I’m writing to share some awesomeness with you and to thank you for having my back.

I’m so excited to announce that I was married to Charles Hoke on July 5th. We returned from our Ireland honeymoon, and are now digging out of boxes in our new apartment.

My heart is filled with gratitude. Many of you walked with me through my PEP resignation just four years ago. It was the closest my soul has ever been to death. I was visionless, but I promised God that if he brought me to the other side, I would live a life of compassion and service, using my experience to bring healing to others.

People believed in me and loved me back to life. I felt loved for who I am, not just for what I could accomplish as a leader. Despite insecurity and doubt, I gathered the courage to launch the Defy dream at the end of 2010, wondering whether you all would join our ranks as volunteers and donors. In our first year, we raised $780,000 to build a strong infrastructure so Defy could replicate nationally after proving our model.

Today, with my second chance to lead, we’re collectively giving Defy entrepreneurs-in-training a legitimate first chance to live up to their full potential. We kicked off tryouts for Defy’s third team of entrepreneurs last week and introduced a brand-spanking-new event: our Mocktail (fake cocktails!) Competition. These photos will leave you thirsting for our next one (August 10th!).

I could’ve never imagined reaching this point in my life. I am more deeply fulfilled than I’ve ever been. Thank you for encouraging me and for believing in me and in Defy’s vision. Thank you for taking action on Defy’s behalf and for your sacrifice of time and money. I hope you, too, celebrate our amazing results. Defy is beautiful proof of what can emerge when a small community rallies with passion.

With love and gratitude,

Catherine Hoke (formerly Rohr)