Catherine DeVrye

Long before standing ovations, Catherine was an IBM executive in Australia, Tokyo and Hong Kong with roles in sales, marketing, HR, communication. At one stage, in your shoes, responsible for incentive events and leadership programs, she vowed to not only deliver an entertaining, educational and motivational message from the stage but to be easy to work with off stage.

The best-selling author of 9 books, translated into over a dozen languages is an inspirational communicator with proven hands-on international experience in the private and public sectors as both a corporate businesswoman and small business owner. Named in 2016 by the Financial Review as one of the Top 100 Women of Influence in Australia…

DeVrye…Develops ideas-Delights audiences-Delivers results uniquely tailored to your brief. Combining Gen Y energy with Baby-boomer experience and wisdom, her ‘street cred’ adds value to any event.

A catalyst for change, dynamic presentations merge research and thought leadership with practical, common sense examples; a mix of substance and humour to inspire, motivate and empower others to achieve the best in themselves and their organisations. Repeat bookings on 5 continents with thousands of client testimonials give you peace of mind she won’t let you down.

She holds a Master of Science degree and has attended short courses at Harvard University and The Melbourne MT. Elize Business School, where she also lectured; as well as IMD in Switzerland. Yet this former teacher still believes the best education is common sense! She touches the head and the heart to shift attitude and empower action.

One of the most versatile and sought after speakers in Australia today-featured in Who’s Who of Australian Women-Catherine has spoken to business leaders, prime ministers and elite athletes. Always in search of new material, this thought leader even trekked to Timbuktu! An active surf lifesaver, sportswoman and adventurer, she’s cycled over the Andes, scaled peaks in the Antarctic and climbed 20,000’ to the summit of Mt Kilimanjaro in Africa and beyond Everest Base Camp.

She was given the honour to carry the Olympic Torch on the day of the opening ceremonies of the Sydney Olympics-plus has an inspirational, heart-warming story of her personal journey from an orphanage in Canada-to being a cancer survivor-which she sometimes shares depending on your brief. Grateful to have had the opportunity to volunteer with street kids in Vietnam and South Africa, she believes the biggest challenges of all….are those we face in our everyday lives-as we adopt a positive attitude in the face of adversity to become more resilient and move forward.

Speaking topics

Good Service Is Good Business

Recipient of the 1993/94 Australian Executive Woman of the Year award and the author of the best selling book, Good Service Is Good Business, Catherine DeVrye makes leading edge management theory come to life through practical, everyday examples.

Presented in an entertaining and educational format, you’ll learn the 7 Simple Strategies for Success which you can immediately apply to your business:

Self esteem…. Service is not subservience. Turn “she’ll be right mate” into “Get it right mate”

Exceed expectations…Promise good and deliver great. Good service can increase market share

Recover… Each complaint represents 24 others who don’t tell you, so look at each one as an opportunity in disguise

Vision… It costs 5 times more to get a new customer than keep an existing one so do the right thing to have existing customers boomerang back

Improve… If your not getting better, you’re getting worse so continually focus on little improvements

Care…Customers don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care so make sure you’re “user friendly” and it’s easy for people to do business with you

Empower…Make everyone realise the important role they play on your customer team so they feel more responsible and response-able. Boost your bottom line without increasing cost.

Conquering the Challenge of Change

Successfully managing change is vital to both individuals and organisations. Constant change has become the status qua and those who succeed in the future will not only understand and cope with the principles of change, but will have learned the importance of recognising and embracing these principles.

It is said that the only person who likes change is a wet baby. As we mature in a personal or organisational sense, resistance to change often increases; or worse still, there exists a false feeling of complacency about the good old days.

“I’ve been here 25 years and we don’t do it that way” or “we tried it that way once”.

If you’ve ever heard words to that effect, Catherine DeVrye can help acquaint your staff to the realities of a changing world and the benefits accrued by embracing such change and innovation for future success.

Of the top Fortune 500 companies at the turn of the century, only three remain. And less than 46 per cent of the Fortune 500 companies in 1982 are still in existence today. This clearly demonstrates that success today does not necessarily guarantee success tomorrow.

From first hand experience in IBM at a time the computer giant thought they were immune from a changing environment, Catherine combines the latest research with humour to challenge all organisations to analyse their own methods of operation in terms of the need for a paradigm shift. Her involvement in the establishment of the award-winning “Life! Be In It” campaign provides a practical example of a paradigm shift in attitudes towards sport and marketing.

In her pre-conference briefing, she will gain an understanding of the unique challenges within your operations.

Change is inevitable. Learning from change is optional. Catherine will help educate employees about the benefits of welcoming change before it overcomes them and their organisation.

Participants will leave this session with a renewed commitment to accepting change as a positive force in their work environment. They will feel empowered and more confident about being victors from change, rather than victims of change. 

Success… Turning Obstacles into Opportunities

Sometimes we can control and shape the changes in our environment, and sometimes we can not. However, we can always control our attitude towards change. Regardless of the circumstances, it is our attitude to change which decides whether an outcome will be positive or negative.

Catherine DeVrye has experienced the effects of a positive attitude to change in her own life. Born in Canada, she was abandoned by her mother at three months of age and raised by adoptive parents.

Their untimely death from cancer in 1973 left her alone, and so with $200 in her wallet, she arrived in Australia to start a new life.

Working first as a teacher, Catherine successfully carved a career in the predominantly male domains of sport, politics and international business. This success was recognised with the Australian Executive Woman of the Year award she received in 1993.

Yet, even though her life in Australia was filled with friends and the satisfaction of a blossoming career, there was still something missing. So, at age thirty-seven, she decided to search for her biological parents. In spite of the problems of geography and government bureaucracy, Catherine’s perseverance paid off when, on the eve of the closing ceremony of the 1988 Winter Olympics held in her home town of Calgary, Canada, she discovered who they were.

Similarly, her father had been looking for her since she was six months old. Catherine finally met the eight times Canadian Rodeo Champion as one of 12,000 spectators when he was inducted into the Rodeo Hall of Fame.

From an abandoned infancy to finding her biological parents; from an underprivileged primary school to a short stint at Harvard University; from a failed marriage to friends and financial success beyond her imagination as a child; Catherine will share in a
humorous and heartwarming way, her experiences of how every obstacle can be turned into an opportunity by choosing to adopt a positive attitude in the face of adversity.

Although we cannot always control change, we do always have a choice to see it as a negative or positive force in our business and personal lives.

Attendees will leave this session feeling better about themselves and their organisation. They will recognise the importance of focusing on the positive to produce personal and professional success and learn how anyone can turn obstacles into opportunities.


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.

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

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

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.
KPMG Singapore And Malaysia

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.

Catherines business name sums up her philosophy. CDV –is not only her initials but stands for the registered company name Clients Deserve Value-and that commitment to excellence and quality will contribute to the success of your next event.
American Express

Catherine DeVrye speaker

Speaker Video

Speaker showreel

Speaker showreel

Shift Happens-Turn Obstacles to Opportunities

Shift Happens-Turn Obstacles to Opportunities

Women at Work Personal accountability

Women at Work Personal accountability

Good Service is Good Business

Good Service is Good Business

Conquer the Challenge of Change & Disruption

Conquer the Challenge of Change & Disruption

Conquering the Challenge of Change

Conquering the Challenge of Change

Adding Value to Events

Adding Value to Events

Catherine Devrye

Catherine Devrye

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