Becoming a Family Business: This Firm Lives What They Teach | Compass Point Skip to main content

Cat and Tom Garrity


You may know the man in the photo as Tom Garrity, Founder of Compass Point, a family business consulting firm in Southeastern PA, headquartered in the Lehigh Valley; I know him as my inspiration, mentor, confidante, tennis partner, and best of all – my dad. This blog marks a very special occasion as I can now add “employer” to that list.

Growing up with a Family Business Advisor in the house.

My dad started Compass Point in 2003…I was only in 2nd grade at the time. From what I can remember, he would talk about his work life like it was his personal life. He LOVED what he did and he loved the people he worked with. I knew a lot of his clients as his friends. And because of that, his work and personal life overlapped seamlessly.

In hearing stories about his clients, I witnessed first hand his commitment to be there with them through it all. When looking at a client’s business, family dynamics, and the ownership they had, he was there for the excitement, the stress, the conflicts, the worries, and the triumphs. It was easy to see why he was so passionate about family businesses. His work and his company played a significant role in shaping the community around us.

His passion for this work even influenced how he and my mother parented myself and my three older brothers. We almost always sat down for family dinner together, which gave us the opportunity to share what was going on in our lives. This was where I got to hear a lot about the work my dad did. As we got into our early teen years, we occasionally sat down for family meetings to discuss our plans and our goals (which we are still doing to this day). It keeps us in touch with each other and it holds us accountable to the values and principles we outlined in our own Family Constitution we created a few years ago.

Business Consulting was not on My Radar

I have to be honest…as a little girl, I had no thoughts of joining Compass Point because I had my heart set on a career in the medical field. In high school, I thought a lot about what I wanted to be when I grew up. First, it was a pediatrician…then it was a nurse…then it evolved into me applying to colleges to be a Speech Pathologist. Well, that thought process came right back around the summer before I left for college. Why exactly did I want to be a Speech Pathologist? I wasn’t sure of my answer, but I was sure that I liked people, I liked solving problems, and I liked feeling like I made a difference. Although at the time I didn’t necessarily aspire to work with my father, I was able to appreciate his passion for helping businesses be more successful, strengthening their families, and aligning the owners. That made an indelible impact on me and was the catalyst for switching my major to Business Management with a Minor in Marketing.

Sports and competition were always a big part of our family life. With four kids, there was always a game to attend. I played several sports growing up, but my true passion was always tennis. A big part of my love for tennis was because my dad also loved tennis. He was my #1 fan. He practiced, coached, and traveled to tournaments with me. This competitive spirit drove me to sales, where I could “win” at work and be rewarded for it. But just as much as I love winning, I’ve learned even more from losing. Each loss taught me valuable lessons, pushing me to strive to be better in sports, relationships, jobs, skills, and school.

With my business degree in hand, and a desire to prove myself, I moved to Florida to start my career in sales. I thrived in medical device sales for six years, which gave me the fix of working in the medical field like I always aspired to do. I worked with Doctors, Nurses, and Technicians to solve problems, teach, and most importantly to improve patient outcomes. I managed significant territories and built key stakeholder relationships across regional hospitals and health systems. Additionally, as a Field Sales Trainer, I onboarded new hires, working across teams within the organizations, ensuring their smooth transition and success. Throughout my sales career, I worked with some incredible colleagues and customers who taught me invaluable lessons about business, sales, my confidence, conflict resolution, and friendship.

Am I ready to work in the Family Business?

My dad never pressured me into anything, especially consulting work. He let me think and dream for myself, supporting my goals and always guiding me toward where he thought I could be successful. Now, with a wealth of experience in sales processes, driving business growth, and fostering strong professional relationships, this idea of “what’s next?” began bubbling up in my mind. I found myself leaning more and more into his stories of client successes and challenges with growing interest. He didn’t have to pressure me. His love of the work pulled me in.

I recently listened to a webinar about preparing the next generation. The discussion was focused around knowing whether or not your family member truly wants to be a part of the family business. I can speak from experience that it’s not just about the “business talk” my dad had with me regarding his business and his clients. It’s values like communication, trust, work ethic, and competence that he instilled in me throughout my entire life. These things together helped me realize that my puzzle pieces were falling into place and this was my next step.

I’m incredibly excited to join my dad at Compass Point, working alongside him and the whole team I’ve come to know and admire. I look forward to learning from their hard work and bringing an outside perspective. I’m eager to share my experiences with the next generation of our clients, helping them build strong, resilient family businesses.

All those family meetings, our family constitution, and the values my parents instilled in me have prepared me for this new chapter. I’m so ready for this next step in my career, life, and family and I can’t think of a better team or company to partner with ­– or a better business leader to learn from than my Dad. Here’s to continuing the legacy and making a difference in our community – TOGETHER.

Interested in talking further with Cat or another Compass Point team member?

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