Natascha shares her experiences of attending our Catalyst Summit – a three day sustainability event – at the end of July.
Like many young people, I often worry about the future and what I want to do with my life. I have always been interested in sustainability and social justice, but as I’m going into the second year of a History degree, I often find myself panicking about how I will enter the career I really want. When I stumbled across Catalyse Change whilst scrolling on Instagram, it seemed as if it could make sense of some of my questions.
The Catalyst Summit, spread over four days, is aimed at providing young women with the self-confidence, skills, and encouragement to pursue a career in sustainability and to be able to make positive changes in the world. The Summit was a mixture of practical workshops, including study visits from women in a range of different careers, to more inward-focused sessions where we explored our strengths and passions to help discover our life purpose.
This session, led by Rhian Sherrington, was especially inspiring to me. Here, we were encouraged to embrace our feminine qualities, such as empathy, collaboration, and rapport. The community of young women who share similar goals, interests, and eagerness was one of the best aspects of the Summit, and this is a view that is held by many that attended.
Talking in breakout rooms on Zoom, it was comforting to speak with other young people, and we quickly discovered that many of us were going through similar experiences: having a care for the environment and wanting to be drivers of positive change yet faced with the abundance of overwhelming issues that are occurring at present. However, this programme encouraged us to feel that we can make lasting change collectively.
Traci led the next session where we created a personalised Sustainability Blueprint which would help us keep focused on what our interests are, centred around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This structure proved to be especially useful to me, being someone who struggles with knowing what I want, as I was able to articulate what issues I am passionate about, what I am good at, and what I love. This was to help prepare us for the upcoming mentoring programme, and we’ll use the Blueprint to keep us on track for our goals. We delved deeper into our main sustainability interests on
Day 2, where we were split into groups and assigned a sustainability specialist to start on presentations on a given topic. Livvy Drake supported my team, teaching us about behavioural science and how to extend outside of a green echo chamber to reach a greater audience and therefore have a greater impact. Throughout the Summit, the groupwork promoted creativity and collaboration, along with healthy discussion, allowing us to develop our ideas.
Overall, the Catalyst Summit has provided me with the confidence and excitement to continue to pursue a career in sustainability. The mixture of practical support and personal reflection created a space where we felt comfortable to challenge ourselves and inspired us to see how we have the power to be changemakers. Whilst I still do not know what exact job is for me, I can take comfort in knowing that I am on the right path.
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