Catherine Ruddell, Creatively Sustained, Fort St. John

Fort St. John
WeBC April 11, 2024

Motivated by a desire to combine her artistic background, business experience, and family heritage, Catherine Ruddell launched Creatively Sustained in Fort St. John in 2020. She offers online and in-person leadership training for organizations, equipping them with the tools to support meaningful relationships within their teams, communities and families.

As a proud member of the Métis Nation of British Columbia, Region 7, Catherine deeply values Indigenous reconciliation. Through her workshops, she fosters inclusivity, creativity, and personal growth within a decolonial framework called “Cultivating Safe Spaces.” Catherine provides groups and individuals with tools to build understanding, trust, and belonging across diverse perspectives, emphasizing reconciliation and addressing the effects of colonization on Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Catherine’s training aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #92, which urges Canadian corporations to adopt the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights, emphasizing consultation, equitable opportunities, and education for staff on Indigenous history and rights. 

As Catherine was launching Creatively Sustained, she began looking for resources to learn new business skills and connect with other entrepreneurs. She discovered WeBC and participated in various WeBC programs including a Peer Mentoring Group and initiatives like Taking the Stage® Leadership Communication Program. Inspired by the network she found within WeBC’s community, Catherine has now stepped into a new role as Regional Ambassador.

As the first WeBC ambassador in Fort St. John, Catherine aims to support local businesses and bridge the gap between WeBC’s resources and the entrepreneurial community. With her deep understanding of the challenges and triumphs of entrepreneurship, her ultimate goal is to foster connection, support, and empowerment among the diverse women-owned businesses in her region.

Catherine’s journey exemplifies resilience, adaptability, and a dedication to making a positive impact in her community and beyond.

Credit: Heather Theede Photography

Client Q&A

Q: What inspired and motivated you to start Creatively Sustained, and how has this journey evolved?

A: I’m a creative artist, who has always had an entrepreneurial mindset that served me in several different roles. I was a manager and eventually a co-owner of a café, which was my first experience with managing small businesses. I enjoyed how dynamic the role was and it allowed me to get to know the community. After selling it, I went back to being an artist but ultimately found working as an artist can be quite lonely.

I decided to look for something that would allow for flexibility, create opportunities to connect with the community, and include art. I took the Cultivating Safe Spaces (CSS) training program, developed by Elaine Alec. It’s great for workplaces in the sense that it helps us to understand ourselves, who we are, and how to work together in a team setting. It aligns with building more respectful workplaces and cultures, and studies show that these conditions contribute to more creative and innovative thinking.

I am also in the process of finishing my coaching certification through the First Nations Health Authority. It incorporates an Indigenous lens to coaching alongside the core competencies of the International Coaching Federation. I’m excited to also offer one on one support for entrepreneurs and changemakers as a leadership coach.

Q: What made you want to become a Regional Ambassador?

A: There hasn’t been a WeBC ambassador in my region before and I’m excited to be the first to support the wide range of businesses in Fort St. John. There is a talented community of women entrepreneurs working in the energy sector, as consultants, service providers, running home-based businesses, and more; there is a real diversity of women entrepreneurs here. I think that also appeals to me in the sense that there’s a lot of opportunity for engaging people in different ways; there’s dynamic conversations to have and many types of entrepreneurs that I can support.

Q: What aspects are you most looking forward to as a WeBC Regional Ambassador?

A: I’m most looking forward to connecting with the community, having in-person connections with other business owners, and being on the ground to give advice or direct women to helpful resources. 

I think I’m also really great at encouraging folks to be visible. I have a background in communication and I’ve done a lot of self-promotion as an artist. I understand that embracing visibility can be uncomfortable for some people, and that’s perfectly fine. I am excited to share my background in marketing to provide women with creative ideas and share novel ways to self promote, through a more artistic lens too.

Q: What advice would you offer aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own business?

A: I would say take some time to get to know and understand yourself. Discover what your strengths are, what you’re naturally great at, and take note of the skills that people compliment you on. Embrace that for whatever venture or project you’re building because those are the skills you’re likely to feel confident sharing and will help you build momentum. Lean into your strengths and what you are naturally attracted to as soon and as much as you can.

Where to Find Creatively Sustained




About WeBC

WeBC is a not-for-profit that has been supporting women business owners across the province for over 25 years. Working with our regional partners, we’ve provided thousands of entrepreneurs with business loans and expertise, training, resources, and peer network support to help businesses grow and thrive.