Episode 1

Why I’m launching the Catalyst Effect

I spent 25 years as a brand marketing executive at Nabisco, Kraft Foods, Cadbury and Godiva. Throughout my career, I crafted identities, using just ‘One Word’, for some of the world’s most iconic brands such as Planters, Chips Ahoy!, Dentyne and Godiva to name a few. I now travel the country as a motivational speaker challenging people to craft their personal brands using just ‘One Word’. Episodes will include conversations with thought-leading entrepreneurs, emotionally intelligent business leaders and college and high school trailblazers who have accepted my challenge, discovered their ‘One Word’ and are sharing it with the world in ways that are helping them Stand-out Conquer Obstacles and Reach Excellence, in other words, SCORE. I’ll also talk directly to you and reveal the ‘One Word’ for brands such as Starbucks, Apple, SPANX and Oreo. I’ll even throw into the mix my branding concepts for some influential people like Ashley Graham, Kelly Clarkson, Gary Vee, Brene Brown and many more. Join me on my mission to transform one million lives ‘One Word’ at a time.

Show Notes (click to expand)

Imagine waking up at 26 years old with a cancer diagnosis….that’s what happened to me.

If there’s one lesson I learned from hearing the words – YOU HAVE TESTICULAR CANCER – it’s this…..LIFE IS SHORT…and for me that meant wrestling with the question “How do I want to be remembered? much earlier than most people”. I always wanted to have an impact on other people’s lives, but I had neither the courage nor the pathway to act on that dream.

Until Fall 2017….when I did something-on-the-fly with zero thought and a lot of MOXIE!

During an unexpectedly poor performance review, on the spot, I got up, closed the door and resigned from my corporate job. In that moment, I gave up a high-paying salary, a fancy job-title and long-term financial security by ending my traditional brand marketing career. I realized that if I were to be the cookie-cutter marketer they wanted, I couldn’t be myself. There was NO turning back. 

Then came the million-dollar question. What next?

I had spent most of my adult life believing that my identity was defined by two things: being a survivor and my career. I had just turned 50 and wanted the next decade to be led by my PURPOSE. I dug deep to really understand what gets me up in the morning….and through conversations with my mentors, friends, family and therapist, I discovered my WHY: 


OK now what do I do?….just snap my fingers and make this happen? Here’s the thing…I had ZERO clue what to do next…UNTIL an encounter with my son Zach, in our kitchen, would kick-start this PURPOSE into action.

Zach was getting ready to apply to college. He asked me to help him prepare for his alumni interviews, which of course I said yes to…after-all I’m a Brand Marketer.

I proceeded to ask him ONE SIMPLE QUESTION that would ultimately change the entire trajectory of my life: 


Zach first looked at me like I had 10 heads….he paused and said: I’m a high school senior, I like sports…but then he stopped, saying: Dad, that’s an overwhelming question and they don’t teach us how to answer this in high school….

…AND THAT’S when the light bulb went off in my head and I had my a-ha moment:

Zach was sharing all the things he did…he had no idea who he was at his core!

So at my kitchen table, I began visualizing how I could change the way people think about themselves…the same way I helped companies think differently about the products they were selling.

What I did for the Billion dollar consumer products companies that I worked for – Nabisco, Kraft Foods, Cadbury and Godiva – was create a Core Value One Word approach to successfully craft IDENTITIES for some of the world’s most iconic brands like Oreo, Godiva, Chips Ahoy! and Planters – to name a few…so they could break through the clutter and stand-out.

Your product is NOT your brand.
Your brand is your core value.
You use your product as the vehicle to drive your core value.


So as I was listening to Zach in my kitchen, I literally wrote down on a piece of paper the following words….


and said to myself…maybe I can help him discover his core value, so he could craft a personal brand around his One Word.

I was soon to find out if my crazy idea had any merit.

I convinced Zach that he could break-out of that HUGE pile of college applications (40,000+) if he discovered his One Word and crafted his story around his core value. Trust me, this took a lot of work…BUT boy did it pay off…

…Zach discovered his core value in One Word…and PERSEVRANCE was born….

What transpired next was MAGICAL:

o  Aced his alumni interviews.
Wrote an outstanding college personal statement.
Got accepted to Cornell University.
Landed an amazing internship junior Summer at Peloton.
And this summer will intern in Management Consulting at Ernst & Young…

HERE’S the best part…MY MISSION was born:

To Transform 1 Million Lives One Word at a Time.

Since that conversation, I chose Motivational Speaking as the primary vehicle to share my message across the country…that:

What you do is NOT who you are…BUT who you are should drive what you do…and all it takes is One Word!

Now I’m ready to move beyond the stage and share conversations with the people that have discovered their One Word and are putting The CATALYST Effect into action.

 Episodes of The CATALYST Effect will drop every Monday and Thursday. 

On Monday’s episode, I’ll drop conversations with Thought-leading Entrepreneurs, Emotionally Intelligent Business Leaders and College and High School Trailblazers who, like my son, have accepted my challenge, discovered their One Word and are sharing it with the world in ways that are helping them Stand-out / Conquer Obstacles / Reach Excellence, in other words, SCORE.

On Thursday’s episode, I’ll just talk directly to you and reveal the One Word for some of the brands you interact with every single day – brands like Starbucks, Apple, SPANX, Oreo, and I’ll even throw into the mix my branding concepts for some influential people….like Ashley Graham, Kelly Clarkson, Gary Vee, Brene Brown and many more. 

Along the way, I’ll just talk directly to you about the power of branding and how it’s changing the way we need to think and show up in the world. 

We’ll also have a way for you to send me questions for “Ask me anything” episodes…And my ultimate dream is, at some point, to hit the road and do some live shows and meet you all as I help you discover your One Word and thereby transform my million lives.

I have no doubt you’ll learn something new in every episode.

AND…one more thing….my One Word is CATALYST…and I’ll share more about my story throughout our time together.

Buckle up and let’s take this One Word journey together.

You can find The CATALYST Effect wherever you normally listen to your podcasts. Subscribe now, invite your friends and just know I’m STOKED to share these incredible One Word conversations with you.

The next time someone says: Tell me about yourself….share who you are…NOT WHAT YOU DO! All it takes is One Word!

I’m Rich Keller, The CATALYST and welcome to The CATALYST Effect!

Listen & Subscribe on

Join my

and Never Miss an Episode


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *