Catherine Steele spent the first two years of her life in Ottawa, the capital city of Canada. Ottawa is known as the home of the Federal Government and is one of the most bilingual cities in Canada. The young Steele family lived in an area of Ottawa that supported newcomers from a variety of cultural backgrounds. From a very early age, Catherine was surrounded by diverse voices, languages, cultures, foods, and opinions.
Catherine attributes her awareness of differences in body language to her father’s love of languages and playful facial expressions. Eyebrow waggling games at the breakfast table as a child led to giving public presentations on personal space and body language as an adult. Along with her workshops and presentations on clear communication, pronunciation training and accent reduction strategies, Catherine speaks on topics such as “Personal Space, Body Language, and Speech Patterns that Triple your Networking Impact” and “Canadian Etiquette”.
At the age of about 3, shortly after moving back to her father’s home province of BC, Catherine had an accident that would her change her life and set her on a path that would lead her to a career as a pronunciation coach and accent reduction specialist. One day, as she was walking down the stairs to play with her beloved big-girl tricycle, Catherine tripped and fell. The rough metal edge of the foot plate on the overturned tricycle sliced down the center of her tender little three-year-old tongue.
The injury took a long time to heal and Catherine’s mother feared that speaking would be difficult. From being a precocious 3-year old with a big vocabulary of long words, to being a silent toddler with a very sore tongue as the stitches healed, Catherine had to learn to speak again.
It is this painful period in her life that Catherine attributes to being the beginning of her ability to recognize the difference between what an immigrant to Canada is doing as they make the sounds of English and what the Canadians are doing. Although most people have no memory of learning to talk, Catherine had to think about each of the sounds of English as she trained herself to speak clearly again. This allows Catherine to coach her adult clients using strategies that are specific to the needs and skill sets of adult learners.
Catherine’s TESOL training, teaching degree, and over 30 years as a language specialist and educator in Quebec, Japan, Mexico, and BC with Canada Immigration Settlement, Vancouver Community College, Vancouver English Centre and the UBC CP3 Pharmacy program have made her an expert in the field of language instruction. Her clients have gone on to have huge success, both personally and professionally. From building successful public speaking careers, to facing intensive phone, panel and demonstration interviews with confidence. Catherine’s training has led to promotions and career advancements for her clients that have meant tens of thousands of extra dollars in income annually.
When Catherine isn’t coaching or speaking, she loves to spend time with family and friends, dance salsa, travel, and even sing Karaoke!