female content creators have distribution in order to get their content out on a global level, and our focus is on uplifting women.

As a part of our series about “dreamers who ignored the naysayers and did what others said was impossible”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Cathleen Trigg-Jones, Founder and CEO of Catscape Productions.

Cathleen Trigg-Jones is a former journalist who now serves as the Founder and CEO of Catscape Productions, which houses iWoman Studios + TV. For over 20 years, the uber-talented CEO has dedicated her time, energy, and expertise to create a full-service media and production company, Catscape Productions. Under her leadership, the Catscape team has created and produced content for CBS, ABC, NBC, FOX, BET, VH1, ESPN, CNN, TNT, MSG, CNBC, MTV, Showtime, and Discovery networks. She developed, shot, produced, and starred in the docu-series “We are the Joneses” which aired on BET Centric and Discovery Life She is also the executive producer and host of her own televised talk show, “Chic Chat,” which aired on FOX and can now be seen on iWoman TV. As a wife and proud mother of four, Cathleen believes it is crucial for women to be represented in all industries and chooses to amplify the female voice in entertainment through her content. iWomanTV is a means of distribution for talented female content creators who have been left out of conversations nor have had an opportunity to get through the doors to pitch shows.

Thank you so much for joining us! Our readers would love to ‘get to know you’ a bit better. Can you tell us your ‘backstory’?

I had dreamed of being on television since I was a little girl. At seven years old, I took part in a community play which was when I really got the acting bug and realized that being in front of an audience, on their televisions, is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I knew I had really big dreams but I came from a small town, Dover, Delaware. As a baby, I was an orphan and rotated between foster homes until I was eventually adopted right before my second birthday. So I grew up with not only a lot of self-doubt but was also surrounded by doubters. The fact that I had such big, audacious dreams, but lived in the smallest state in the universe, it at times seemed impossible to those around me, but I was very clear on what it was I wanted to do, and I did just that. I have come to a point in my life where I get to check off everything I have done: I’ve been an actress, I’ve been an entrepreneur, and now I’m the CEO and Founder of Catscape Productions, which houses iWomanTV.

Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Well, everything that I’m doing with iWoman TV is new. My goal is to launch a network that will give women, globally, their voice back.

In your opinion, what do you think makes your company or organization stand out from the crowd?

Passion, purpose and focus. Our passion is promoting women, our purpose is to create a village where female content creators have distribution in order to get their content out on a global level, and our focus is on uplifting women.

Ok, thank you for that. I’d like to jump to the main focus of this interview. Has there ever been a time that someone told you something was impossible, but you did it anyway? Can you share the story with us? What was your idea? What was the reaction of the naysayers? And how did you overcome that?

On a daily basis I get that. Every single day I have people say to me “Why don’t you choose one thing? Why don’t you stay in your lane? What is the one thing that you want to do?” People try to box you in, particularly, when you’re a woman. That’s something that I think is somewhat unique to women because I also consult with very high net-worth male CEOs and founders, and I sit in meetings with them and I don’t hear people say to them “Stay focused” or “What’s the one thing that you want to get out of this meeting?” I don’t hear that. In fact, I hear them say “What else do you have? Anything else?” And it’s just a whole different conversation when you’re a female in this tech and entertainment space. I feel like people really want to box you in as a female founder and tell you all the things you can’t do and all the reasons why you can’t do them. So, everyday you have to be your own cheerleader because the cheering around you gets real silent on a daily basis.

In the end, how were all the naysayers proven wrong? :-)

I have to keep blinders on, personally. My entire life is proving people wrong — coming out of foster care, being told my entire life that I can’t do what I’ve done because no one’s done it before. When you are an entrepreneur, specifically a Trailblazer, it’s treading in territory that has not been tread before. So, the only way that you can shut down the voices is to put blinders on, stay focused and stop looking for validation from those around you because it’s not their dream, it’s your dream. You can’t expect other people to understand where you’re going. Now, once you get there, everyone’s on your bandwagon. But, you have to get there and sometimes you have to get there alone.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I have had a lot of people that have supported me. A lot of the people who really have helped me along the way, quite frankly, are not people who could physically open a door or give me funding, but they’ve just given me support in telling me that I can. I’ve gotten validation from some of the oddest places such as people sending me a message saying that I’ve inspired them in some way and that gives me the fuel to keep doing what I do. Who I would say has really helped me most, though, is my children. Seeing that I have brought these little people into the world that I’m responsible for, and every now and then, when they’re not rebelling against me, I get validation from them that they’re proud of me or that they see me. That really inspires me to keep going. And it’s not just my children that I’ve given birth to, but the mentees that I’ve had along the way. The people that I’ve opened doors for, seeing how they’ve soared in their careers and doing amazing things now, knowing that I had a hand in that gives me inspiration on a daily basis to keep going.

It must not have been easy to ignore all the naysayers. Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Can you share the story with us?

Oh, there’s so many. One that specifically stands out though is when I was a news reporter in Virginia Beach working at a station called WTKR, but I really wanted to be in New York. New York was always my goal, ever since I was a little girl. But going from Virginia and Maryland and all these other markets to get to New York is not easy because there’s not always room for more than one African-American woman at a station, maybe two, so it felt like a hard feat. At the time, my husband-to-be already lived in New York City so I figured it made sense to move there. I met with a news director in New York, and she basically told me to just stay put where I was, that I needed to get more experience and stay in the smaller market, that I might not be ready for New York yet. And I thought about that for a minute and it really did a lot to me. I thought I’d made it, but she took a meeting with me only to tell me that I’m not ready to be in New York. I remember it took me down. Sometimes you have to go all the way down in order to come back up and it took me really down for a while and I believed her for a minute. Then something said to me don’t listen because she doesn’t know anything about the fight that you have had to endure to even get to this place. So, I reached out to other news directors and found the amazing Will Wright (we’re still very good friends to this day). Sometimes one person’s trash is another person’s treasure. Not that I was trash to the news director who turned me down, but that’s how it felt. A completely different person saw me and I could do no wrong. He thought I was amazing and he wanted me to come to New York! Not only did he open the door for me as a reporter but he also wanted me to be his anchor and he put me on specials, so we did some amazing stories together and I won awards. I won an Emmy and got nominated for several other Emmys. It was a completely different give and take. He saw the gift in me and he gave me the opportunity and allowed me to shine in a way that someone else didn’t see and that opened the door for me to become the Emmy award-winning journalist that I am today.

Based on your experience, can you share 5 strategies that people can use to harness the sense of tenacity and do what naysayers think is impossible? (Please share a story or an example for each)

I would say plan, focus, strategy, execution and results. If you plan, if you stay focused, if you come up with a strategy, when you execute you’re going to be able to perform and get the results that you want. Without any of those steps along the way, a proper plan/strategy, you find yourself right back in the place wondering why you can’t get out of this spiral. You can’t get the results you want when you tackle an idea without a plan, focus or strategy.

What is your favorite quote or personal philosophy that relates to the concept of resilience?

There’s several but I really live my life by the belief by the proverb “To whom much is given, much will be required” (Luke 12:48). I believe that if you want to achieve certain things in life, sometimes you have to give of yourself in order to get to that next level. I don’t believe that just focusing on only yourself as you’re trying to climb a ladder is wise, I think it’s the recipe for failure and unhappiness. So, I think through gratitude, you have to give back and pull others up and open the door for others along the way. That is what’s going to create your own desire and ability to be resilient so that you too can make it.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

I’ve already started it by launching iWoman. This platform elevates women’s voices and serves as a movement towards women empowerment. The reason I believe in the movement of women supporting women and telling our stories, is because I really believe women are the center of the universe. We are mother nature. We give birth. We are the ones who continue to keep mankind growing. I believe that there is so much that can be gained by women supporting one another and lifting one another up so that we’re in positions of power. I believe when we get to the top, we are able to see and think very clearly about what is needed to get the job done, uninhibited of all things that stand in the way of that vision. Women are amazing multitaskers and possess both sides, masculine and feminine, that makes us the most brilliant leaders. The movement has already started: it’s getting women to speak up, tell their stories, support one another, encourage one another, and then take care of the rest of the universe together.

Can our readers follow you on social media?

Yes!

Facebook: @CathleenTrigg

Twitter: @CathleenTrigg

Instagram: @cattrigg | @iwomantv

Thank you for these great stories. We wish you only continued success!

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In-depth Interviews with Authorities in Business, Pop Culture, Wellness, Social Impact, and Tech. We use interviews to draw out stories that are both empowering and actionable.

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Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis

Candice Georgiadis is an active mother of three as well as a designer, founder, social media expert, and philanthropist.

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