“Success isn’t about how much money you make; it’s about the difference you make in people’s lives,” said former First Lady Michelle Obama. Every day, women in the North Dallas Corridor (and around the globe!) are rising to the top of the corporate ladder and making a positive impact in their jobs and communities—and, yeah, making a lot of money too! Our new sister publication, North Dallas Business Magazine, recently hosted the 2018 Top Female Executive Awards to honor powerful women in the Corridor. The 2018 winner was Catharine Monson, chief executive officer and president of FASTSIGNS International, Inc.!
Monson was appointed CEO of FASTSIGNS in 2009, bringing more than 30 years of franchising and management experience to the position. In 2015, she received the International Franchise Association’s (IFA) first Franchise Action Network FAN of the Year award, and in 2016, she was selected as a Soderstrom Society Inductee and was also honored with the 2016 Leadership Award from the Women That Soar organization. In 2017, she received the Distinguished Women Award by Northwood University, and she was recently selected as the 2018 Ambassador of Free Enterprise by Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI), joining the Sales and Marketing Hall of Fame in the SMEI Academy of Achievement. Monson currently serves on the board of directors of the IFA as second vice chair. Additionally, she serves on the board of directors for two franchise companies – the Learning Experience and Brain Balance – and Idealliance. Furthermore, she has contributed to the world of higher education by serving on the Pi Sigma Epsilon National Education Foundation Board of Trustees from 2008 – 2017, and in 2012 and 2013, she worked to rally businesses and organizations to help find a cure for blood cancers in her role as Dallas/Fort Worth Corporate Walk Chair for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk in 2012 and 2013.
The first runner up was Leticia Castellanos, vice president and general manager of Stream, who has 16 years of experience leading multifunctional teams to launch and manage products and services that contribute to revenue growth and operational excellence. She is also the co-founder of Molli, a line of cooking sauces avail able at Whole Foods and other retailers, and she mentors small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs on the side
The second runner up was Victoria Yarkho, the youngest and only female shareholder of Hiersche, Hayward, Drakeley and Urback, P.C. In her spare time, she is an active supporter of German Shepherd Dog Rescue of North Texas, where she assists in training and socializing abandoned German Shepherd dogs.
The Top Female Executive Awards are designed to honor truly outstanding female executives based on our readers’ nominations and final consideration of our editorial staff. The winner and first and second runner ups were honored at a luncheon held at Bent Tree Country Club on March 7, featuring keynote speaker and best-selling author, Kandee G. Thanks to everyone who participated, and congratulations to Monson for being our 2018 winner!