KPC to Catalyst

by | Jan 11, 2023 | On the Blog

Hello there, and welcome to the story of my 2022 professional identity crisis!

Last year, after 12 years of being in business, I rebranded and renamed my company. Some said it was a great idea, that it would signal to the world that things were going well. Others said it would be a terrible idea to shift the name, especially since folks associate my name with the company’s work. I ended up ignoring this latter group, and here’s why.

KPC did not reflect who WE are. That’s right. We are a we…and we have been for a long time now. But when you looked at the company name, and even the old web site, you couldn’t see that. Sure, there was a staff page where you could see the crew, but the rest of the site wasn’t about the people we are.

Evaluation, even external evaluation, has to be personal if it is going to be effective. What I mean by that is that you have to know your clients, and the contexts that they work in, if you are going to create an evaluation that people will want to think about and apply to their work. That only happens if you have the right people on both the evaluator and client sides. It took me several years to figure out who the right people are for the kind of company that I wanted to have. If you haven’t yet done so, you should check them out here!

We followed the data. Well of course we did! In addition to asking for advice, any evaluator worth her salt was going to gather some sort of data to help make this kind of a decision. For us, this data came in the form of testimonials. Two super cool things happened. Three, actually!

  • First, when I sent out the awkward email to ask folks to send me a testimonial, everyone said yes. How awesome is that?!
  • Second, when the testimonials came back, they weren’t just about me. They were about the team that we have become. I went back to my “ask” to see if I had primed folks in this direction somehow, and I had not. So, data-driven reflection number one—check!
  • Third, when the testimonials came back in, it turned out that the words that clients and collaborators used to describe us were the same words that the team generated when we were thinking about our company identity and brand. Data-driven reflection number two—check!

We are more than an evaluation shop. The identity crisis of 2022 was the result of an entrepreneurship course I took and prompted specifically by an assignment to look carefully at the KPC web site. Turns out I hated it!

The old web site wasn’t just missing the people that make the company what it is, it was also missing so much of the work that we do. Check out the timeline below for some of our greatest hits, shared mostly as “firsts” and other milestones.



Yes, we evaluate STEM education projects. And we also conduct research, mostly in informal STEM learning contexts. We publish our work when we think we have a meaningful story to share. We have led communities of practice, served as the backbone organization for collective impact initiatives, and helped institutes and centers build strategic plans to guide data-driven decision-making related to outreach and evaluation. Check out this story on the home page for my take on how one thing led to another over the years to make all of this possible.

No matter the role we are playing, what we really like is thinking with people and using data to guide that thinking. That hasn’t changed in 12 years, and I doubt it ever will. And so, at the end of the day (and the beginning of a new year), my professional identity crisis wasn’t a crisis at all. Instead, it was a moment to stop, reflect, be proud, and think about how we can get even better at what we do as we move forward.

This company started with a focus on evaluation, which is often defined in relation to continuous improvement. In the past 12 years, we have honed our process, our ideas about the kinds of work we want to do, and the kinds of colleagues we want to be to one another and to clients and collaborators. If you’ve worked with us over the past few years, then I hope that as you read this, none of it feels very new to you. The truth of the matter (at least to me) is that we’ve tried to work as catalysts for a long time, and the steps we took in 2022 simply state those intentions up front. And so here we come, world—Catalyst Consulting Group: same crew, same services, and a company name that is reflective of all that we are and hope to be.

Get in touch!

Want to learn more about how we can be catalysts for your organization? We’d love to talk with you!

Meet the Catalyst Team

We're glad you're here! We are evaluators, researchers, and strategists who study and support STEM education programs. We specialize in the in-between spaces where we can use data to get context, tell important stories, and help our clients take strategic action in their programs.

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