What do Batman, Simba, and Fawkes the Phoenix have in common? Read on…

Written by: Melissa Noyes

This past Saturday was spent with Kiwanis International’s Circle K GATC conference here in Indianapolis.  GATC brings together the brand new Governors (college students that run their district’s Circle K programming) and their Administrators (volunteers who support the Governors in the process).  We love working with this group because not only do we get to see dynamic and enthusiastic Millennials who are making a big difference, but we also get to focus on engaging generations together.

Saturday was all about creating positive relationships and mentorships.  This was the first time that these new Governors had met their administrators, and we felt it was the perfect time to talk about how to build a dynamic relationship based on good communication, trust, and mutual respect.  During this process, we asked the Governors and the Administrators to draw their perfect relationship.

Here are some of the responses:

  • Fawkes the Phoenix and Harry Potter (drawn by a Millennial Circle K Board Member):  The Administrators are like Fawkes.  They are always there and provide support and help to the Governors (Harry Potter) when they ask for it.
  • Batman and Alfred (drawn by an Administrator): Sees Governor as Batman, out in the world fighting crime and making a difference.  Sees herself as Alfred back in the Bat Cave, ready to supply Batman with what he needs and provide sound advice.
  • Simba and Mufasa (drawn by a Governor): Sees herself as Simba because she’s brand new.  Her Administrator is Mufasa, ready to work with her and teach her the ropes of the savanna, or in the case Circle K.

We loved all these responses because they embody positive and supportive relationships. Young adults are capable and ready to assume leadership roles, but having a strong mentoring relationship can boost their ability and their effectiveness.  Most young adults (and young professionals) are seeking some type of mentoring relationship, whether it is directly related to their work or whether it is more casual and relates more toward building  general skills like leadership and communication.

In the case of Circle K, the mentoring relationship is the formal top-down variety (an older person mentoring a younger person in an established setting).  It’s important to remember that other types of mentoring relationships exist (for example peer-to-peer, bottom-up, formal, informal etc) and can be just as beneficial.

What would your perfect mentoring relationship look like?

Posted in Engagement, Generations in the Workplace, Millennials, Next Generation Leadership, Training | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

We Need Your Help

By: Kristin Clements-Effner, MSW  Training Coordinator/Cofounder

You don’t have to go far to hear about the issues that face our city, our country, and our world.  I don’t know about you, but I find it easy to get bogged down in the issues and at times lose focus on what actions I can take to help bring change to our community.

That is one reason Catalyst X-Change will be hosting a new event in September to get individuals and groups focused on the actions we each can take to play a role in making Indianapolis even better.  The event is called Catalyze Indy and we need your help to identify what action you most gravitate towards, so we can highlight the organizations and efforts that speak to the widest audience.

Take the poll below and feel free to send to others,  so we get best the feedback.

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Breaking Through Millennial Myths

From a training we did with the Indy Public Allies program. Millennials listing the strengths and challenges of their generation.
Photo (c) 2012 Catalyst X-Change, Inc.

Written by: Melissa Noyes

I came across a great blog yesterday written by Millennial Daniel Newman entitled “Time for a Millennial to Speak for Millennials.”  I wanted to highlight it in my blog this week for two reasons: 1. I think it’s awesome and I wanted to share it with our readers, and 2. I think it’s important to hear from actual Millennials on the subject of our generation.  Too many times the research comes from older generations, and while completely valid, tends to lack the Millennial “voice” so to speak.

So please take a moment to read Daniel’s blog post.

My hope is that we can continue to shed light on (and dispel some myths about)  Gen Y while also continuing to promote understanding, empathy, and engagement between all generations.

I’d love to hear any comments/reactions to the myths Daniel highlights.  Please feel free to comment below.

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Flash Mob Meets Your Pocket Book

By: Kristin ClemImageents-Effner, MSW  Training Coordinator/Cofounder

We all have that list of things we want to do in our life, whether you have a special notebook you keep it in or a mental checklist.  One of the things that I have always wanted to do is participate in a flash mob.  I don’t know what it is about a flash mob that speaks to me, but there is something about a group of people working together who don’t know each other to do something fun and outside the norm.

I don’t know if any of you have heard of the new take on flash mob called a cash mob.  The concept is that a large group of people flood a local business to show their support and spend some of their cash.  The hope is that is will create lasting customers and a growing local business sector in our communities.  Social media is often the selected form of marketing and connection for the event and brings a group of strangers together to join their dollars to demonstrate a support for local entrepreneurs.  I think this concept is brilliant as it builds on a current fad (flash mob), but is focusing on how to make our communities a better place.

It also takes social media to a new level by connecting those who “like” certain businesses or cash mob sites online into a relationship with each other by facilitating an in person experience that focuses on the businesses, but connecting supporters socially.  It also provides an opportunity for the business owner to connect personally with individuals who support their business or will be supporters after the event.

So I will continue to dream about my one day flash mob experience, but hope that this new craze of cash mobs comes to a business near you.  This is one trend that I hopes sticks and gets people in the game of supporting local business and the people behind the product.

Posted in Catalyst X-Change, Engagement, Social Media, Social Responsibility, Uncategorized, World Change | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Now Airing: Nonprofit Stakeout

By: Kristin Clements-Effner, MSW  Training Coordinator/Cofounder

One of my obsessions is Food Network.  I can’t seem to get enough (either can my kids who prefer Rachel Ray’s 30 minute meals to Dora the Explorer any day).  There is a new program called Restaurant Stakeout that has an expert restaurant owner spy on the staff to see how they represent the company and take care of the customers.  All in an effort to better the customer service and help the owner become a more successful business person.  As I watched the other night something struck me, what if there was a show titled “Nonprofit Stakeout”. 

Let me explain.  Nonprofits are in the business of helping the community and meeting the needs of their given clients and supporters.  One of the foundations of the nonprofit is built on the role community members can play in helping us achieve our mission through volunteering their time, giving of the financial resources, working as employees, etc.  Much like the restaurant business, nonprofits are in the business of engaging community members and there is alot of competition. 

So if someone was to stakeout your nonprofit, do staff members provide good customer service?  Do they treat volunteers in a way that keep them coming back?  Do they know the “menu” of initiatives going on within the organization to be a good ambassador?  How do they interact with your donors?  These are important questions to make sure your engagement experience is top notch and to ensure your supporters don’t go somewhere else to get better service.

Most staff aren’t in charge of volunteers, donors, or other supporters and are focused on providing direct service to clients (who are supporters too).  However, they interact with these individuals on a daily basis and might not know what good customer service looks like.  To make sure you pass the grade, train all of your staff how to be great ambassadors and provide customer service that keeps them coming back.

To learn how you can provide this training within your organization, contact Kristin at kristin@catalystxchange.org

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Spring Training Series: Be There or Be Square

By: Kristin Clements-Effner, MSW       Training Coordinator/Co founder

It is that time again. We are hosting our Spring Training Series, which is a great time to participate in a strategy packed training that allows you to take your nonprofit to the next level and network with other professionals.  And the line up is…. Drum roll please…


Tuesday, March 20th 9-11am

English Foundation Building: 615 N Alabama Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

This training will assist you in learning strategies to fully engage volunteers within your organization and your mission. These strategies will assist you in building a strong foundation of organizational supporters. Each participant will leave with an action plan on how to apply the strategies within your organization.

Cost: $10 Payable the day of the training via cash, check, or credit/debit card


(Co-hosted with CIAVA)

Thursday, April 12th 8:30-10am

Red Cross of Greater Indianapolis: 441 E. 10th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202

This training will provide a glimpse into how to create a continuum of engagement that capitalizes on your current organizational supporters and positions you to grow in community support for your mission. This training is an introduction to our upcoming summer Boot Camp! (Email melissa@catalystxchange.org for Boot Camp information)

Cost: $12 for CIAVA members, $17 for non-CIAVA members

Payable the day of the training via cash or check to CIAVA


Friday, April 27th 9-11am

English Foundation Building: 615 N Alabama Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204

Designed especially for young professionals, this training will teach you how to use “managing up” to create a solid relationship with your supervisor and build a foundation for a successful career.

Cost: $10 Payable the day of the training via cash, check, or credit/debit card.


If you are interested attending any of the above trainings, RSVP to me at kristin@catalystxchange.org

If you are unable to attend any of these trainings but think your organization would benefit from some of this content, let us know because we tailor make trainings for organizations.

Posted in Catalyst X-Change, Engagement, Next Generation Leadership, Training, Volunteering | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Reasons Why Everyone Needs to See “The Lorax”

By: Melissa Noyes

Being a big fan of Dr. Seuss, I was excited when previews for “The Lorax” started popping up.  I was a bit skeptical; however, as this is one of my favorite books and I wasn’t sure how it was going to translate to the big screen.  My skepticism was put to rest in the first 5 minutes.

In a nutshell, it was awesome.

Here’s why:

1. It teaches a great lesson on environmental responsibility.  Even the youngest viewers can understand the negative impact that cutting down the Truffala trees had on the entire ecosystem.  And it goes one step further (see number 2).

2. There’s an emphasis on personal responsibility.  As consumers, it’s up to each and every one of us to educate ourselves about the products we buy and about the companies that make them.  We vote with our dollars every day.

3. It’s okay to question “the way things are.”  It’s the only way that big changes are going to happen.  Sure, there might be pushback at first, but it can be worth it to make positive change.

4. Going outside your comfort zone (in Ted’s case, Thneedville) can result in amazing things.  You might learn something you didn’t know before.  You might find yourself.  You might make a new friend. You might bring about big changes.

5. One person can make a difference.  Let’s not forget the lesson of the “Unless” stone in front of the Once-lers house: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”

Go see The Lorax.  You won’t be disappointed, I promise.  You might even be inspired to do something amazing.

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