Female Founder Feature – Catherine Dionne, Co-Founder & COO of Welfact


Catherine Dionne is the Co-Founder & COO of Welfact.

Tell us about your company. What inspired you to start it?

Welfact is a new online platform that makes it easy to give to high-performing charities and track your lifetime impact. The idea for this service was conceived back in 2018 when as a first time donor, my co-founder Rob, struggled to find charitable organizations he could trust. Out of his struggle to give, the idea for Welfact was born, but it wasn’t until we spent hours analyzing industry trends and talking to potential users, that we solidified the need for this product. Millennial giving is lower and slower than our preceding generations and after assessing many of the causes, it appears that, overall, our giving needs are not being met – we’re skeptical, we want flexibility, and remain highly impact-focused. With Welfact, we’ve set out to address these problems by creating a tool that aligns with our generation’s philanthropy goals.

Who are your co-founders and what makes you a great team?

My co-founder is Rob Hang. We met back in 2015 while volunteering on a student-run association at the university we both attended. At the time, we were both working at small startups and quickly bonded over our love of product, good food, and a common ideology of working on something bigger than ourselves. Rob’s an expert in the technical field and I have ample experience when it comes to marketing and operations. Together, we’re a phenomenal team and complement each other very well.

How is your company making a difference?

Our company sets out to make a difference in the world by stimulating charitable giving among the millennial generation. A generation that’s highly-impact focused yet has had a difficult time entering the philanthropy scene and, consequently, contributing to the great organizations working on causes like climate change, animal welfare, and social rights. With the platform we’ve created, our goal is to introduce people to a number of great charities while encouraging them to make measurable change.

What are some of the challenges you have faced?

One of the biggest challenges we faced starting a new social enterprise stems from when we initially started. Both Rob and I were new to the charitable industry and mistakenly thought that everyone had some “moral obligation” to be a good person. We learned the hard way that this isn’t always the case. And fortunately, by partnering with great people and spending hours digging into the research, we were able to get to a point where we’d consider ourselves considerably knowledgeable. Albeit, there’s always room for growth!

What is your biggest win?

Because of our encouraging nature, we tend to celebrate a lot of wins. But to date, our biggest accomplishment has to be when we built and launched a fully functioning product in only 3 months. In a short timeframe, we were able to take a concept, conduct enough research, and develop a product that we’re still using today. We have since moved on to adding new features and developing long term relationships with our users.

Who is your role model?

If I had to select one role model, it would have to be Oprah Winfrey. I grew up watching her show and fell in love with the depth at which she shared everyone’s story. Stories that were previously untold, were brought to life through her program, making us all a little more empathetic and compassionate to the world around us. Outside of her show, she’s continually strived to obtain higher levels of personal development and philanthropy. Both of which have inspired me in more ways than one.

What do you wish you had known before starting your company?

I wish I would have known how important self-care and taking time for oneself really is. When I first started Welfact, I pushed everything aside, in favor of getting things done for the company. I worked long hours glued to my computer and spent little time catching up on the things that weren’t related to Welfact. It was only when I had a health problem that I realized just how impactful not giving my body a break was. Fortunately, I’ve been able to recuperate. Thanks to setting aside time for myself relaxing, stress-free, and in good company. But I now find myself going out of my way to tell new founders to make personal care a priority.

What is your COO superpower?

My COO superpower has to be my ability to organize and track everything. Whether it’s a roadmap, task tracker, or team calendar, I’ve always got an eye on where we’re at, what we’re working on, and where we’re headed next. I’m a big fan of productivity tools, some of my favorites include Notion, Airtable, and the G Suite.