The word “catalyst” evokes a message of action. A spirit of change. A spark that drives us forward. At Kohler Co., it’s also synonymous with Neal McClain.
Neal is the founder of BLK Catalyst, an associate-led business resource group formed to represent Kohler Co.’s black population. Their mission? Make Kohler a more diverse and inclusive workplace by increasing black employment across all levels of the company.
And if anyone can do it, Neal can. In fact, he saw the opportunity to start the group just days into his employment at Kohler, and he immediately began to network to make it a reality.
“As we were just getting off the ground, our main focus was growing our membership,” he said. “The response we received was overwhelming, and we are now focusing on setting goals and putting our plans into action.”
From just a couple members to more than 50 in just a few weeks time, Neal and BLK Catalyst are quickly building steam. Some of their main objectives for their inaugural year include participating in black youth mentorship programs and attending career fairs at black colleges and universities.
“Our main goals are centered around community outreach; recruiting, retaining and engaging black talent; and impacting company innovation,” explained Neal. “We believe we can make a big impact both internally and externally—inspiring the next generation of leaders and giving Kohler a competitive advantage.
Neal also stresses that BLK Catalyst is not just for black associates. In fact, it’s a common misconception that you must belong to the group’s demographic to be a member.
“We know that our allies can be some of our best members. In fact, the most important conversations happen when “in group” and “out group” members are able to come together with different perspectives,” Neal explained.
Between the community’s growing momentum and Neal’s “own it” attitude, BLK Catalyst is an incredible example of the impact our associates can make when they see the opportunity and have the tools to let their passions lead the way.
Neal added, “We are a family. Together, we can be a catalyst for change.”