We had the good fortune of connecting with Keely Cat-Wells and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Keely, how do you think about risk?
Risk-taking isn’t easy. And the definition of risk is different for everyone. For me the meaning of risk has changed within the past few years, risk used to leave the house, going to a restaurant, not sticking to a routine… You see I used to be sick before I became disabled it was almost impossible to do anything other than getting out of bed. I was just surviving not living. The risk was jeopardizing my health to do an everyday activity that my peers were doing so easily. Those days taught me how to choose wisely, how to measure opportunity and chance. When I had the surgery that saved and changed my life things became very different, as I regained my strength I teased with different life choices that were finally available to me, the next biggest risk I took was getting on an airplane to Los Angeles, I hadn’t thought past the airplane itself all i could imagine was my ostomy bag inflating during the flight because of air pressure (which is not a thing by the way!!), or needing more medical supplies than I was allowed to bring with me on the flight, or needing medical attention while being trapped 35,105 feet in the air… Who’d have thought I now have a gold mile-plus United card traveling (pre-COVID) almost every month for entrepreneurial endeavors and advocating opportunities? Sometimes a risk is only a risk once, breaking the seal that has made it’s self air-tight from years of manipulation. I have founded three businesses and am an equity partner in another, I do not work a stable job, people think that is a risk but to me, it is the only route. There is a way to calculate chance and that is different for everyone. So whatever it is I say if you feel in your heart that it will improve your quality of life. Do it. Take the risk.
What should our readers know about your business?
I founded her first company at a young age during my time in and out hospital, that company transcended into C Talent. C Talent represents d/Deaf and Disabled artists all over the world. They build and manage an artist’s full-time career either in-front or behind the camera. They work with those who have previously been unauthentically and misrepresented in the media. Smashing stereotypes on the daily! C Talent was awarded by GlobalGiving as a Red Backpack Fund Recipient, from Spanx by The Sara Blakely Foundation. I have also been named one of Aerie’s Top 20 Change-makers of 2020, this gained C Talent corporate sponsorship from American Eagle Outfitters’, Aerie. Starting anything is not easy. For me starting a company kept me alive, it gave me a purpose and something to focus on that was not my heath. If you have the drive, a mission and a reason that goes beyond you, you will make it work. As I make my way though this business world, I seem to be acquiring work in various different sectors, I think this is because where I see a need I aim to fulfill it. I started a finance company, Zetta Finance which is a company that matches investors with opportunities in multiple asset classes, most prominently film TV projects. At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, I started the role of VP of business development at an international trading and logistics company focused on commodities, technology, textiles, and medical supplies supporting the health, wellness, fashion, and beauty industries. This company and its subsidiaries together, are the largest importer of personal protective equipment into the United States. I then found myself as an equity partner of a chocolate company! Because, well… everyone needs chocolate! Chocolate brings me so m much happiness and I want others to feel that rush too, so here I am as a terminate fixture, another home ‘sweet’ home. KC Chocolatiers is an incredible company. KC Chocolatiers was founded to compete on the principles of sustainability. KC has won awards for being the “greenest” chocolatier in Brussels. KC believes that its quality of products is something quite special. For over 30 years, pleased customers from around the world have been enjoying delicious chocolate delights from a wide range of unique bars, tablets, and assortments. My purpose in this work is to change the way the world views disability. And to do that I formed Zetta Studios. Zetta Studios is set to be the world’s first-ever studio to be fully accessible for people with disabilities, that is sustainable and founded by a female. The studio will home the most innovative, revolutionary technology in the industry. An interconnected community providing a truly desired live-work space. – ‘The Silicon Valley of Entertainment’.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
At the moment during COVID not unlike all of us, home is my safe haven. I have found so much peace within myself being able to see that I don’t need all the noise. I need a cosy, safe spot for me, my Chihuahua and my boyfriend. I am in a small apartment but I still make sure I don’t eat where I work, I don’t chill where research, and my Pup makes sure I get outside (with a mask on) at least a few times a day. I do think being disabled has taught me the qualities I need to be content in these types of situations, as we are always having to adapt.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Shoutout to my incredible boyfriend James Ken Blackmon who is an Actor, Producer & Entrepreneur. James recently founded Hard Times In Hollywood, ‘Inspiring through sharing the stories of the most resilient and unstoppable of us’.
With me in the photos is James Ken Blackmon