Katy Murray: The Catalyst for Change, Inclusivity, and Organizational Transformation

20 Years of Global Expertise in Shaping Culture, Training Leaders, and Fostering Courageous Dialogues!

In a world where diversity and inclusion have taken center stage, it’s important to recognize the profound impact these principles have had on various aspects of our lives. From business and education to social interactions and beyond, the call for diversity and inclusion has ignited positive change and transformation across the globe.

 Katy Murray stands out as a leading light in the field. Her commitment to shaping cultures, facilitating change, and championing dialogue that transforms lives has earned her recognition as one of the UK’s Top 50 Influential Diversity and Inclusion Leaders by Hive Learning. Katy is the Director of Catalyst Collective, bringing over two decades of invaluable experience to the table.

 With a master’s degree from both Cambridge University and the University of Westminster, Katy’s academic prowess is just the tip of the iceberg. Her practical expertise shines through her work, which spans 35 countries and encompasses a wide array of industries. From INGOs and grassroots community organizations to global commercial corporations, retail, engineering, financial services, and online entrepreneur communities, Katy has left an indelible mark wherever she’s been.

Katy’s journey is not just about accumulating degrees or clocking miles; it’s about affecting real change. Her work revolves around enabling change, training leaders, and, most importantly, creating spaces where courageous dialogues can unfold. These dialogues are not just discussions; they are transformative experiences that challenge power dynamics and redefine how people work together.

As an INLPTA-accredited coach, Katy brings a unique blend of skills to her leadership. She doesn’t just talk the talk; she walks the walk, fostering environments where everyone’s lived experiences are valued and respected. Her dedication to co-creating new ways of working together speaks volumes about her commitment to fostering inclusive cultures.

In a world where diversity and inclusion aren’t just buzzwords but essential facets of progress, Katy Murray is a visionary leader. Her work at Catalyst Collective and her recognition as a Top 50 Influential D+I Leader are testaments to her unwavering commitment to creating a world where everyone’s voice matters, regardless of who they are or where they come from. Katy Murray is a pioneer in the truest sense, leading the way to a more inclusive future for all.

Below are the highlights of the interview:

The Catalyst Collective Journey

Katy’s career journey is a testament to her commitment to fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) within organizations. Her early experience in a people-focused role within a multinational corporation provided valuable insights into the workings of large global entities. However, it was her passion for leadership development and a desire for international exposure that set her on a new path.

Seeking opportunities to gain international expertise and deepen her knowledge of people development, Katy transitioned into consulting. Here, she honed her skills through additional training and certifications. Reflecting on her journey, Katy recognizes that her lifelong values of creating inclusive environments and championing justice and fairness have been guiding forces leading her into the realm of EDI work.

As the leader of Catalyst Collective, Katy is on a mission to support EDI leaders within organizations. These individuals often navigate complex and undervalued roles, working diligently to promote organizational equity and cultural transformation. Catalyst Collective collaborates with clients committed to cultivating more inclusive workplaces. Katy acknowledges that this isn’t a one-size-fits-all, quick-fix endeavor. It’s a multifaceted, sometimes messy journey that demands courage and a willingness to confront challenging moments. Katy emphasizes, “We hold a safe and brave space for these conversations—expect a compassionate challenge!”

Her team at Catalyst Collective empowers EDI leaders to bolster their resilience and expand their capabilities, from navigating complexity to strategic influence and tactical know-how. Katy finds fulfillment in witnessing the positive shifts in organizational cultures driven by their collaborative efforts. She notes, “Often as facilitators, we don’t seek recognition for the work we do—our goal is for our clients to experience the success of the work—that’s part of the deal! So, I love it when clients tell me what is shifting in their cultures and what they’re seeing change as a result.”

Katy’s journey has taken her from leadership development to a specialization in gender equity and intersectionality. She has embarked on a personal exploration of her own whiteness and actively anti-racist practices, both in life and business.

Her contributions to the field were recognized when she was named one of the top 50 D+I leaders by Hive in 2020, affirming her dedication to driving positive change in organizations.

Embracing the Beauty of the Present

In our relentless pursuit of the next big thing, we often overlook the beauty of the present moment. Katy passionately reminds us that life is a precious and fleeting gift. She advises, “Don’t squander it by trying to conform to other people’s expectations. Success, to me, means savoring every drop of joy in each day.”

According to Katy, society tends to prescribe a one-size-fits-all definition of success. However, she firmly believes that success is a deeply personal journey. It’s about discovering what truly brings you happiness, what ignites your passions, and what aligns with your unique talents. She challenges us to ask ourselves, “What sparks your interest? What stirs your frustration when you watch the news? What positive change do you wish to see in the world around you?” These inquiries, she explains, can reveal your individual path to success.

Katy emphasizes the profound truth that humans derive immense satisfaction from making meaningful contributions. It’s in the act of positively impacting others that we often find our greatest fulfillment. As Katy puts it, “Most of us yearn to feel that our contributions matter, that our actions make a difference, and that we’re doing good for others.”

Katy’s wisdom extends to the idea that life is a journey with multiple seasons and stages. Age is never a barrier, and it’s never too late to pursue what sets your soul on fire and fills your life with joy. She encourages us all to explore, discover, and embrace the passions that light up our lives. In doing so, we unlock our unique version of success, one that resonates with the essence of who we are.

Navigating Workplace Challenges

At Catalyst Collective, Katy champions a profound approach to challenges – one that prioritizes learning and growth over self-blame and doubt. She recognizes that dwelling on what we “Should” or “Ought” to do can erode confidence and well-being over time. Instead, she encourages processing the lessons from challenges, allowing them to strengthen us.

However, Katy goes beyond this individual perspective. She acknowledges that many employees grapple with daily challenges stemming from bias, barriers, and microaggressions, experiences others may never encounter. Katy asserts that simply relying on personal growth isn’t enough. It’s essential to confront the systemic issues that perpetuate these challenges.

Drawing from her own experiences, Katy highlights some valuable advice for navigating workplace challenges: 

  • Early Career: Seek out mentors and sponsors who hold senior positions. Their guidance can be invaluable as you forge your path.
  • Pregnancy: Don’t allow assumptions about your intentions during pregnancy and after childbirth. Pursue promotions and pay raises while keeping your options open.
  • Motherhood and Childcare: Set clear boundaries for yourself and remember that you are the primary guardian of those boundaries.

Katy emphasizes the importance of recognizing your own evolution in the workplace. As you progress in your career, acknowledge when you’re no longer the youngest or least experienced person in the room. Embrace your expertise and advocate for yourself and others. Use your privilege to uplift those around you.

In the face of microaggressions or a toxic work culture, Katy advises seeking support from others. If raising concerns doesn’t bring about change, don’t hesitate to explore new opportunities. You possess incredible value and talents, and there are workplaces that will genuinely appreciate your contributions.

Modern Leadership for a Complex World

In today’s world, marked by increasing complexity and volatility, Katy underscores the need for leaders who are not just efficient and competent but also resilient and wise. These leaders are essential to addressing interconnected and complex challenges like climate change, refugee migrations, and calls for racial, social, and environmental justice. Katy believes that businesses should actively seek individuals who bring diverse ideas and perspectives to the table, positioning them as a force for good in society.

Katy emphasizes that leaders recognize the importance of investing in their own and others’ well-being. This investment is crucial for driving the systemic changes they aspire to achieve. She eagerly anticipates a future where more women, non-binary individuals, and marginalized groups, who have historically been excluded from leadership roles, occupy senior positions in organizations. According to Katy, these organizations, guided by diverse leadership, will gain a competitive advantage. They will foster flexibility and inclusivity, supporting caregivers, individuals with mental health challenges, neurodiversity, impairments, and people from various backgrounds to thrive. These organizations actively combat microaggressions, promote inclusive behaviors, and create an environment where all employees can flourish.

Balancing Work, Wellness, and Impact

Katy’s workdays are as dynamic as the client projects she and her team are engaged in. Her routines are structured around weekly and monthly rhythms, allowing her to efficiently manage various aspects of her professional and personal life.

Her client interactions involve deep listening to understand their goals, needs, and aspirations, followed by collaborative planning through dialogues and workshops. These sessions are often conducted virtually on platforms like Zoom, where she ensures she’s prepared with drinks and snacks for sustained energy. Face-to-face meetings require her to travel to the venue the night before to connect with clients and her team.

Weekly commitments include leading group programs for EDI leaders and change agents. Katy also dedicates time to aspects like business growth, social media management, financial planning, and marketing, especially in the context of her recently released book.

Amid her busy schedule, Katy prioritizes self-care and wellness. She attends yoga and exercise classes, takes nature walks, and schedules meetups with coworkers and friends. Regular therapy sessions and monthly walking days with her partner contribute to her overall resilience and well-being.

To measure her progress and alignment with her life’s goals, Katy tracks three key metrics: joy, impact, and financial performance. These metrics help her stay focused on creating the life she envisions and making a meaningful contribution.

Daily and Seasonal Practices for Well-being and Balance

Katy’s commitment to daily and seasonal practices ensures she finds joy, maintains focus, and nurtures her well-being. These practices enable her to tune into her body’s needs, whether it’s nourishment, hydration, fresh air, or simply rest.

She embraces a cyclical way of living, recognizing the natural ebbs and flows of energy throughout the month. This approach allows her to align her projects with the energies of winter, spring, summer, and fall, rather than being in a perpetual state of “Always on.” Katy values disconnecting from her phone and social media every weekend to recharge. Additionally, she takes an extended vacation from her business once a year, emphasizing the importance of rest and rejuvenation.

Katy actively seeks peer support and accountability by engaging in peer supervision and hosting monthly peer learning sessions with fellow EDI professionals. These interactions provide valuable guidance and solidarity in her journey.

Fostering Genuine Transformation

In Katy’s Change Makers Programs, profound and authentic transformations take place. These programs provide a personal space for individuals to undergo significant change and growth. Her EDI leader groups serve as vital resources for these exceptional leaders, offering a place to recharge and find the support they need for their crucial roles.

As the Catalyst Collective team witnesses these deep learning experiences and observes the powerful transformations occurring within these programs, they are committed to continuing their unique and impactful engagement with clients. Additionally, they will continue to host and convene spaces that foster growth, learning, and positive change.