There’s a very good chance you’re already familiar with Catherine Bernier’s sunny smile and winning Quebeçois accent. She’s a regular sight on most skydivers’ social media feeds at this point, as her YouTube channel — Skydive Vibes — is one of the top destinations for skydiving information on the internet. But how much do you know about the woman behind the smile? Take it from us, she’s a pretty rad chick.
One of the coolest things about Catherine is that she’s not a salty old-timer. When we talked to her, she’d been skydiving for six years, with just under 250 jumps in her logbook. (She can easily be forgiven for those numbers; Quebec would be a brutal place to skydive in the wintertime if any dropzones were even amenable to the idea of staying open, which they’re understandably not.)
“As I want to grow in the sport,” she explains, “I thought that sharing what I learn and contribute to the sport by promoting it would be a great way to stay connected as we are not jumping all year round where I live in Canada.”
One of the other cool things about Catherine (of which there are very many) is that the hat of “skydiver” and the hat of “YouTube Personality” are far from the only hats she wears. She’s a mechanical engineer (working in the field of robotics), a dairy farmer’s wife, and a new mom (to a seven-month old baby boy named Nathan).
As Catherine and her husband waited to welcome Nathan in May of 2018, her pregnancy didn’t distract her from her goals. In fact, it galvanized her. She decided that she’d use her “maternity leave” from skydiving to stay connected to the sport, using her time on the ground to plan out the initial content for Skydive Vibes.
“Over the previous years,” she explains, “I’d been dabbling a lot with social media. I learned a lot about how it works — how to grow an audience — and stuff like that. I didn’t have anything to promote, like I didn’t have a product or a business, so I figured when I decided to start the Youtube channel that I would be able to apply everything I’ve learned in social media to this channel. For me, right now, my product is really the content I’m delivering on the channel.”
“Since I got started, I’ve had a lot great feedback from the skydiving community around the world,” she smiles. “They’re giving me more ideas for videos and they are supporting me. And I’ve had a lot of people telling me I gave them the courage to start their AFF course. It’s so exciting to see a lot more people getting interested and taking the leap forward into becoming skydivers. That pumps me up a lot.”
Within the last couple of months, Catherine upped the ante. She decided to push herself even harder towards her passion for flying. She decided to participate in the Canadian Championship of Indoor Skydiving in March 2019, baby on her hip or no, and dedicated herself to flying ten hours in ten weeks in preparation — the 10 in 10 Challenge. (Click the link and check it out!)
“I want to prove that, even when you become a mother, you can still aim for your dreams,” she says. “That being a female should never be a blocker to what you wish to accomplish. All my life, I have been pushing my limits. I have never stopped myself, but I realize that a lot of women do. This is why I want to use my experiences to share and empower other women to go for it.”
“At first, I didn’t want to have an end goal with the YouTube channel, per se,” she remembers. “I was just putting out content and having fun doing it. I want to continue on that path, but goals have developed from that starting point. I want to keep growing the community and have more impact. Right now I’m working on some merch — t-shirts and stuff — because I see that people are starting to get really passionate about what I’m doing. I’ve always wanted to do conferences and become a speaker, as well.”
Alongside her growing social media presence and her looming 10-in-10 Challenge, Catherine is reaching towards other goals: to become a coach, for example. She plans to vlog her way through the course, inviting her audience to learn alongside her — and, ideally, to challenge themselves to complete a course themselves.
Pretty cool, huh? Over here at Beyond Marketing, we’re looking forward to watching Catherine’s meteoric trajectory, and to enjoying the many gifts of self that she brings to the sport. You heard it here, folks: Skydive Vibes is one to watch!