Mess Fest Saturday, June 25
By Dr. Cathy Subber, Founder of The Branch, Owner of Advanced Health of Naperville
“You never know what you are capable of unless you put yourself out there!” I remind my two boys of this often. Taking risks has helped me carve out the life I lead today. My boys see me dream, plan, create, build – and approach each opportunity with the belief that I would rather get a no, have something fail, or feel a little embarrassed, than to not try at all.
I will never forget the first time I waited in line to ride Space Mountain at the Magic Kingdom in Disney World. On vacation at the tender age of nine, I was equally excited and scared to death to ride this indoor outer space rollercoaster. As we got closer and closer to the front of the line, my nerves started getting stronger and my heart was beating faster. Yet, when it was our time to board the ride, even after waiting an eternity, I decided I couldn’t do it.
I remember my dad and I being escorted to the platform where the riders got off. Each car pulled up with the passengers cheering and laughing, “That was AWESOME!” In a few short minutes, the rest of our group came around the corner in the same enthusiastic manner. I immediately regretted not getting on the ride. It would be years before I was able to go back to Disney and fall in love with Space Mountain; decades later until I could take my two boys there to share it with them.
Fast forward to today, and I would consider myself a significant risk-taker! While adrenaline experiences like bungy jumping or skydiving are definitely off the table – other risks do not deter me. In 2011, I took over Naperville Moms Network (now called The Branch Moms Community). As the online community grew, I felt the need to have an in-person space for everyone to call home, a clubhouse so-to-speak.
Cafe N Play hatched in my mind, and a year later it came to life. In 2012, this new space in town was part coffee shop and part kid’s play town with a built-in train station, pirate clubhouse, princess castle, and red brick house. I loved this new community space and business – especially the smiles of the little kids playing!
Unfortunately, Cafe N Play only lasted for 3 short years. I just couldn’t make it work financially without putting my other business, my chiropractic practice, at risk. The day we closed was strangely one of the saddest AND one of the happiest days of my life.
Sad because it was ending. Happy because I received over 100 messages, including a poem, from local moms and friends telling me what that special place had meant to them and their kids. These messages turned my whole day around and created a space in my heart to always think about this part of my life with gratitude and joy.
Many people warned me about the risk of building out this new business. My dad, my friends, one of my mentors. I listened to them all, but at the end of the day, my decision was informed by my passion. I would much rather try and have this business model fail than to reach retirement age only to look back and wonder – what if?
In a strange turn of events, at the time we closed Cafe N Play in 2015, the Cafe had helped Naperville Moms Network grow from 3,000 members to 10,000 members. With the Cafe closed, I started putting more resources into this amazing group, adding more events, building a brand-new website, and hiring staff to help.
As we continued to expand into other towns, it made sense to rebrand to The Branch in 2019. My cafe business risk ended up creating a meaningful mom community that is currently my full-time job!
Ever since I said no to stepping on Space Mountain, I have worked towards saying yes to things that challenge me, scare me, and ultimately define the positive in my life. In doing so, I have modeled important behaviors for my children. They know that I would rather take that risk, learn and grow to be the fullest version of myself and enjoy the ride – literally and figuratively.
These life lessons have informed my parenting. I’ll continue reminding my boys, “You never know what you are capable of unless you put yourself out there!” So – cheers to taking risks, following your heart, and being the best you can be!
About Dr. Cathy
Dr. Cathy Subber is the mom of two with a passion to build community. She is the owner of Advanced Health of Naperville, a chiropractic and physical therapy clinic that has been serving patients of all ages since 1999. Her practice specializes in a cranial adjustment that Dr. Cathy learned from a doctor from England that helps with nursing/feeding issues, sinus/ear issues, dizziness, headaches, TMJ and more. Her practice has been called The Happy Place to Heal which is evident by the laughter you hear while you are being cared for in her office. Dr. Cathy is also the Founder of The Branch Moms Community, which was founded as Naperville Moms Network in 2009 and rebranded in 2019, as it expanded into other towns. The Branch is the best place for moms to connect, make new friends and find local resources. Its mission is to make sure that local moms never feel alone in their journey of motherhood. In her free time, Cathy tapes a podcast called Socket ~ Plug Into You!