Interview: Catherine Gates, Polished Network

by Courageous Third Communications

Updated June 24, 2024


Polished Network is a nonprofit that emboldens women in their faith and work. They are on a mission to provide working women with the connection they crave, the professional development they deserve, and the gospel they need. They do this through Polished Chapters, Polished Collaboratories (leadership peer groups), the Polished Podcast, the Boldly Conference, and a robust selection of online resources.


Catherine Gates is the new Executive Director for Polished Network. She works remotely from her home in Fayetteville, Arkansas where she has lived for the last 15 years. Catherine is originally from Long Island and moved to Arkansas to be close to her son, Devan. She recently completed her bachelor’s degree in Christian Leadership and plans to pursue her master’s. She loves music and has been reacquainting herself with the cello over the past three years.


Let’s dive in and learn more about Catherine and Polished Network.

Tell us a little bit about your personal journey. What led you to Polished Network?

The idea of integrating my faith and work was inspired by Joy, a salesperson I worked with at a Long Island company. I saw her give glory to God for every sale and pray with her customers. Her bold faith motivated me to explore how I could integrate my faith into my work. A few years later I moved to Northwest Arkansas and discovered Workmatters, an organization that has been helping people integrate their faith and work since 2003.


The Lord lit a passion inside of me to go deeper in exploring how God’s Word applies to our work and help others do the same. In 2017, God put it on my heart to specifically support working women. We started a grassroots community called Christian Women in the Workplace. Soon after, I felt compelled to write a book, The Confidence Cornerstone: A Woman’s Guide to Fearless Leadership. In 2018, I met Kathy Book, founder of Women in the Marketplace. We explored how we might collaborate, which led me to become their Executive Director in 2021. I was introduced to Polished Network at that time and immediately began collaborating with them. The partnership worked so well that we merged the two organizations in July 2023. God is on the move to support his daughters in their work.

How did Polished Network get started?

The primary story of Polished starts with Kat Armstrong. She and co-founder, Stephanie Giddens, experienced a lack of faith-based community for Christian working women, so in 2008 they started gathering with other women to navigate the workplace and explore faith together. The idea behind the name Polished is that the Lord is refining us in the workplace like diamonds through God’s Word. The first chapter was established in the Dallas area and it became clear that other women also experienced this need.


Polished has grown because there are so many women who are hungry for community in which they can bring both their faith and ambition to the conversation. We provide the infrastructure, technology and support along with a solid playbook that makes it easy to start a chapter and create a welcoming and safe space where women from diverse backgrounds can come together to learn and grow alongside each other.


When Women in the Marketplace merged with Polished in July 2023, our team and our capabilities expanded. We now offer leadership development for women at all levels of the organization. We are in a position to support leaders of Christian Employee Resource Groups as well as business leaders who want to provide the women on their team with growth opportunities and recognize the value of integrating a faith-forward perspective.

What types of products and/or services does Polished Network offer?

At the foundation are Polished chapters designed to provide working women with the community they are hungry for. The gatherings are structured to provide women with the opportunity to get to know others at their table, build relationships and share insights. Each chapter gathering has a speaker that addresses an area of faith and work with personal stories and practical application. Women then have time to talk about how their main takeaways and how they will use what they learned.


Polished also produces a faith and work conference, the Boldly Conference, which offers professional development with a faith-forward perspective. The speakers are all working women from diverse backgrounds who live out their faith and work in a variety of ways. They share their insights, stories and practical tools for advancing in your career and glorifying God in the process.


We are passionate about leadership development at Polished. Our Polished Collaboratories provide women at all levels of the organization with an experience similar to what executive roundtables offer. The difference is that it is for women from individual contributor to the executive level. The 12-month curriculum goes through stories of Jesus in the gospels and looks at the leadership principles we can learn and apply to our work. Women also get the benefit of a mastermind group experience where they can present real-time business challenges and use the group as a sounding board for insight. This program is for women who want to grow in their leadership and support and encourage others as they also grow.


On the Polished Podcast, we get the privilege to provide women with powerful faith and work stories with the opportunity to share their stories and how they have seen God work through the work they do and the relationships they build every day.


Polished also provides many online and Bible study resources to equip and encourage women in their work.


What geographical areas does Polished Network serve?  

Polished Network has hubs in Dallas, Cincinnati and Northwest Arkansas that support our ability to reach and serve women all over the country. We have chapters in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Ohio and one recently launched in Georgia. Our plan is to expand chapters to more cities across the country.


Our focus is the United States, but we do have occasion to serve women outside of the country. I am currently facilitating a workplace Bible study with a group of women in Nairobi, Kenya.

Tell us more about your journey to Polished Network and how you became a leader in the organization.

I had just started my role as Executive Director for Women in the Marketplace in January 2021 when Bill Peel, Founder of 24Seven, introduced me to Joy Dahl who was Executive Director of Polished. She shared that they were planning their very first conference. I had just led the efforts to deliver the 2020 Workmatters Conference. I shared my experience with Joy on all the things to make a conference like that successful including livestream platforms, technology, and connections to speakers.


The following year, we offered to be a full partner in the 2022 Boldly Conference when the Polished team needed help to make it happen. We worked so well together that we decided to seek the Holy Spirit for what was next in our partnership. We unanimously felt led to merge the two organizations.


I became a leader at Polished because we were willing to collaborate. My heart is to serve in whatever capacity God has for me.

How has being a part of Polished Network impacted you?

I am blessed to be part of this organization both personally and professionally. As a team, we live out our values of building relationships, providing community, and growing in our faith through the ways in which we work together and support one another. In my short time being formally part of the Polished team, I have learned so much as a result of everyone’s commitment to excellence. I learn from the amazing women who speak at our chapter meetings and those who speak at the Boldly Conference.


I am passionate about helping women see and reach more of their God-given potential. Working for this organization allows me to use the gifts and experiences God has blessed me with to serve other women. I love facilitating the Polished Collaboratories and watching women grow together in their leadership, their confidence, and their faith. I also get so much out of supporting and learning from other Collaboratory facilitators. I have the privilege of mentoring younger women, which is not only fulfilling, but God often speaks a word through me that I need for myself!

Do you have any advice or encouragement for the woman who is seeking to deepen her walk with the Lord?

It’s important to realize that we grow best when we grow together. Personal devotion and prayers are obviously an important part of any person’s faith journey. And God designed us to learn in community. That community can be three people or thirty.


Getting into the Word of God and exploring what it has to teach us about work is a powerful way to grow in a deeper walk with the Lord. Too many people compartmentalize the application of God’s Word to specific areas of life. When we do that, we leave out the part of life where we spend the majority of our time. I’ve found that when people are intentional about integrating their faith into their work, it positively impacts every other area of their lives!

Get Connected to Polished Network

Visit Polished Network at There you can find events, chapters, resources, the latest podcast episodes and Polished Collaboratories. Those interested can also follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube to get the latest news, inspiration and events.

Sign Up Now for the Boldly Conference on October 18th in Dallas, Texas

We would love to see as many women as possible at this year’s Boldly Conference on Friday, October 18th. The theme is Boldly Unified, a focus all of us need to have as followers of Christ in this divisive time. Attendees can expect professional development with a faith-forward perspective. The conference is designed to equip women to grow as team members, leaders, and contributors to their organizations.


Speakers are already engaged and prayerfully preparing their messages to help everyone be more intentional about areas like praying for our work, loving others at work, being the body of Christ in our work, and nurturing godly ambition.


Early bird rates are good until July 31st. There are also opportunities for those who are interested in sponsoring Boldly.


Last year women from 23 different states attended. This year’s conference will not only be a wonderful time of growth and learning, but also a great opportunity to connect with a diverse group of working women who make faith a priority in all aspects of life.



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