My Catalyst Journey

A guest post by Catalyst participant, Cloud Bell

As a participant in 2023-2024 Catalyst cohort, I can tell you firsthand – this program is unlike anything I’ve experienced before. It’s like a leadership skills bootcamp that will strengthen your existing leadership muscles and help you discover ones you never knew you had!

Starting off with a conference at the beautiful Asilomar near Monterey, we got to meet the other cohort members and the coaches who would be guiding us on our Catalyst journey. As an extrovert who loves meeting new people, this was my favorite part of the experience. I have formed friendships with several fellow Catalysts, and it was such a joy to see everyone again at our regular online zoom meetings, as well as at another in-person conference in Ontario, California. Fear not, introverts: nobody is put on the spot, but participation from everyone is encouraged. I loved how diverse the cohort was. Wee had Academic Librarians, a Law Librarian, Library Assistants, and many other library positions from across California.

particpants from the Catalyst program standing together in front of a library

The Catalyst program uses various learning styles, including online courses with Library Journal, live online sessions, some in-person workshops and self-paced learning. We have time for reflection and application, putting our newfound skills to work in our libraries. We covered topics ranging from equity-centered library leadership, communication skills, conflict resolution, co-design, speaking to power and many more. We also learned some mindfulness and self-care practices to help us learn to manage stress and how to deal with imposter syndrome.

Catalyst isn’t just about acquiring skills; it’s also about building a supportive network. We each are assigned our own mentors, and we had the opportunity to connect with experienced library leaders who offered guidance and encouragement and answered our questions. We even had a zoom meeting with the State Librarian Greg Lucas! Catalyst is a well-rounded program that truly does empower you to lead from anywhere, regardless of your position within your organization. If you are passionate about what you do and want the opportunity to stretch and grow those leadership muscles, I highly recommend you apply!