Charlotte entrepreneur and mom of three Cate Gutter recently launched a women-focused monthly speaker series — covering topics from interior design to sex to personal finance — called Good Taste with Cate & Co. Tickets are $45 and up to 30 people can sign up for each event.
The social gatherings have an educational focus and an ultimate goal of creating an inclusive tribe of women representing all of Charlotte who share knowledge in a social and meaningful way.
“Why not look to each other here in the Charlotte community for help navigating the areas we need some assistance?” Gutter says. “We are stronger and more impactful when we lean on each other and build each other up. It takes a village as they say.”
So far they’ve had financial guru Ivey Baker from Gaskin Asset Management talk about attainable financial goals; stylist Whitley Hamlin about fashion and personal style; and in December, event planner Katrina Hutchins hosted everyone at her house and shared holiday hosting and decorating tips.
Background: Gutter started the series to connect people, especially women, directly with an expert in a social setting — and at an approachable price point.
On one hand, information is free and accessible to anyone from anywhere (thanks to the internet). But, Gutter, a 32-year-old UNC grad, says endless Googling can send us down a rabbit hole and “often lead to more questions than answers.”
To contrast, highly personalized plans and classes led by experts can cost thousands of dollars or feel like one big, uncomfortable sales pitch.
Gutter explains that for women, who often make 80 percent of the decisions for their families, the quest to have it all figured out can be overwhelming.
“It’s impossible to know everything about everything. We, as women, need to be smart and efficient with our time,” she says. “… We all face challenges and that’s why it’s important to do life together. We are social creatures by nature and life is just better with community.”
Who’s invited: There’s a heavy tilt toward women, however, Cate emphasizes that “this is a community space for everyone. You don’t need a membership, you don’t have to be a certain age or marital status, or have any sort of expertise to come, learn, and mingle.”
The events are kept intentionally small (capped at 30 people) in order to create a safe and intimate setting where everyone feels comfortable asking questions specific to their personal situation.
How it works: The events are held once a month, usually Thursday, and last about an hour and a half. Each evening starts around 6:30 p.m. with 30 minutes of drinks, bites, and socializing so attendees can get to know each other.
After the socializing portion, Gutter hosts a 15-minute conversation with a local expert followed by a 45-minute Q&A where attendees can ask questions specific to their situation, or something more general.
Pricing: It’s $45 to attend and tickets can be purchased here, on Gutter’s website. The cost includes drinks, bites, and a swag bag, and part of the proceeds go to a local charity that has to do with each forum’s topic.
Upcoming topics and speakers:
- January 30: Meal Prep & Planning with Carolyn Hallett
- February 20: Insight into Design with Ashley Shaw (sold out)
- March 19: Dr. Rostan’s Skin Care for a Lifetime
- April (date TBD): Panel on Hormones with 3 Health Specialists
- May (date TBD): Intimacy & Sex with Dr. Heinz