Catalyst University 2020


This year marks the tenth anniversary of Catalyst University. If you’ve been with us from year one or just joined us in year nine, we hope we’ve consistently delivered one message: successful leaders face change head on.

And leaders everywhere have had no greater time to practice their ability to embrace change than this year because things keep changing. Back in March, when the coronavirus first became a reality for people around the globe, we hoped to push our live event off until December with the expectation that we would all be able to come together in person. While this will not be our reality, we will not allow our experience to be stopped.

After speaking with a good many of our committed sponsors, it seems that leaders like you are hungry to come together and seek new directions and outlooks as they head into 2021. The event experience we now have planned for you will admittedly look a little different to comply with ongoing restrictions for large group gatherings to keep you safe and healthy. We have curated three morning sessions to be held virtually on December 2, 3 and 4, 2020 from 8:30 am to noon, an option to watch the sessions on-demand, and three additional booster sessions in the first quarter of 2021 to provide you with ongoing motivation.

We are lucky to have retained our speaker lineup that includes best-selling author of “The Energy Bus” Jon Gordon, Co-founder of The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company Horst Schultze, Co-founder and Co-CEO of Sseko Designs Liz Forkin Bohannon and others! We’re also pleased to add even more impactful speakers to keep you engaged like New York Times bestselling author and motivation speaker Jon Acuff and Miss America 2020 Camille Schrier. And don’t worry, we are aware of Zoom fatigue—our platform will be fast-moving, engaging and, as always, a bit surprising.

Finally, we want to share our guiding theme for this year’s event. As our team was putting together this Catalyst University experience for you, it became clear that their energy and determination was unstoppable. And there it is: unstoppable! Our commitment to delivering Catalyst University to you is unstoppable, and that is our hope for you too: that your positive spirit of leadership too will be unstoppable on your personal journey. As you look to building out your calendar and your future, think of all that would be possible for you right now, if you were unstoppable. What would you choose to do—create life-bonding experiences for your family, begin a new enterprise, take on a new product line, or start a movement that would improve lives everywhere?

We hope we leave you excited and intrigued as to what the path ahead might hold for you and look forward to your participation on December 2, 3 and 4. Of course if things have changed for you, our team is here to work with you on your personal circumstance or even get you additional virtual seats. Please contact Nick Riashi at 248.766.4342 for a personalized customer service experience.

Always forward and unstoppable!

– The Catalyst University Team


Here’s What’s Included With Your 2020 Ticket

Your registration guarantees your access to all of the unstoppable action happening during our daily agendas below including:

  • Unstoppable access to three days of live content from our unstoppable speakers on December 2, 3 and 4, 2020 from 8:30 am to noon.
  • Unstoppable access to on-demand content if you can’t make it to the live portion.
  • Plus, three booster sessions promising more unstoppable experiences throughout 2021 from 3:00 pm to 5:00 pm:

January 21, 2021 | Leading Your Company in 2021
February 18, 2021 | The Workplace Diversity Dimension
March 15, 2021 | Your Community Needs You to Lead

That’s right, for the first time ever, we’ll be pouring into you continuously in the coming year. Expect big speakers, life-changing ideas, and unstoppable leadership inspiration!

How to Register for a 2021 Booster Session if You Did Not Purchase a 2020 Ticket

Catalyst University will again be back in action on Thursday, February 18, 2021, from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. with a jam-packed booster session full of enough firepower to jettison you through what you are currently facing. Are You Ready to Level up With the Workforce Diversity Dimension? It takes a lot of effort to create great workplaces and communities. Along with the building blocks of strategic planning, resource optimization, culture curation, brand development, and more, one of the most critical dimensions of success is intentional actions to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion. Leaders who go above and beyond to create places—either at work or in their community—that value and promote diversity will not only experience better engagement and expanded creativity but have what it takes to meet the standard of excellence demanded today.

To help leaders in our region level up with the Workforce Diversity Dimension, Southwest Michigan First, the team behind Catalyst University, is diving into this topic in our second Catalyst University Booster Session. Guiding the discussion will be Quentin Messer, CEcD, president and CEO at New Orleans Business Alliance. Quentin is an experienced strategic thinker who has over 25 years of experience leading teams within the economic development, education management, and business sectors. Quentin will dive deeper into the role of community leaders to facilitate conversations to drive equity and lead well to create a transformed future. Quentin will be joined by Bethaney Wilkinson. Bethaney is the founder of The Diversity Gap, an initiative exploring equity-centered institutional change to talk about how to empower people to create the cultures they say they want—cultures where all people are seen, celebrated, and given the space to thrive. The duo will dive deeper into the role of community leaders to facilitate conversations to drive equity and lead well to create a transformed future.

Register here for Booster Session 2 | The Workforce Diversity Dimension. The cost is $35.