I’ve been labelled a ‘corporate refugee’.  A term I’m quite liking.  It was during one of my first interactions with Debbie that I came across these words.  Strictly speaking if we unpack the word, one is met with quite an alarming explanation: “Refugee – a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster”.  It sounds ludicrous, but that’s exactly why us corporate refugees left our ‘countries’.

When I left my country where I felt destruction was becoming a norm, I found myself as a corporate refugee seeking solace, rest, connection and affirmation in a whole new way.  It’s amazing how things work out, and when we open ourselves up to change, the most incredible things begin to happen. It was at this point that I joined the land of ‘milk and honey’ at Catalyst Consulting.  A country where I do believe connection has happened in the most incredible way.


I’ve observed a few formidable things on this great new journey over the last couple of months and this is a summary of what I have experienced:

  • 100% commitment to clients
    • This comes in the shape and form of ‘leading edge’ in the most collaborative way – I have seen problem solving and solutioning being taken to an entirely new level. The power of the collective and collaboration in how things are done is rare and this should never be underestimated or taken for granted.
    • Determination to do ‘right’ for the client – partnering with clients, being their strategic trusted advisors and of course loyal friends, is very evident.  There are not necessarily many handshakes, but instead Catalyst is met with firm hugs and a sense of great appreciation when entering through a client’s door.
    • Onboarding of associates to projects – the effort and time put into orientating new comers onto projects is formidable. The effort to look at ‘whole’ client development is so strong and the effort to leave no stone unturned in terms of information, knowledge and skill regarding a client most certainly needs to be celebrated.
  • A learning organisation
    • The ethos of being a ‘continuous learner’ is magical at Catalyst, be it through a WhatsApp group, email or discussion. I love receiving information on the latest and greatest developments in the human capital field and the thirst Catalyst has for any kind of new found knowledge. This is definitely evidence that Catalyst is networked and part of an ecosystem that is considered a vital learning resource in a 21st century workplace.  And with this, comes a renewed sense of humility within Catalyst and although seen as a niche boutique set of experts in the human capital space, there is no place for ego and self-importance – a unique attribute for any organisation in this day and age.
    • Connect sessions are seen as an intimate part of the fabric of Catalyst. Catalyst’s desire and need for staff to feel connected and recognised has been witnessed through the eyes of honesty and integrity.  I can now affirm to this and I get a great sense that every active citizen at Catalyst feels the same way.
  • Commitment and passion for South Africa
    • I was somewhat amazed at the need and determination to be an active participant in South Africa’s ‘united position’ on the 7th April 2017. The desire to stand united with the rest of the country was very important to Catalyst – over and above any client commitment.  I sensed the need to make a marked difference in this country and that Catalyst has a major role in shaping South Africa.

The land of Catalyst has indeed become a destination for us ‘corporate refugees’ and has become a country where dreams are no longer a figment of our imagination but now possible in every sense.  It’s also pleasing to know that the need to escape war, natural disaster or persecution is no more as the land of ‘milk and honey’ materialises and Catalyst becomes our new home.