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Catalyst for change

Robin Emiliani  /  Sep 22, 2020

We exist to help marketers be heroic. 

That’s been the Catalyst mission from the start, and it’s still our mission today. In a work context, it means lifting client burdens, helping them reach new heights, and elevating them to be the best versions of themselves.

Of course, outside work, heroism means something else altogether.

It means standing up for what’s right. Not staying quiet in the face of what’s wrong. Choosing to be better and do better day by day.

It also means we stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter, not only in the face of police brutality and an unjust justice system, but also in fighting for equality at work, at home, in our neighborhoods, on our streets. It means we understand that we’ve all participated in systems of oppression, and we are committed to change.

What does that mean at Catalyst? How specifically can we do better? These are the questions we’ve been asking ourselves for the past few months. And these are the tangible actions we are taking in our new program, Catalyst for Change:

Diversity in hiring

We believe that diversity is not only important for moral reasons, but it also makes our workforces better. Having homogenous teams is—frankly—foolish. And the stats back us up. Leadership teams that include marginalized genders and varied ethnic backgrounds are more likely to be profitable.

We’ve long been committed to diversity in our hiring practices—both in-house and freelance—but now our goal is to be even more intentional about it. Our track record on gender is good, but we need to do better on race. If you’re a BIPOC, disabled, or queer creative or strategist and you’d like to work with Catalyst, we’d love to hear from you. Ask us to put our money where our mouths are and add you to our A-Team roster.

Diversity in marketing

As marketers, we have an opportunity to change people’s perspectives, normalize diversity, and stop the rampant centering of whiteness, maleness, straightness, and able-bodied representation. This means intentionally choosing diverse images, eradicating terms with racist histories or connotations, and—above all—listening and learning how we can do better on each campaign.

Monthly team meetings

Our team now meets once per month to highlight and discuss changemakers who have paved the way and were pioneers in their thinking, actions, and impact. The goal of these meetings is to educate, inspire, and draw learnings from these leaders who’ve made such an impact on our world.

Quarterly sensitivity training

When we say we want to listen, we mean it. Which is why we’ve created an introspective program, in conjunction with Project PAVE, to challenge and teach us how to do better day-by-day. We are aspiring to learn about ourselves and become better people, professionals, and leaders.

Our goals:

1) to take an introspective look at ourselves

2) to bring subconscious thought patterns into conscious awareness

3) to help employees find creative ways to equitably impact the systems they operate within.

Philanthropy

As a profitable business, it’s our responsibility to give back to the causes we care about. That’s why we donate 1% of Catalyst’s net income to charitable causes. 

Volunteering

As part of our Lifestyle Enhancement Perks Program, all employees are eligible and encouraged to receive paid time off for volunteering.

Community outreach

We also believe it’s our responsibility to not only be a business that demonstrates social responsibility but also one that actively encourages it.

This is why we’re committed to providing content that promotes equality and social responsibility.

It’s why we talk about social responsibility, brand empathy, making it easy for customers to do the right thing, and putting your actions where your words are.

And it’s why the programs we’ve listed above will also be available to our clients—not just our employees. But we will provide your program strategy, internal messaging documents, external positioning statements, and company logo lock-ups for your organization. 

Talk to us

We’re still listening and learning. Have a BIPOC contractor to recommend? Research we should be reading? Another way we can do better? Or want to start your own company program similar to Catalyst for Change? We’d love to hear from you.

And if you, too, are a creative team trying to do better? Check out Marchaé Grair‘s talk on centering the margins, David Dylan Thomas’ newly published Design for Cognitive Bias, and Sara Wachter-Boettcher’s talk on ethical tech and problematic content


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