Catalyst

catalyst
noun cat·a·lyst \ˈka-tə-ləst\

1 : a substance that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different
conditions (as at a lower temperature) than otherwise possible
2 : an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action. <She was proud to be a catalyst for
reform in the government.> <The lack of productivity is often a catalyst for invention.>

Catalyst is a one-day program designed for anyone who is interested in starting something extraordinary. Participating in Catalyst is a first step in the life-long process of learning, exploration, and action.

This program is designed to allow participants the time and space to connect with others and engage in learning more about their own story of leadership. They will explore questions like: Who do I want to be? What is my story? Am I being the
person I want to be? What are the causes and communities I care most about and how can I contribute? This day may not provide participants the answers to these questions, but rather create a community in which participants can engage in meaningful conversations with each other and start exploring these questions. Based on that vision, participants then develop a blueprint for the action that they will undertake when they return home - with the objective of effecting meaningful, measurable change in their organization during the next 9-12 months. With the guidance of LeaderShape® facilitators, participants complete a blueprint that identifies the goals, relationships, and action steps that are essential to the project's success.

Throughout the day, participants will identify their strengths as well as recognize the strengths of the members in their community. They will discuss how these contributions can move them to action. 

While appropriate for a variety of participants, Catalyst has been designed primarily for individuals who are open to the exploration of authenticity, connection, and commitment while increasing their capacity to lead. They might currently be members of standing organizations or groups, or be exploring involvement and action in the greater community.

The content of the program is designed to meet the multiple learning styles of each group. Participants will be engaged in small group dialogue, large group interaction, and personal reflection. The content of this day will push participants to get real with themselves. At the end of this experience, participants will leave compelled to start a new habit, to persist, to live in possibility.

Learning Outcomes

• Explore what it means to choose your own authentic path.
• Understand how you best connect and contribute to the groups and causes you care about.
• Commit to a plan to be a catalyst for yourself and the groups or communities you are a part of. 

Details about the Day and Takeaways for Participants

Catalyst is a day that is designed to meet participants where they are as they explore their leadership potential. The curriculum will do that in the following ways:

• Engage in learning. Showing up is only part of participating. Participants will challenge themselves to do something different to help their learning. If they are often the one speaking up, we will encourage them listen more. If they tend to wait before engaging, we'll encourage them to jump right in the middle and take a risk. Bottom line, we do not want them to wait for learning to happen.
Catalyst will be about taking ownership of their learning and what they can accomplish in community with others.

Connect with ideas and people. Participants will have time to get to know other people and listen to their thoughts. It is rare to have the space to connect with other people and what they truly care about in the world. The Catalyst curriculum creates a community that welcomes that opportunity.

Craft their story. Where have you been? Who are you? What labels have you adopted that help tell your story? We are constantly writing our life's story. We will take some time to think about what stories participants have learned along the way and how they have developed. When we tell our story, we allow others to see us in a different way. We also make it a little easier for them to tell their story. Let's have courage and be brave together to share stories and listen to the stories of others.

Expand their perspective. If you continue to do what you have always done, you can't really expect different results. Catalyst will challenge participants to think out of the box. Ask "why" more often. Quietly reflect on their choices and the path they have taken so far ... and then look farther. We do not know everything we think we know. Catalyst will encourage participants to engage curiosity and remain open to a different way of seeing the world.

Dynamic, challenging, and exciting, the week is intended to produce a breakthrough in the leadership capacity of participants - benefiting the students themselves, their respective organizations, and the institutions that they will go on to lead and serve in the future.

The University of Memphis' Catalyst session will take place on January 26, 2019. This session is currently full. Information and dates regarding Catalyst in 2020 will be available Fall 2019. For additional questions, please contact studentinvolvement@memphis.edu.