Alison Cate honored on Forty Under 40 list
Alison (Monaghan) Cate is among 40 young professionals honored on the 19th annual list of Forty Under 40 by the Business Record this spring.
Cate, a native of Guthrie Center, is among the 40 local business leaders, who are chosen by past award winners, under the age of 40 who have demonstrated impressive career achievements and deep community involvement.
Together, they join 720 past Business Record Forty Under 40 honorees to bring the total number of honorees to 760 since the Business Record began the list in 2000.
Cate, who recently married husband, James, on December 30, 2017, is the daughter of Barry Monaghan of Panora and Karen Andrew of Lake Placid, Florida. She is a 2001 graduate of Guthrie Center High School and 2005 graduate of Iowa State University with a degree in journalism. She is currently the director of marketing and development for Goodwill of Central Iowa.
Cate, 34, spent the bulk of her career in Las Vegas leading initiatives for entertainment, sports and hospitality clients. While in Las Vegas she was named a Rising Star of Business by the Las Vegas Business Press and caught the attention of Iowa State University’s Alumni Association for its Visions Across America project, highlighting two alumni from each state in spring 2014.
She says leaving the connections and reputation she worked hard to establish over eight years there to start over in Des Moines in her 30’s was hard.
“I was worried I would have to start over completely and not be able to make an impact in Iowa, but one of the best assets has been my connections through Guthrie Center who have helped guide me as if I never left,” Cate said.
In fact, three of the letters of recommendation for Cate’s honor came from fellow Guthrie Center high school alumni, including Mike Underwood, Katy (Snyder) Hildman and Nathan Beck.
Cate said living in Las Vegas helped her understand how unique her hometown community and childhood really were.
“I feel incredibly lucky that I had the opportunity to try anything that interested me, from cheerleading to speech to Spanish Club to golf to being a page at the Iowa Senate,” Cate said. “That freedom really helped me determine who I wanted to become as a person, and I still to this day thank Judy Bauler, my high school newspaper teacher, for helping me discover a love of journalism, and Dennis Pickering, the former high school counselor who tipped me that public relations would be a great career route for me. Because of the dedicated and attentive faculty, figuring out a career was an easy process for me and one that I’ve consistently been involved in ever since.”
Cate serves on the board of directors for the I Have a Dream Foundation and Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) Central Iowa. She has been active in supporting local non-profits since returning to Iowa, including Ten Squared Women of Guthrie County. She was a member of Tiger Housing LLC, a collection of individuals who partnered to stimulate growth in the community’s housing market in Guthrie Center.
Cate made the decision to join Goodwill of Central Iowa as she was craving more from her workplace, seeking a position where her efforts would truly be felt, she says.
“Every day I get to see the individuals with barriers served as a result of individuals’ donations, customers shopping in our thrift stores, and contributions from corporate partners in the business community, and I am honored to be the one chosen to help share that story with the masses,” she said. “It’s so much more than stuff to us; those donations are changing lives right here in Central Iowa every day.”
Cate says her wish is for the Central Iowa community to develop strategy to wrap arms around the rural businesses and areas in this region that need the support to continue to survive and thrive.
“Growing up in Guthrie Center helped define who I am as a person, and I want to see those small towns grow with opportunities alongside our suburbs and downtown region,” she said.
Cate said her highest priority at Goodwill of Central Iowa since joining last year has been to establish a brand identity that clearly communicates the mission aspect of our organization.
“We want those who donate items to understand the full impact of that decision: that the revenue goes on to fund skills training and employment services for individuals with barriers,” she said. “My first major project was to develop our new tagline: “You donate. We train. Jobs earned. Lives changed.” I am now focusing on expanding to a larger strategic approach of integrating the message into the community.”
Cate feels privileged to sit on the board for the I Have a Dream Foundation, which works to prevent dropout and put students on the path to college and career success, and says she looks forward to contributing ongoing marketing guidance and outreach conversations.
“There has not been one interaction I have had with the children served, one tour at Findley Elementary, one discussion with a graduate touched by this organization that has not left me with goosebumps,” she said. “In Des Moines, it can be easy to take our education system for granted and lose sight of those students who are facing incredible barriers in their desire to learn.”
Cate says her biggest passion is leaving the world a better place than she found it and paying it forward by offering support to those in need.
“How much better would our world be today if we offered more kindness, even as small as one good deed a day, with no expectations in return?,” she said.
Cate says her father, Barry Monaghan, Chief Business Development Officer at Guthrie County State Bank, is her biggest mentor.
“I remember at a young age he told me, “There are people who talk about doing things, and there are people who go out and do them,” she said.