Fraternal: like brothers or family.
That’s what drew Shane Catlett to a career with Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial – its commitment to the best interests of its members and to the community rather than to the blind pursuit of profit.
"We have no stockholders. Instead, members are the owners of the company," says Catlett, who is an independent Modern Woodmen representative with offices on Battlefield Parkway in Fort Oglethorpe.
One day Catlett may be advising a young family about how to protect its future through savings, investment and life insurance; the next he might find himself building a wheelchair ramp a few streets over or delivering care packages to local firefighters or to the homeless in Chattanooga. "Some people think I build ramps for a living," he says.
In fact, what Catlett does for a living is help people set and reach goals of financial security. The ramps and care packages are bonuses for him. "When my siblings and I were growing up, my parents would do anything for us," he says, "then they’d help others. I had a good example and I’ve been blessed. I want to bless others in return."
After high school, Catlett worked his way through Dalton State College, majoring in business administration because he felt it was something that would serve him well no matter where he worked. "I’ve worked since I was 15, sometimes two jobs at once. I stuck with jobs, but I never felt like I had an actual direction or knew what I wanted to do with my life."
Some things Catlett did know about himself were that he had a competitive spirit, leadership skills and always wanted to own his own business.
One day, when he was working as an operations manager at SMP Industries, a co-worker told him about Modern Woodmen. Catlett checked it out and found his purpose. "It’s everything I could ask for. I’m my own boss, and I work for a company that not only believes in helping the community, but actively enables me to do it."
Catlett refers to himself as boring. "And you can print that," he says. "You have to be straight as an arrow in this business – someone people can trust, not someone with a lot of drama in his life, so boring is good."
Modern Woodmen is a full financial services company that provides everything from budgeting advice to life insurance to investment opportunities, Catlett explains. "We have an incredible track record, partly because we’re conservative. For instance, our company doesn’t invest in risky ventures that other companies do. We aim for stability. Since we have no stockholders, we can focus on maximizing financial growth for members instead of for outside investors."
Catlett says Modern Woodmen members also have access to special benefits – everything from prescription drug savings to help paying life insurance premiums if hardship strikes. There are programs to help members with ill newborns and to provide for children who have lost their parents, as well as discounts on wellness-related services. The company provides education materials for schools and runs contests for scholarships.
On the community outreach front, Catlett says members are encouraged to get involved in the service projects of local chapters. "Every chapter chooses the type of projects they want to do. I’ve always been good at building things, so the wheelchair ramps lined up with my skills. My wife is very involved in our fraternal projects, too."
Catlett says that giving out care packages to the homeless has given him the chance to talk with struggling men and women living on the streets and in shelters. "We’ve been able to learn some of the things they really like to get – like warm gloves and new underwear – and provide those."
As much as Catlett loves working, he says he does have a life away from his job. He and his wife are involved in their church and, he says, "Life got much more interesting once I had kids."
Catlett is also a sports enthusiast. He’s coached youth league football for several years and is a fan of professional sports. "I love the Falcons with a passion. I’ve been watching Falcons games with my dad since I was eight years old." Catlett enjoys playing golf and was an avid paintball player at one time.
"What I want people to know," says Catlett "is that getting help with managing their money can change their life. Starting young is best, but it’s never too late. And it’s not as hard or expensive as people think. You can start investing with as little as $25 a month. I’m happy to sit down with anyone and help them evaluate where they stand financially and how they can make a better future for themselves, their families and their communities."
Shane Catlett’s office is located at 1414 Battlefield Parkway in Fort Oglethorpe. He can be reached at 423-667-4349.