• cierraneeley

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety”

-Abraham Maslow

Today we’re talking adversity, self doubt and the entrepreneur life. Finding grace in it all, today’s interview is with Kate Kohagen Founder and President of The Ranch, a local Placerville animal sanctuary. This is an interview I’ll be coming back to many times over.

Recently I found this amazing book called “In The Company of Woman”. If you haven’t gotten a copy I suggest you do!


Inspired, uplifted and encouraged I decided to turn to some of the business women I look up to in the community. One that came to mind right away was Kate, I met as a client in my chair a few years back, and remember thinking wow what a woman to do what she does!

When I reached out to her, she so happily welcomed the interview!

I‘m honored to shine the light on this amazing woman.


To give you an idea of what Kate does, The Ranch is an educational sanctuary for the benefit of animals and wellness of people. Immediately I felt at home reading her welcome greeting on her website, it reads:

The Ranch

“Imagine an animal sanctuary nestled in the woods. A a place where children in the foster care system enjoy a day among furry faces, fresh air, and playing in the dirt. Imagine an outdoor art class with a live animal model right in front of the students. Imagine a truck and horse trailer arriving at the children’s home full of animals for hands on interactions. Or a quiet place for an autistic child to experience farm life. Imagine a place to go where your stress melts away as you handle animals, help others, and do ranch chores.”



Kate opens up about some tough times she faced at a young age and how through it all animals provided a constant source of love and companionship for her.

In today’s blog post, I asked Kate a series of questions about business, motivations and lessons learned. I couldn’t help but feel like she spoke right to me, at a time no better suited than now. In one question, I asked Kate

“What quotation or saying motivates you to be yourself and what you love?”

Her reply “In any given moment we have two options: To step forward into growth or to step back into safety. -Abraham Maslow

I choose to step forward, even if I fall flat on my face, I’ve covered ground.”

🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻

I needed to hear her words and maybe you do to. See the full interview below.

Thank you Kate for opening up, and paving the way in this community of women✨

Remember fam, there is strength in sisterhood.


If you’d like to find out more about how you can be apart of Kate’s mission for The Ranch visit www.AtTheRanch.com

1. What did you want to be when you were a child?

My dream career changed many times as I matured. However, the two consistent themes were always athletics and animals. Both of which, I currently do, so mission accomplished!


2. What is your favorite thing about your workspace?

The majority of my workday takes place outdoors, in nature and with animals. I couldn’t ask for a more relaxing setting!


3. Whats the first thing you do every morning to start your day on the right foot?

Matcha green tea and a stretching session or quick yoga flow.


4. In moments of self doubt or adversity , how do you build yourself back up?

First, I might need a kind ear and encouragement from someone in my support network. Next, I turn to a solid resource such as a book, podcast, or some sort of reference for tools to help me overcome the current challenge.


5. At what point did you first learn about your field of work? What called you to it?

I’ve always known that I wanted to care for animals. I thought I needed to have a traditional career first though, then rescue animals in retirement. The traditional path that I was interested in seemed to never work out. Sometimes, we think we are heading one way, however, something greater, but possibly different evolves. I created my own career based on what I was blessed with and able to adapt to. Once it all came together, I felt like each phase and setback perfectly equipped me for a calling not just a job.


6. Whats your personal or professional motto? I don’t really have a motto, but if I did, the buzzword would be authentic. I feel like the biggest blunders are due to not honoring your true self. The best creations seem to be birthed from raw authenticity.


7. What is your no-fail go-to when you inspiration or to get out of a creative rut?

A long trail ride or a sweaty yoga session seems to do the trick every time.


8. What quotation or saying motivates you to be yourself and what you love? (Basically the answer from 6) To provide a quote- In any given moment we have two options: To step forward into growth or to step back into safety. -Abraham Maslow I choose to step forward, even if I fall flat on my face, I’ve covered ground.


9. Whats the best piece of business advice you were given when your were starting out?

I don’t remember anyone giving me advice. And since I’m in non-profit work, it was more of support for following my dreams, as it would be a labor of love.


10. Whats the biggest overall lesson you’ve learned in running a business?

Don’t compare yourself to others. It’s hard this day in age with everyone’s success flooding my feed. It’s not productive and hinders creativity. Plus, you won’t create anything new watching someone else.


11. Has learning from a mistake ever lead to success?

It is the best way to success. And it depends on what your vision of success is. If you value the process and growth, then mistakes are vital. In fact, I think mistakes are a form of success because you then have the ability to coach and assist others.



12. Name a fear or challenge that keeps you up at night.

Nothing keeps me up at night. I give it my best each day and hit the pillow with grace and compassion for whatever went on.


13. Name a woman (or Women) past or present, whom you admire or look up to?

I can’t even pick one. I pay attention to many admirable women, both famous and within my circle. The common string between them is this: they overcame great adversity, lived authentically, and shared their skills.


14. What does the world need more of? The world needs more people willing to live exposed, honest and brave enough to not be successful at the first attempt of their passion.


15. What tool, object or ritual could you not live without in your workday?

Haha, the only thing I can think of is good food! I can’t function or turn up a productive thought without quality fuel.


16. What characteristic do you most admire in other creative women? Authenticity. All good works are birthed from authenticity.


17. In your line of work, how do you define success?

Founding a non-profit and performing for a cause that doesn’t create a paycheck presents challenges when evaluating success. I look around and see happy healthy animals. I see smiles on the faces of the people we interact with. When people share our work, express gratitude or donate to support our programs, I feel successful.


18. If you were magically given three more hours per day, what would you do with them? Be still in the sun.


19. What does the world need more of? Less of? (More was #14.) Less opinions from people “not in the arena”. People sticking their neck out and going for it are in the arena. People who have never been in the arena but feel like critiquing are nothing but pests.


20. What resources would you recommend to someone starting a new creative business? Don’t underestimate yourself and your own intuition as a resource. We rarely tap into all that we have to give. If you had the guts to start a creative business you probably have the grit to see it succeed. But, less cheeky recommendation would be a trusted mentor or fellow entrepreneur.


21. Whats your favorite thing to come home to after a long day of work?

My couch and a glass of wine!


22. In your opinion, what are the top three things someone should consider before starting a business?

Starting a business is easy. Maintaining it is not. —-> 1. Consider what the outcome will be and if it is truly important to you. When the going gets rough, you better have heart and passion to pull you forward. 2. Visualize and verbalize the components. does the process and outcome look like? 3. Research and plan for the nitty gritty. The unsexy side of being an entrepreneur is the finances, taxes, permits, and general management. (Which can be exhausting!)


23. Knowing what you know now, what would you have done differently when you were first starting out? I don’t think I would have done anything different. I would tell my younger self to be patient and stay open minded. Some days were/are hard but when I reflect on the journey, it is a beautiful tapestry of love for animals, service to my community, and the pursuit of my calling.



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