The story behind Help Given
Customer: Catherine, a spirited entrepreneur
Manager: Eden, a BMO Harris small-business banking market manager
When the opportunity arose for BMO Harris to help make a customer’s dream come true, Catherine immediately sprung to mind for Eden Savery. Having worked with the 91-year-old “spark plug” for a couple of years, the small business banking market manager knew she would be an ideal candidate for Help Given, an initiative that sees BMO Harris go above and beyond to help a deserving customer. In Catherine’s case, that meant giving a boost to the beauty product GlamorEyes, which she had invented.
We recently reached out to Eden to find out why he picked Catherine — and how he knew the result would be so magical.
What were the qualities that made Catherine the right person for Help Given, in your eyes?
Her drive was a major influence. In three years of working together, she never missed one of my meetings I set up with her. She was so passionate about succeeding, and she has a tough “go getter” attitude, which is so inspiring. Catherine is such a spark plug. When we first started working together, I found myself catching a cold from one of my two toddlers. Catherine brought me her a copy of the “vinegar” book and had hand written notes on how she has stayed healthy for so long, which includes drinking a glass of apple cider vinegar and grapefruit juice every morning.
How did you know Catherine would be open to the idea?
Catherine and I have been really close since we first met. She jokes that I have become her earthly grandson. Unfortunately I lost both of my grandparents in the first year that I started working with Catherine. We developed a close relationship where we would actually trade advice — I would give her advice on her business, and she would give me advice on life. Catherine would even call me late at night sometimes to leave jokes on my work voicemail. She would say, “I know you aren’t there, and if you are you better get home! I heard this joke and wanted to share it.”
How did you keep the surprise (that you’d be helping her with her business) a secret from her?
I told her that we were doing a little documentary about small business owners. It was so hard to keep the secret for so long. I couldn’t even tell a small group in my branch because they interact with her every day. It was even more stressful for the film crew — they all had to keep the secret and during breaks they had to keep the story going.
What was the process for Help Given? Did it take up much of your time?
Catherine and I met numerous times during the creation process. Beyond my meetings with Catherine, I was also in constant contact with the Help Given Team. It was definitely time consuming, though not in a bad way. I knew we were doing something good for Catherine and that made the extra meetings and work worth it in the long run. At the end of it all, Catherine and I were actually able to watch the final cut together in her home while we celebrated her 91st birthday.
How is Catherine doing now?
Catherine is doing great — she has seen a big jump in sales. She is getting orders from the U.S. and Canada on her website. The instructional video plays on her website now and she has copies that she sent out to a lot of the major retailers. She is planning on meeting with the people from Shark Tank again in the fall of this year. At 91 she has still so much energy and is excited about the future.
What did this experience mean to you?
Being able to surprise and help Catherine with her wish means the world to me. I got so much joy out of seeing her reaction. Also many people have been moved by her story and are now motivated to not give up on their dreams.