Cathy Braken: My name is Cathy Braken, and I’m the owner of Cyberauthorize Merchant Services, and we are an independent ISO sales office for Bankcard, and we represent several national processors, and our clients and customers. Our niche is e-commerce and mobile solutions for accepting credit cards.
One of the things we do here is we network. So an insurance provider of mine was selling me life insurance and when she was getting to know me and more about what I did for a living, she suggested I come and check out a meeting here at the SBRN. Well, with the membership, there is some basic marketing where you become part of a group and our marketing goes out via Internet or newsletter, we have a directory that goes out once a year, and we’re constantly meeting our peer professionals and their clients. So it opens up doors of opportunity for you to interact.
And for me, I fall under a corporate category. One of the perks is, then, that a lot of my professional peers in some of the other categories will often call me just for information and advice about what’s going on in my industry, and I’m always happy to tell them that. And then if I have some of those broader questions for some of the other professionals, maybe financial services and colleagues… I never know if I’m going to need them professionally, but they are always available in this particular circle to help out one another. So we get a good foundation of information.
Then we all seem like smarter professionals, because of each other. This is a very easy organization for me to endorse. I’m not paid to do this. I pay them to be here. The membership, I’ve never regretted that. It’s been wonderful. The leadership is good. I’ve had the opportunity to lead and chair here for two years, a couple years back. And I got the support and encouragement from my colleagues. That was just unbelievable. It’s changed the way I look at networking. It’s changed the way I look at other businesses. Remember, we have categories of businesses that should be competing against each other, and this organization tends to be somewhat of a utopia for that. We all get along. We all support each other. We all refer to one another and there’s not a lot of pressure to do so. You just do it because you want to and you want to support what it is that they’re doing here.
And then the SBDC just works phenomenally in supporting us and then we all just kind of become a very effective unit, I think, for networking.