As Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of this global media platform, I was delighted to have the opportunity recently to get better acquainted with Michelle Turman, MA, CFRE, Founder and CEO of Catalyst Consulting Services. Every organization, whether large or small, requires change at some point to continue its growth. Day to day operations can make it difficult for an organization to undertake the tasks of stimulating, facilitating and coordinating the change effort. This is where Catalyst Consulting Services can step in and work with key decision-makers to facilitate positive change and take an organization to the next level. Learn more about Catalyst as you enjoy our “gamechanger” interview below ⤵︎
We’d like to hear about your professional journey before Catalyst Consulting.
I have been in nonprofit management for over 26 years. For seventeen of those years, I worked in arts management for museums as my bachelors and masters degree is in Art History. Then I moved into fundraising and the human services, but still in the C-Suite for the next 4 years.
Tell us about Catalyst and the inspiration behind it.
Due to my tenure in nonprofit management and fundraising, I saw that nonprofits were notorious for NOT hiring right, NOT investing in their infrastructure or NOT creating a sustainable fundraising model based on relationships versus the transactional. I have unfortunately had to dissolve a nonprofit and through that experience, I decided to create a consulting firm that focused on the building blocks of any organization. Thus through a painful experience of inheriting a poorly run institution, I wanted to assist others in ensuring their organization is sustainable for the long-term.
What’s unique about your business and who is your “ideal” client?
Catalyst Consulting Services is the only nonprofit consulting firm that focuses on executive searches, organizational management, and fundraising. Our ideal client is one who is ready to impact real change for their organization and move the needle for long-term sustainability.
When did you launch Catalyst and what’s been your biggest challenge so far?
I launched Catalyst Consulting Services in 2014 and the biggest challenge so far has been to keep up with the vision I have for my company. I have so much I want to accomplish and must remind myself it cannot be accomplished in one year.
Any noteworthy surprises or ‘A-ha’ Moments along the way?
Yes, that I should outsource administrative tasks that keep me from my core business. Once I looked at what my hourly rate was and how I was spending it, it just did not make sense do perform those tasks. It was nice to know how to do them and the value of time that goes into say reconciling bank accounts, but not where I wanted to spend my time. So understanding where I can buy back time is something I look at constantly as my goal is not to manage employees in this phase.
How would you describe your typical day?
Most days are not typical and that is what I like about being an entrepreneur, that I get to work around life events that are important to me with my family. So, I may work early morning and late-night, so I can attend an open house or doctor’s appt. However what is typical is I rise early around 5:30 a.m. to workout three days a week, then divide and conquer with school drops off with my husband, then return emails or calls and confirm appointments for the next day first thing so I can focus on client work (in their space or my office) or meaty projects while I am not distracted. I end my day by checking emails again and prioritizing responses. I keep my night functions to a minimum as at 46 I know where to spend my time and what is beneficial to me and that is one on one’s with people. I do try to make Fridays my admin day which allows me to prepare for things other than client work, like training, speaking engagements, or items I work on for publishing. I am in bed by 10 p.m. if not 9:30 p.m.
What about your “social impact/outcomes?”
Because my business focuses on strengthening the infrastructure, which not sexy, it allows for clients to then focus on their impact more. I am fortunate because I serve nonprofits in my professional capacity and in my personal time. For my personal contributions to causes I care about and serve such as the Donate Life America Board of directors, the Cultural Assets Commission of Hillsborough County or the Working Women Foundation, my goal and role is to increase funds to save a life, provide access to arts for all and funds for female entrepreneurs to invest in their business. Your health, the humanities and building other women up are areas I am passionate about supporting with my time, talent and treasure.
What’s the next big thing/challenge for Catalyst Consulting?
To create a collaborative summit on nonprofit innovation to tackle topics that are not the same old topics like board governance.
Let’s talk about decreasing duplicative missions through mergers or partnerships, let’s talk about fundraising platforms that fit into a more global reach.
So I want to pull together those minds that have the experience, the battle wounds to share so we can collectively breathe life back into nonprofit as a profession.
As an experienced leader and entrepreneur, what’s non-negotiable for you?
I cannot work with individuals, clients, corporations, vendors who do not work with integrity. I will pass on the opportunity, business, and partnership if I feel that their integrity is not in alignment with my values system.
How can our readers learn more about Catalyst Consulting?
Readers can visit our website to learn more about our services, our team, resources, and our clients and testimonials about the impact we are making.
BONUS QUESTION: What’s one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
That I am a great cook and it is a passion of mine.
Editor’s Note: We’re proud to share that Catalyst Consulting is now collaborating “for good” with us as a “PASSIONPARTNER” to help nonprofits sustain their mission by amplifying their visibility and enhancing their sustainability across Tampa Bay and beyond. See our recent announcement below: