Disrupt The Default!

#DisruptTheDefault, this year's Awards events theme as well as Catalyst's latest awareness to action campaign, is a call to action for companies and individuals to shake up the way we think, speak, and act, and to make bold moves that will forge meaningful change for women, as well as men, in the workplace and the world. On March 26, we held a conference at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City that featured a full day of speakers, action sessions, and inspiration that challenged attendees to think about change differently and start making it happen immediately:

  • #DisruptTheDefault because change won’t happen without you!

  • #DisruptTheDefault because you can build awareness and make change.

  • #DisruptTheDefault means more smart talking and more immediate doing.

  • #DisruptTheDefault means saying “no” to the status quo.

For more than 20 years, the Catalyst Awards Conference has brought together experts from around the world to share knowledge and shape the dialogue about inclusive leadership and other critical factors related to women and workplaces around the globe. This gathering of experts is one of the strongest communities of change, shaping the global dialogue and individual organizational diversity and inclusion strategies in accordance with Catalyst's Vision: Changing workplaces. Changing lives.

The 2015 Catalyst Awards Conference was sponsored by Walmart.


Morning Program

7:15 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.
Check-In, Networking Breakfast, and Opening Remarks

Nearly 700 professionals from Catalyst member companies and other leading companies and firms joined us for breakfast and to network.

8:30 a.m. – 9:40 a.m.
2015 Catalyst Award Winners Plenary Session

Senior leaders from Catalyst Award-winning companies discussed their strategies for advancing women and creating inclusive workplaces. See clips from their conversation.

Laura Sabattini, Vice President, Research, and Chair, Catalyst Award Evaluation Committee, Catalyst

Chevron Corporation Representatives:

♦  Melody Boone Meyer, President, Chevron Asia Pacific Exploration and Production Company
♦  Mike Wirth, Executive Vice President, Downstream and Chemicals 

Procter & Gamble Representatives:

♦  William P. Gipson, Chief Diversity Officer, Senior Vice President of Research and Development   
♦  Colleen Jay, President, Global Hair Care & Color                                                                                         

9:40 a.m. – 11:15 a.m.
Catalyst Award Winner Concurrent Sessions

Leaders from this year’s Award-winning organizations will discuss the impact their initiatives have had on their organizational cultures and how individual employees are experiencing that impact.

Chevron Corporation—The Chevron Way: Engineering Opportunities for Women 

During the 2015 Catalyst Awards Conference breakout sessions, a panel of leaders from the Chevron Corporation presented their Award-winning initiative, The Chevron Way: Engineering Opportunities for Women, and answered the audience’s questions. The panelists—Jack Morris, Organizational Capability Manager & Advisor to the Vice President, Downstream Technology and Services in Chevron’s Energy Technology Company; Rhonda Morris, Vice President of Human Resources for Chevron’s Downstream and Chemicals business; and Shariq Yosufzai, Vice President of Global Diversity, Ombuds and University Affairs—talked about The Chevron Way as a business imperative.

The audience asked a variety of questions, including some about:

  • The effectiveness of the company’s personnel development committees in increasing diversity

  • How career development is handled for dual-career couples at Chevron, of which there are many

  • How ERGs provide return on investment for Chevron

For more information about Chevron’s Award-winning initiative, please visit Chevron Corporation—The Chevron Way: Engineering Opportunities for Women. See clips from the conversation here.


♦  Serena Fong, Vice President, Government Affairs, Catalyst


♦  Jack Morris, Organizational Capability Manager & Advisor to Vice President, Chevron Energy Technology Company   

♦  Rhonda Morris, Vice President, Human Resources Downstream & Chemicals, Chevron Corporation

♦  Shariq Yosufzai, Vice President, Global Diversity, Chevron Corporation

Procter & Gamble – Everyone Valued, Everyone Included, Everyone Performing at Their Peak™

A panel of leaders from the Procter & Gamble Company presented their 2015 Award-winning initiative, Everyone Valued, Everyone Included, Everyone Performing at Their Peak™, and answered the audience’s questions. The panelists—Lourdes Albacarys, Vice President, Research and Development, Corporate Functions, Global Process, and Packaging Development Capability; Shelly McNamara, Vice President, Human Resources, P&G Global Health & Grooming and Corporate Functions; and Jim, McWhirter, HR Director, Global Employee & Labor Relations—talked about P&G’s need to have a workforce that reflects its diverse consumers globally and how it uses its talent management system as a tool to create an inclusive work culture.

 The audience asked a variety of great questions, including:

  • How Procter & Gamble defines diversity

  • The opportunities and challenges for women when considering international mobility assignments

  • Creative solutions for flexibility in manufacturing environments 

For more information about Procter & Gamble’s Award-winning initiative, please visit Procter & Gamble—Everyone Valued, Everyone Included, Everyone Performing at Their Peak™. See clips from the conversation here.


Amelia Costigan, Senior Associate, Information Center, Catalyst


♦  Lourdes Albacarys, Vice President-Research and Development, Corporate Functions Global Process and Packaging Development Capability, The Procter & Gamble Company

♦  Shelly McNamara, Vice President-Human Resources, P&G Global Health & Grooming and Corporate Functions, The Procter & Gamble Company                                                                   

♦  Jim McWhirter, HR Director – Global Employee & Labor Relations, The Procter & Gamble Company  

Luncheon Keynote

11:15 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
A Keynote Conversation With Mary T. Barra

Deborah Gillis, President & CEO, Catalyst, sat down with Mary T. Barra, CEO, General Motors Company, to discuss Ms. Barra’s career, leadership philosophy, and ways in which she has “disrupted the default.” See clips from their conversation here.

Afternoon Program

1:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m.
Catalyst Change Agent Action Sessions

Addressing Inclusion and “Otherness” in the Workplace: Practices That Create Impact

Key Themes & Lessons Learned: Be confident, be tenacious, and be curious. These key themes were important takeaways during a lively panel discussion in the “Addressing Inclusion” session at this year’s Awards Conference. The session kicked off with a panel of four experts who shared their own personal experiences of inclusion and experiencing “otherness” at work, as well as career success strategies and tips. The panelists were Jeffrey S. Grange, President, Specialty Insurance, QBE North America (Session Sponsor); Troy Roderick, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Telstra Corporation Ltd; Beth A. Rauschenberger, Vice President, Office of Internal Audit, Nationwide; and Denise L. Lewis, Vice President, Chubb Commercial Insurance, Regional Marketing Manager, Atlanta, Georgia.

An audience poll prior to the session revealed that the majority of the group felt that the Number One barrier to inclusion is stereotypes. The panelists agreed that this is often a challenge, and provided tips for overcoming the assumptions others may make about you, including by being more present and actively listening and asking respectful questions about others’ unique aspects. The panelists suggested that this kind of active listening is how we learn and grow. The panelists also discussed how embracing aspects of your own “otherness” and seeing these as positive parts of your diverse self can be a success strategy, as well as the importance of confidence and leaning on mentors and/or sponsors and having them help “put a face and voice” on certain aspects of otherness.

Over 100 attendees engaged in a lively discussion and roundtable exercise after the panelists’ remarks. Participants brainstormed with Catalyst staff, panelists, and peers to generate actionable solutions for disrupting the default when faced with common diversity and inclusion challenges in their organizations. Attendees worked through scenarios related to LGBT inclusion, women of color, engaging men, and inclusion across difference in employee groups, with the end goal of pioneering concrete ways to make meaningful progress in these areas. Attendees proposed solutions covering everything from diversity recruitment strategies, mentoring and sponsorship, and creating and connecting with allies to engaging hearts and minds and insisting on accountability at the top. The room was buzzing with energy as ideas circulated, best practices were shared, and encouragement to go forth and disrupt permeated the dialogue.


♦  Jeffrey S. Grange, President, Specialty Insurance, QBE North America

♦  Denise L. Lewis, Vice President,  Chubb Group of Insurance Companies - Regional Marketing Manager - Atlanta, Georgia

♦  Beth A. Rauschenberger, Vice President, Office of Internal Audit, Nationwide Insurance 

♦  Troy Roderick, Head of Diversity & Inclusion, Telstra Corporation Ltd

♦  Julie S. Nugent, Vice President & Center Leader, Catalyst Research Center for Corporate Practice

♦  Alixandra Pollack, Director, Research, Catalyst

Session Sponsor: QBE


Disarm: Forget What You Think You Know About Millennials

Millennials are projected to make up 50% of the global workforce by 2020. Many stereotypes about this cohort persist, and many companies are uncertain about how to most effectively recruit and retain this critical talent pool. At Catalyst's Awards Conference panel, Disarm: Forget What You Think You Know About Millennials, a diverse group of Millennials reacted to these stereotypes and helped set the record straight. Yuling He, Senior Engineer, Environmental Science and Sustainable Technology at the Alcoa Technical Center, debunked the popular myth that Millennials have low organizational commitment and are likely to bounce around throughout their careers. "I am constantly re-evaluating my situation, but that doesn't mean I will leave the organization. I look within the organization for opportunities first." In response to the stereotype that Millennials demand access to flexible work arrangements, Caroline Fairchild, the New Economy Editor at LinkedIn, responded that Millennials understand there are parameters and limitations, but they also want to understand why expectations are what they are. They want to have a conversation to better understand any unwritten rules about flexibility or other workplace expectations. Overall, the panelists agreed that Millennials want to be challenged and are highly motivated to succeed—and if organizations and leaders invest in developing them and make them feel valued, they will stay. Despite the sense of doom some attendees reported feeling when joining this Conference session, many left with a more accurate picture of Millennials and armed with concrete strategies they could use to more effectively attract, develop, and retain these future leaders. See clips from their conversation here.


♦  Anna Beninger, Director, Research, Catalyst

♦  Maighan Moody, Director, Human Resources, Catalyst

♦  Yuling He, Senior Engineer, Environmental Science and Sustainable Technology, Alcoa Technical Center

♦  Caroline Ghosn, CEO,

♦  Caroline Fairchild, New Economy Editor, LinkedIn

♦  Bala Visalatha, Director, Sam’s Club Member Strategy @ Walmart

Session Sponsor: The Alcoa Foundation



Disrupt: Redefining the Role of Men as Full Partners in Gender Equality

At this panel, participants analyzed key takeaways from Catalyst’s engaging men research, grappled with assumptions about why men are not typically active participants in gender equity efforts, and learned strategies for engaging both women and men in leading these efforts. Attendees were introduced to Catalyst’s initiative, MARC Leaders (Men Advocating Real Change), a new six-month program that fosters collaborative relationships among senior and emerging male leaders who are committed to promoting workplace inclusion. A panel of experts from AT&T, Dell, Rockwell Automation, Walmart, and WMFDP discussed why it’s challenging to recognize instances of incivility in the workplace, why understanding male/dominant culture is essential to success, and how individual leaders can enhance their own inclusive leadership skills to create fundamental culture shifts at work.


♦  Jeff Barth, Program Director, MARC (Men Advocating Real Change), Catalyst

♦  Elizabeth R. Salib, PhD, Senior Associate, Research, Catalyst  


♦ George F. Cleveland; Assistant Vice President, AT&T Mobility Services

♦ John Lavorato, VP, Global Sales Operations, Dell Inc.

♦ Ben Newton, Senior Director - U.S. Ethics, Walmart

♦  Steve Proudman, Senior Associate, White Men as Full Diversity Partners

♦  Steve Stall, Business Segment Leader, Culture of Inclusion, Rockwell Automation

Session Sponsor: Rockwell Automation

Image result for rockwell automation logo


Interrupting Unconscious Bias

Unconscious biases: we all have them. They’re automatic and efficient mental shortcuts. But now that we have identified this universal aspect of human decision-making, how can we re-train ourselves and disrupt our default thinking to ensure that unintentional stereotyping doesn’t lead to missed opportunities? In this interactive session, participants will learn about strategies large and small, simple and complex. Attendees will learn to identify unconsciously biased thinking in themselves and others and develop inclusive leadership skills to combat it.


♦  Vandana Juneja, Regional Director, Central Canada, Catalyst


♦ Bill Henry, Vice President, Development Engineering, Deepwater, Shell

♦ Sam Jones, Founder, Data Labs  

♦ Shanin Lott, Senior Director, Professional Resources & Talent, Stikeman Elliott LLP

♦ Karyn Twaronite, Partner and Global Diversity & Inclusiveness Officer, @KTwaronite_EY


Session Sponsors: EY and Talent Lab


Special Screening: The Mask You Live In, 1:15 – 3:00 PM (additional fee of $25 USD for Full-Day Pass attendees, or purchase just the screening & closing session for $300 USD)

Is there a "boy crisis" in America? Is our male population suffering due to our emphasis on power, dominance, and aggression? The Mask You Live In explores how our narrow definition of masculinity is harming our boys, men, and society at large and unveils what we can do about it. Visit The Mask You Live In website to learn how to host a screening.


Joy Ohm, Vice President & Editor-in-Chief

♦ Jessica Lee, Distribution Director, The Representation Project, @therepproject

The Mask You Live In

Pasta Station Provided By: Barilla 

Image result for barilla the choice of italy logo


3:15 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Closing Session
Amplifying the Positive Portrayal—and Power—of Women

Every word and picture matters. The way that women and men are portrayed in commercials, written into scripts, and reported on in the media profoundly affects our perception of gender roles. Changing the way we think, speak, and act can change the world. See clips from this distinguished panel of change agents who are disrupting the default every day through words and deeds.


♦  Audrey Gallien, Senior Associate, Events

♦  Deborah M. Soon, Senior Vice President, Strategic Initiatives  


♦  Madeline Di Nonno, CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, @GDIGM 

♦  Anne Fulenwider, Editor in Chief, Marie Claire, @marieclaire

♦  Kat Gordon, Founder, The 3% Conference, @katgordon 

♦  Karalyn Leavens, SVP, Associate Creative Director, Neon (a FCB Health Company), @neonfcbhealth

♦  Jessica Lee, Distribution Director, The Representation Project,@therepproject, @jessicallee

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media  Image result for marie claire logo               

Click on the image below to view the full 2015 Catalyst Awards Conference Workbook.


Click on the images below to view videos from the 2015 Catalyst Awards Conference.

Plenary Session

Chevron Breakout Session

Procter & Gamble Breakout Session


Millennials Breakout Session

Unconscious Bias Session

Closing Session

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