Small Business Spotlight: Samantha Cato ’10
We’re shining a light on a few small business owners from our official UCF alumni Business Directory ! Meet alumna Samantha Cato ’10, FNTP, owner of Harvesting Grace with Sam:
What inspired you to start this business?
A major part was realizing corporate life was not for me, but the larger part was the health challenges I was facing. The short of it: my body was BEGGING me to slow down, to listen to it, and to give it grace, but I kept pushing forward. I was constantly stressed, tired, and hungry. I could not stop thinking about my next meal. I worked out too hard, under-ate, and became obsessed with eating clean. Little did I know, I was depriving my body of the nutrients it so desperately needed. As a result, I found myself dealing with an array of issues – chronic stress, digestive issues, hormone imbalances, hypothalamic amenorrhea, adrenal dysfunction, and hypothyroidism. I hit rock bottom, and that was it for me – I knew I needed help figuring out the root cause of my health challenges. I could only research so much on my own!
I since then embarked on a journey with my fair share of holistic practitioners and functional medicine doctors. I started to heal and find myself again. I am in a significantly better place, but I still have a ways to go. My health journey inspired me to seek a holistic nutrition program to further my knowledge of how nutrition and lifestyle choices play a crucial role in our health. I realized my passion for nutrition was more than a passion– it was a career path. I came across the Nutritional Therapy Association and knew their program was meant for me. I went back to school to become a Functional Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, which focuses on taking a foundational and bio-individual approach to holistic nutrition to balance the whole body. As an FNTP + educator, it is my passion to teach people how to use nutrient-dense, whole foods that nourish and support the body’s natural healing process. It is my hope that I will be able to empower my clients in their health. I knew that if I could save them from some of the heartache along the way that I experienced so much of, that was a plus!
What is the best part about running your own company?
Man, where do I start? I love the freedom it has provided me. I thrive on setting my schedule and framework for my business. I have the chance to fully embrace my vision and mission and run with it as fast, or as slow, as I want to. I’m blessed with the opportunity to work from anywhere and have the ability to travel or go see and be with family at the drop of a hat. Don’t get me wrong, being a business owner is tough – it’s the toughest thing I’ve done – but it’s incredibly worth it knowing I am helping people lead healthier and more joyful lives in the best way I know how to serve them. I get to make it my own and let my personality shine through, which I think gives it life and meaning. .
What is your mission statement or goal?
My mission is to help overworked and underfed women shift from a place of hustle to one of grace as they learn how to nourish their bodies with real food, functional movement, and self-love to live a slower, joy-filled life.
What was the biggest thing you learned during your time as a Knight that you apply to your life today?
Going to UCF and being a part of Greek life taught me the importance of surrounding yourself with people that lift you up and encourage you to embrace your individualism, as well as people that think differently than you. Community is gold. It’s good to look through a different lens from time to time to see things in a different light. I think there’s a lot to gain from that. And it’s ok to let go of the relationships that no longer serve you.
Why did you sign up for the Knights Network Business Directory?
I desired to be a part of the alumni community. I wanted to connect with other Knights to share in each other’s business setbacks and successes and embrace collaboration.
How has the pandemic affected your business?
I started my practice at the beginning of the pandemic, so it started at a snail’s pace. That said, I’ve had a lot of time that I may not have had otherwise to dig deep into my “why”, how I wanted to build my practice, how I could share what I do and offer, and how I could tap back into my creative side to spread my message and help more people.
Why is it important to support small business owners?
Small business owners typically don’t have big budgets or ample resources to lean on to build their business. Even still, they rarely lack authenticity, quality, and the desire to serve people and what they need. Supporting a small business is supporting someone’s passion and rooting him or her on. That’s pretty cool if you ask me!
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
My practice is thriving but small so I can maintain a personable and quality practice as I continue to teach my clients how to nourish their bodies with real food, functional movement, and self-love.
Find more Alumni-owned Businesses on UCF Knights Network!
UCF Knights Network is our alumni professional networking platform that promotes career and professional development, entrepreneurship, job opportunities, and mentorship. Once you’ve signed up (it takes only a minute to do if you sign up with Facebook or LinkedIn!), you can access the official UCF Alumni Business Directory via the platform.
Add your alumni-owned business for a chance to be featured in our next small business spotlight!
This service is offered at no cost to our alumni, it’s simply a perk of being a grad! So, join today to reconnect with fellow Knights, support alumni-owned businesses, and expand your professional network.