I'm in the people business, the inspiration business, the creative community building business and practically no one has any idea what I'm talking about, until I tell them what my company, CatalystCreativ is actually doing.
For one year, I said yes to most opportunities that came my way. Running away from my life instead of just being able to feel present, I ended up learning a lot about myself in the process. I promised myself I would write every single week, starting with my life changing experience in Panama. Looking back, there was a common theme all along, I was exploring what it meant to be a part of something bigger than myself, otherwise known as, a "community" and feel like I belonged.
There are a lot of buzzwords out there -- "community" is a big one. Long ago when I wrote my thesis on using the community as a classroom and the impact on engagement, I never really thought of the concept of a community, I just felt it was an interesting topic to study. I had always wanted to include everyone in my life in everything I did, starting from when I was three years old, lining up my stuffed animals on the stairs and singing "happy birthday to friends" every day in my diaper. I was always the one throwing the parties, organizing events for every occasion and making sure everyone in the room felt like they belonged, like it was more than just a crowded room of people, but instead was a community. This was a natural process for me, I never saw it as a skill.
Now looking back on my writing from the past year, I find it really interesting that community played such a large role in my understanding of myself. It started in Panama, with my friend's physical entrepreneurship community, Kalu Yala , and then I was led to the community of Coachella. It seemed as if all of the things I was saying yes to were opportunities to check out more and more communities.
I was brought to Vegas where I was introduced to Tony Hsieh and the Downtown Project (who is now CatalystCreativ's partner and largest client) and then fell in love with Detroit shortly thereafter. I was lucky enough to be a part of the Global Festival, which was an offline and online community, which was the final straw to me seeing that something was going on here, (it took eight months and a lot of conversations with friends and family to smack me awake).
I started thinking about it, and with the help of my amazingly talented friends who now all work for Catalyst, and a really brilliant mentor, Tony Hsieh, CatalystCreativ was born.
CatalystCreativ's tagline is, "we build community for purposeful ventures," in which the usual response is, "what does that mean?" In layman's terms, we take on impactful projects that are changing the world. We find the awesome people who are behind those cool and inspiring projects but need some help to turn it into a reality, and we help them build the community around their idea. Because we are an agency model, (we plan events, we help with marketing, we do all of the a to z in terms of campaign management) people still are confused when they are not our specific client we are helping. It is difficult to explain that we do not represent brands or celebrities, but actually represent the other end of the spectrum; companies, movements, individuals and cities with a positive intention and a purpose towards changing the world. Any person who has a big dream to make a difference and needs a team to help them turn it into a reality are the people we work with.
People don't need a lofty explanation on what we do or a pitchy elevator response; they just need results. We are most focused on providing those results, because when we do, the world changes, communities are formed, (permanent communities like the City of Las Vegas, semi- permanent communities like the 80,000 person festival in October, Life is Beautiful), or the Global Festival in Central Park, which raised 1.4 billion dollars last year in pledges to alleviate global poverty and people are changed, (like those who have attended any catalyst week the past six months), and that's what matters to us.
I am inspired every day to keep doing what I'm doing, finding those people who are the inspired ones, the on fire ones, and the ones who are looking to change the world and being the catalyst to help them accomplish their dreams, and while that may seem like jargon to you, to me it's just another day on the job.