Diversity and Inclusion

Episode 101: Why The “Why” Matters

Breaking with Tradition Podcast Season 1, Episode 1

Welcome to season 1, episode 1, of the Catalyst podcast, Breaking with Tradition: Why The “Why” Matters.

Catalyst founder Felice Schwartz embraced a vision for the future of the workplace in her 1992 book Breaking with Tradition based on “fulfillment, both personal and professional,” where everyone is “able to define and pursue their goals freely, regardless of gender.”

From this initial vision, the Catalyst of today strives for “workplaces that work for women.” This is the future of work we at Catalyst seek to create at workplaces everywhere. This is our why.

How an organization communicates its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) work makes an impact—both to the outside world in this moment of anti-DEI pushback, and internally to employees who want to know their company cares.

For this first episode of Breaking with Tradition, hosts Lucy, Victoria, and Erin sit down to set the stage and discuss both the Catalyst “why” and why it matters that we talk about it. And as can be expected from a research organization, we bring in some evidence-based insights to back us up!


Lucy Kallin, Executive Director, EMEA, Catalyst

LinkedIn | Bio

Victoria Kuketz, Director, Corporate Engagement, Canada, Catalyst

LinkedIn | Bio

Erin Souza-Rezendes, Vice President, Global Communications, Catalyst

LinkedIn | Bio

In this episode

  • 1:07 | The origin story. The inspiration for this podcast, Catalyst, founder Felice Schwartz and her 1992 book Breaking with Tradition.
  • 4:28 | Building a human-focused workplace. Women are half the population, but they’re also not a monolith. Victoria, Lucy and Erin discuss why gender equity is critical to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • 9:35 | Finding your voice. Why it’s important for companies to talk about equity and what it looks like.
  • 15:35 | World-class employers. Why some companies are building workplaces that work for women despite the DEI pushback.
  • 19:35 | Modern-day rebels. How our hosts break with tradition.

Favorite moments

  • 1:41 | Erin: As someone who works in communications here at Catalyst, you know, I think about our work as breaking with tradition all the time. Because really, what we’re focusing on is our shared humanity.
  • 2:18 | Victoria: From a productivity crisis, AI upskilling and adoption across industries, we’re constantly facing new and emerging challenges. So this breaking with tradition theme really resonates with me because we need to innovate and from a DEI perspective, upskill and leverage the entirety of the workforce to meet these challenges…
  • 10:32 | Lucy: 76% of employees want their companies to take action. And I think that’s where Catalyst comes in. I’m leaning forward because I’m getting too excited now.
  • 12:33 | Victoria: DEI is for everyone. And it really makes cultures better. It leverages talent, it lets people lean in. Because there is that slippage in that understanding we are seeing DEI backlash.
  • 14:10 | Erin: It’s true there is DEI backlash. I won’t minimize that. But is it true that companies are stepping back or not fully embracing it? I think for organizations that were committed, they’re unapologetically so.
  • 14:35 | Erin: Diversity, equity and inclusion, if it’s working well, what does it really look like in someone’s life? It looks like sitting here on a podcast at home while my daughter is getting on the school bus because I’m working from home.
  • 16:42 | Lucy: The ones we’re working with are the ones that are looking to embed it as a cultural shift. That gives them what I said at the beginning, a competitive edge, a differentiator in the market and an attractiveness to an employee.
  • 17:48 | Victoria: What I’m actually seeing with the incredible supporter organizations that I work with is that they’re actually doubling down in these times. They’re actually saying that, you know, what’s going on social media as a political project is actually not going to affect our commitment to be world-class employers.
  • 21:22 | Lucy: I think I’ve always broken the tradition because I always start from there. From the why have we always done it that way?
  • 22:47 | Victoria & Erin | You’re an Innovator. Yea, that’s just your energy.

Fun Facts

  • 93% of employees say that it’s at least somewhat important for their organization to be vocal about its DEI efforts, yet 1 in 4 employees say their senior leaders never or rarely engage in DEI.
  • 76% of employees want their companies to take action – and ensure their workplace is diverse and inclusive to all.
  • More than 50 countries will go to the polls in 2024.

Research you can use


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