Nearly two months have passed, and I’ve since been reflecting on the rewarding journey that was executing Australia’s first Catalyst conference.

What boiled down to two days, was actually over a year in the making, so I thought I’d take the time to share with you three of the biggest lessons I learnt along the way.


Lesson One: Find an A-Grade team

This seems like an obvious one, but when you’re a Not-For-Profit and the team is comprised high performing, over achievers, there’s lots of conflicting priorities.

It’s crucial to make sure you take the time to:

  1. Understand what motivates each team member and why they’re involved
  2. Provide support and guidance if they’re learning new skills outside of their core capability
  3. Celebrate the wins

It was easy to forget that every single person involved in Catalyst had a day job (7am and 7pm meetings were very usual…).

So, if you do have volunteers involved in supporting any of your ventures, say thank you. Every step of the way, and often.


Lesson Two: Feeling like you might fail is okay

There were many moments (usually at 7am or 7pm) when we thought “go live” was impossible.

What got us through this?

An unwavering external partner who could challenge us, remind us it’s okay and support whenever we needed it (…including cheese and wine).

Having a diverse group of minds, and for us that was Marky and Mike from Frank Wild, ensures you constantly have a mirror held up to ideas and reach a better outcome.


Lesson Three: Be prepared to actually inspire people

It’s one thing to plan content and think it’s interesting to the team, but another to actually see the inspiration in others come to life before your eyes.

What surprised me, was how much of an impact we were able to make for people losing faith in either their jobs, themselves or the industry as a whole.


The lesson here is stay true to what inspires you when crafting an experience, because it’s likely to inspire others as well.


Author Jessica Box