Innovative Models for Change
Catalyst’s series of Practices describe innovative organizational efforts that provide promising examples for our member organizations. While every organization’s culture is unique, our Practices help members and the business community learn how organizations, including those with Catalyst Award-winning initiatives, have tackled a variety of diversity, inclusion, and business challenges.
Catalyst defines its Practices as strategies that support diversity and inclusion efforts, including both programs specific to a group or region, and broad, company-wide strategies that further the advancement of women and other diverse groups.
More than 100 Practices from organizations around the world are currently available to Catalyst members.
Practice Spotlight: Cisco Systems, Inc.
Cisco's Executive Shadowing Program began in 2009 as a grassroots effort to develop women employees by pairing Cisco executives with talented women across business functions. Unlike many diversity and inclusion activities, which are often initiated or sponsored by a company's human resources department, Executive Shadowing began as an activity conceived by Bernice McHenry, a core team member of the company's Connected Women Employee Resource Group (ERG), and it continues to reside within the ERG, led by Jennifer Pospishek from 2009-2012. The program was piloted in the San Jose chapter of Connected Women, and has since expanded to 10 chapters throughout the United States and around the globe, including Asia Pacific and Europe.
Each year, Catalyst sets strategic priorities based on our research, our members’ areas of interest, and new developments in the workplace and global markets. Catalyst experts use these priorities to determine what kinds of Practices will be most valuable to our members, and identify promising examples of these through our staff, network, and research. We then gather materials about these initiatives, which we evaluate based on our robust knowledge of programs and using our Catalyst Award models and criteria to help determine merit.
As a next step, the team contacts select organizations to learn about their Practices. If we determine that it is appropriate to write a formal Practice, we write it in accordance with Catalyst’s editorial guidelines and in close collaboration with the organization. We never release proprietary information without prior approval.
Making the Most of our Practices
As you review a practice, consider the following questions:
What are the key elements of the practice that make it effective?
What kinds of data does the organization track?
How does the organization assess the impact of the practice?
Are there specific elements of the program that would not work in my organization’s culture? How might they be adjusted to fit my organization’s needs?
Are there elements of the practice that are specific to the region in which it is implemented? How might those be tailored to the different regional and/or cultural contexts in which my organization operates?
What is the role of the organization’s senior leadership?
Can my organization make a strong business case for this type of program, policy, or activity? What was this organization’s business case?
What unique diversity and inclusion, talent management, or overall business program or effort is your organization currently working on? Let us know! We may want to highlight your great work in one of our research reports, tools, or other products.
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