After being invited to one of SI’s Private CEO Conferences, Cate Heaman walked away with a bold vision. Now she’s made it a reality.
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“If you told me two years ago, when I sat in my first Satell conference, that I was going to find a way to donate $25,000 per year to one organization and become a member of Satell, I would have told you there’s no way,” says Cate Heaman, founder and CEO of Prelude Solutions, a technology consulting company based in Malvern, Pa.
Heaman’s skepticism was understandable. Prelude was just a few years old at that point, with only eight employees. And yet, a couple of years—and a few Satell conferences—later, Heaman and Prelude are proud Satell Institute members, committing $25,000 per year for four years to the Women’s Business Enterprise Center—East (WBEC East), which advocates for and certifies women business owners and entrepreneurs in Pennsylvania.
How did it happen? Heaman credits that first Satell conference she attended, which planted a seed inside her and gave her a bold vision to pursue.
In this conversation, Heaman talks about her company, the challenges and benefits of running a women-owned business, and the power the Satell Institute has to inspire and help businesses make an impact in their communities.
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Prelude Solutions is…
… a technology consulting firm. We go into organizations and review all of their wire-line and wireless data and voice systems, and we analyze their current spend and look for savings. We’re averaging 33 percent savings compared to where a business was. So we cut costs by 33 percent, and then we have an ecosystem of over 450 carriers that we can use to help them improve their technology. We share in the savings 50-50 over 12 months. So it’s a contingency-based model.
We currently have…
…20 employees. We tripled in size over the last couple of years.
One key to success…
….is that everything we do is data-driven. Our organization really looks at the data of the finance and the data of the market, and we make good decisions.
The other key to success is literally the culture—the culture of this organization has just flourished over time. During the pandemic, we dug in. The world was going to video, and we really started developing this remote-only culture that we knew was coming and that we’re in now.
We also redid our core values. When we were finally able to come back together as a team after COVID, I said, “The core values we have are ones I made up when I started a couple of years ago. I want them to be ours.” That was the start of something really important, and we hold ourselves accountable and show examples of how we as individuals demonstrate our core values. It’s something that’s really been important to the organization.
One thing to know about being a women-owned business…
…is that you don’t get any business just by being women-owned. You gain more opportunities to show your capabilities, but you have to prove yourself. And that’s always been the case.
But it also gives you a community you can lean on. We help pick each other up. It’s a different conversation than I would be having with a gentleman who’s a business owner because you have to balance more when you have a family and kids and dogs and a business.
The reason I started a business was…
…to give back to the community. We do a great deal of charitable contributions. Every time we have a SOW [statement of work], part of our engagement is that a portion of the savings we create will either go to WBEC or a charity of the client’s choice. It’s something that is very near and dear to us as an organization—always giving back to the community.
And now, through the Satell Institute, we’re able to home in on one organization for four years at $25,000 per year—which is a big feat for a company of our size.
I first got exposed to Satell…
…through Mike Innocenzo of PECO. He invited me to a Satell conference. I sat at the table with Mike and all these CEOs, and I was like, I want to be able to commit to the Satell Institute next year.
I saw a vision of how we could do it—by gaining large customers. We were able to gain three Fortune 1000 clients last year. We took a percentage of spend and we donated it to WBEC East. We just presented them with a check for $22,000 last week. Satell is where I saw the vision.
Whenever I go to a Satell event…
…I know that I’m going to gain some insight—something that I can do to benefit our own culture. I know that will come out in every meeting.
After I went to my first Satell conference a couple of years ago, we incorporated a day of service for employees. We said, you pick a day and go serve out in the community. Everyone on the team absolutely loved that. So it helps the culture. Everybody’s involved.
One of the great things about Satell…
…is the awareness it brings about [of giving back]. We’re all going to focus. And when everyone is focused on the same thing, the universe answers.