December 24, 2012 — Nearly every culture on earth marks the beginning of a new year, albeit at different times. Like so many people around the world, we here at Catalyst are preparing to ring in a new year this January. We are busy embracing an exciting future—broadening our global impact while leveraging the corporate world’s ever-shifting landscape to expand opportunities for women and business.
We hope 2013 will be full of great news for women in business and peace in our time—and we intend to work, as well as hope, for the changes we wish to see.
In that “I am a Catalyst” spirit, we’ve asked some of our friends from around the globe to share their greatest hopes and most pressing priorities for the coming year. Below is a special “new year” selection of what they told us—we will continue to share these reflections as we gather them throughout the coming year:
What I hope for in 2013 is even more connection. Since I was young, I have loved to travel. This “wanderlust” came from a deeper longing to understand other cultures and ways of being. I remember once sitting at a large family’s dinner table in Brazil and suddenly realizing that we are all so similar, that we want the best for our families and loved ones, and that we are doing the best we can, even if it doesn’t always appear that way. It may sound simple, but back then this realization shook me to the core as I could no longer see the old “comfortable” divisions in the same way….My desire for 2013 is to make even more connections…to bridge the gaps when possible and to learn as much as I can.
--Allyson Zimmermann, Director, Catalyst Europe AG
The Work-Life Issue Specialty Team is very excited to focus our time and attention in 2013 on work-life issues around the globe. Work-life effectiveness is not just the concern of mothers or women, but people of all genders in all regions. Specific cultural rules and expectations can both help and hinder work-life effectiveness, and we plan to study these current practices and propose alternatives based on the needs of our members and their employees. We are keenly aware of the unique issues faced by workers in hourly, manufacturing, and lower-wage roles, and the need for enlightened thought and policies to ensure equality at all levels.
--Work-Life Issue Specialty Team (Catalyst staffers: Emily Cohen, Liz Mulligan-Ferry, Anna Beninger, Amelia Costigan, Laura Sabattini, Rachel Soares, and Emily Zuckerman; Advisor: Meryle Mahrer-Kaplan, Senior Vice President and Consultant, Global Member Services)
I hope that when people think “manager” they won’t automatically exclude “WOMANagers” in their minds! I hope that my research and work at Catalyst helps organizations realize the conscious and unconscious ways in which they are hurting themselves, their talent, and the economy by preventing certain segments of the workforce from having full access to important opportunities. I hope that I can be a Catalyst with respect to at least one individual or organization, because I know that change has exponential effects and tomorrow will be better than today—because of me!
--Aarti Shyamsunder, Research Manager, Catalyst India WRC
My simple wish for 2013 and beyond is a world where our children can be safe and grow to realize their full potential…as women and men. I plan to be a Catalyst for change and make my voice heard to help ensure this happens. One person can make a difference but an entire community can create a movement.
--Danielle Hughes, Marketing Copywriter, Catalyst
As it is for so many of us, the tragedy in Newtown is on my mind. But the reality is that my own three small children are always on my mind—their safety, their growth and development, and their potential. I think President Obama said it well in his speech at the Newtown memorial service when he explained that our job as parents isn’t just to try to keep our children safe but to equip them to face the world with confidence and without fear. My hope as a parent is that I am able to teach my children to do just that. My hope as a professional is that the work I do, and the work we do at Catalyst in 2013 and beyond, is making this world a slightly better place and that my kids, in turn, will grow up in an improved world—and keep trying to make it better.
--Alex Johnston, Executive Director, Catalyst Canada
What changes do you hope for in 2013? What will you do as a Catalyst to help make them happen? Please share your thoughts with our followers—and have a safe and joyous New Year!