Exceptional Businesswomen 2013: Catherine Byers Breet, ARBEZ Inc.

Catherine Byers Breet’s passion is helping others find theirs: ARBEZ founder has a goal of 1 million people finding work they love

Catherine Byers Breet has made her life’s work helping other people find work they love.

Catherine Byers Breet, ARBEZ Inc.
Catherine Byers Breet, ARBEZ Inc.

It helps that she loves doing it, too.

Byers Breet, an Eagan resident for 11 years, may be the owner of ARBEZ, but it’s hard to define her just as a career coach or business owner.

As “chief stripe changer” and speaker she’s on a mission to help 1 million people find the job that helps them do what they love for a living.

She wants to help people change their approach to job hunting so they are doing more than just finding a job, but finding a career to thrive in and truly be happy.

“Most people spend their lives stifling that roar, trying to fit into other people’s plans,” she said. “Every single one of us has something special to offer this world, and when we finally acknowledge our unique gifts, and give ourselves permission to be great, we can change the world.”

She wouldn’t have reached this point without a little soul searching of her own.

She said she spent years “stuffing down and reining in my authentic self.”

“I ended up half committed always longing for more,” she said. “Today, every day is filled with joy because I get to do what I love for a living and in my community: giving people the tools and inspiration they need to grab the life they want.”

Byers Breet has gone through career transitions on her own before, and it helps that she’s been an active participant in her own life for decades.

She’s spent time as a summer camp counselor, tour guide, flight attendant and she’s traveled the world. For nine years she worked as a corporate recruiter and “headhunter,” but felt the urge to go out on her own.

In 2006 she launched ARBEZ, a career search and consulting firm, and never looked back. Her company provides tools, customized training and solutions for career counselors, corporations, higher education and organizations. ARBEZ is zebra spelled backward, and it operates on the idea that people can change their stripes.

The signature program, The Dream Job Workshop Series, brings the online Job Hunt Coaching System to life in concert with colleges, workforce development firms and companies. Her hope is to take her Dream Job Workshop national, which is a 12-hour blended learning course designed to help people find happiness in work.

She also expanded those ideas to a live presentation. She feels her most significant accomplishment was helping launch the Easter Job Transition Group with Easter Lutheran Church in Eagan while bringing her ideas to a live audience.

“Most importantly, the Easter group has helped me find my roar,” Byers Breet said. “That fantastic place where my own passion, experience and talent collide with significant needs in the world.”

She hopes passion for her career rubs off on others.

“Career strategy is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity,” she said. “Too often it takes a crisis for people to realize this. Everyone must take responsibility for their own future.”

ARBEZ hopes to inspire people to take action before someone else takes it for them, and help employers and individuals understand what it takes to find the right long-term fit.

She, too, has grown in her work.

The youngest of five children, she said she grew up never asking for help. But in 2008 when the economy took a serious hit, she found community partners that included community colleges, job search firms, financial institutions and universities.

“Like us, they see the power of working together to attack the gaps in career and job search skills,” Byers Breet said.

Working in Dakota County has helped.

“It has been invigorating to work in my own backyard, build strong bridges between my personal and professional life,” Byers Breet said. “As I work to strengthen the community, the community strengthens my personal life.”

It’s been rewarding for her to see people in her community enjoy their work and the companies enjoy having them.

She’s just a few hundred thousand away from reaching her million stripe-changing goal.