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Embracing Change and Shaping Leadership

Virtual Catalyst University 2020

Since 2011, Catalyst University has provided Southwest Michigan professionals with access to diverse speakers and activities to help shape the landscape of leadership. Having steadily gained a reputation as an important networking opportunity in our community, anticipation for the event’s 10th anniversary has been high despite the challenges brought on by COVID-19.

‘We started the year with one vision, but are ending it with another,” Southwest Michigan First’s Managing Partner Heather Baker said of this year’s event. “We are going to be conducting Catalyst University in the same spirit we have in the past. The only constant thing is change, and we embrace that!”

In this instance, embracing change means dividing Catalyst University 2020 into three separate virtual events that will be held on Dec. 2, 3, and 4. This decision was made after attempts to hold an in-person gathering at the end of 2020 were unsuccessful. Meet-ups and Q&A sessions will still be a part of this virtual format.

“As we had to shift gears to a virtual event, we also had to shift our theme,” Baker revealed. “Despite everything that has happened this year with the pandemic, closures, and other challenges, we are all still moving. We wanted to embrace that thought of being unstoppable and decided to highlight the characteristics of unstoppable leaders.”

The presenters scheduled for Catalyst University 2020 include Jon Acuff, Jon Gordon, Amena Brown, Liz Forkin Bohannon, and Tom Izzo. Baker believes that the variety of perspectives that this year’s roster of presenters provides will give audiences a rich and engaging experience.

Now less than a month away, the Southwest Michigan First team is excited to add another chapter to Catalyst University’s growing legacy.

“In year one, people said we might be a little crazy because it was something new,” Baker recalled. “They tip-toed into the water, maybe sent one person from their team. Now, companies make a conscious decision to engage and bring back what they heard and learned that day into their own company. It has become a big networking event and a community celebration. To see ideas that stem from that reach into Southwest Michigan’s companies is amazing to see.

“If you find yourself struggling through this year or are searching for hope, energy, or inspiration, this event will uplift and propel you forward so that you can handle anything that comes your way!”

Interested in attending this year’s Catalyst University? Then make sure to finalize your registration.

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