Case Study

Catalyst advances women in the workplace through a new community-first approach

Catalyst is a global nonprofit supported by leading CEOs and companies to build workplaces that work for women. In 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic, more women than ever left the workforce. In this pivotal time, Catalyst saw an opportunity to advance women in the workplace through a reimagination of its convenings strategy. From an "events-first" approach to "community-first," meeting the moment with women at the forefront.


> Reimagine Catalyst’s approach to convening during broad pandemic-related workplace shifts for women.
The original assignment–to elevate Catalyst’s programs through a comprehensive strategy that aligns with the organization’s broader goals, vision and culture–was suddenly upended when COVID struck. The task shifted to support Catalyst’s quick pivot to virtual programming and explore innovative ideas that would position the organization to lead and foster community in a post-COVID world.


> Be nimble and innovative.
The new landscape required thinking and acting differently, while building a new approach to convening. Instead of connecting in conference rooms, the team used Zoom calls. Rather than using Post-its to brainstorm new ideas, workshops were hosted on tech platforms like Miro. In doing so, Catalyst embraced disruption and showed just how nimble and innovative they could be when teams experiment with new approaches and break down silos.


> Follow a research-driven roadmap to gain insights and inform recommendations.
Initial research established a benchmark and fact base for building a strategy. The team explored events and community engagement in the new virtual environment; the shifting diversity, equity and inclusion priorities of its supporters; and how peers were redefining best practices. Collaborative workshops with leaders across Catalyst informed the new strategy, and personas were created to guide future programming that would resonate. These insights informed a strategic reimagination plan anchored by a new, community-first model.
Two women speaking to each other.


> Built a community-first reimagined plan adopted across the organization
The strategic reimagination plan was embraced by Catalyst’s leadership with wide-reaching implications for the organization.
Two years after COVID struck, Catalyst celebrates its diamond anniversary: 60 years of progress for women in the workplace and a growing community of over 500 global organizations with tens of millions of employees working with purpose and intentionality to drive real change and lead the way in this critical moment. Catalyst is leading this community as they reimagine the workplace, reimagine leadership, reimagine equity and reimagine accountability.