Catharine E. Potvin Brown '97 majored in English at Union College before earning an M.S. in administration from the University at Albany. Today, she is founder and CEO of Stragility – a NYS Certified Woman Owned Business Enterprise that works with forward-thinking leaders to take their business to its next level of achievement. Stragility’s three service areas are strategic planning and execution, market research and analysis and talent strategy. The company works with clients to competitively position their businesses and find new ways to engage their teams and customers. Catharine is chairwoman of the Joseph W. Potvin Scholarship, which gives an annual scholarship to a graduating senior at Glens Falls High School. She is a participant in the annual Polar Plunge for Special Olympics (Team Max’s Buddies – Max is her nephew), and a board member for the Epilepsy Foundation of Northeastern New York. Catharine is also active in various fundraising events for multiple sclerosis, is a Strategic Alliance Partner for the Entrepreneurs’ Organization and a Capital Region Chamber member. She is a committee member for the Adopted non-profit fundraising campaign for the Capital Region Chamber. Also an active Union graduate, Catharine moderated an alumni leadership panel series in fall 2020. Her hobbies include golf, downhill skiing, running with her Wheaton Terrier, Champagne, and renovating her 1890 Victorian home with her husband, Matt Brown. She also enjoys spending time at her family’s summer home on Lake George.
What are the most challenging and rewarding aspects of your career or volunteer activities?
A challenge has been learning how to gracefully deal with the rollercoaster ride that comes with owning your own business. Leaning into the frustration and getting discouraged is fine for a moment but you have to be able to pull yourself out of it quickly and implement new solutions. A very rewarding aspect of owning your own business is to see the immediate impact you can have on helping a client grow, and that doesn’t mean just financially. Grow by being a better leader, team member, strategic thinker and communicator. Another rewarding aspect is choosing who you get to work and surround yourself with – clients, colleagues, circles of influence and network. It’s all about the right fit in any relationship.