Catalyst is a global nonprofit working with some of the world’s most powerful CEOs and leading companies to build workplaces that work for women. Founded in 1962, Catalyst helps organizations remove barriers and drive change with pioneering research, practical tools, and proven solutions to accelerate and advance women into leadership. Catalyst is supported by more than 800 organizations around the world that collectively employ millions of people and achieves its mission by partnering with these companies to help them make positive change happen in their organizations.
It’s been a real privilege to work with Catalyst. It is always great to see our work have clear impact in helping an organization better pursue its mission. But when that mission—advancing women in the workplace—resonates so strongly with me personally, and is of such clear importance to society as a whole: that’s something specialRohan Poojara, Senior Consultant, Oliver Wyman
Catalyst, in part due to its own success in helping major companies recognize the enormous value of making women successful in their organizations, now faces the challenge of helping those firms figure out how. Oliver Wyman was asked to help develop a new strategy and a target operating model that addressed key challenges. Over the course of six weeks, Oliver Wyman: • Conducted a comprehensive assessment of Catalyst’s progress against its previous strategic plan through internal and external stakeholder interviews, KPIs, and internal documents and reports • Developed a target operating model and strategic plan to help Catalyst develop a better approach to generating impact and operationalize the organizational changes required • Worked closely with Catalyst’s leadership team and facilitated decision making among a diverse group of stakeholders, including senior leadership and the board.
This project was a very rewarding and fulfilling experience. It gave us the opportunity to work with a very passionate group of individuals at Catalyst and help accelerate progress for women through workplace inclusion. The two months at Catalyst also highlighted the commitment of senior leaders across industries to D&I. For example, when we presented our finding at Catalyst’s board of directors meeting, several CEOs and senior executives of Fortune 500 companies debated the organization’s go-forward strategy with us and senior management for almost three hoursJohn Lester, Partner, Oliver Wyman
Catalyst is transitioning to a new operating model, as senior leadership, the board, and key supporters aligned in support of Oliver Wyman’s recommendations. The new strategy and operating model prioritize delivery of long-term sustainable value to core supporters while de-emphasizing resource-draining activities and non-core businesses. Catalyst’s scale of impact should improve significantly under the new model, which focuses on optimizing limited resources and better leverages the organization’s strengths.
I wanted to extend my thanks for the outstanding thinking that John, Rohan, and Sophie have brought to Catalyst’s strategy. I am in awe of how quickly they absorbed the key issues facing the organization, understood the cultural barriers to change, and assessed the perspective of our customers. They have also done this work with great sensitivity to my team and a clear respect the organization and passion for our mission. While there are many important decisions ahead of us – and execution is always the key to the success of any strategy – they have set the foundation for the future by clearly articulating the strategic choices that face usDeborah Gillis, President & CEO, Catalyst