Your mountain is waiting.
So…get on your way!
~ Oh! The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss
Short version: BlogHer
Much longer (now-spoiled but still totally worth grabbing a cup of tea and sitting down to read) version:
After graduating from business school I embarked on the consumer brand management phase of my career. That path led to some tremendous learning opportunities and incredible experiences for me. Then, over five years ago I stepped off that path and moved to running my own small branding and marketing consulting and research company. Life as an entrepreneur has introduced me to a whole new world of challenges and it has been rewarding. But, I won't lie, it's also a life that can be difficult and often frustrating.
Over the years the types and scope of engagements I've had the opportunity to pursue have changed. And the kind of challenges I'd like to work on in the future have become clearer.
I've had the great fortune to work on some very cool early social media efforts including some by the kind of big consumer-facing brands I'd worked for previously. My background in both classical brand management and digital marketing was sufficiently unique that my skills put me in a position to be a part of some fascinating projects.
Over the past 18 months or so business has been tougher and less rewarding for a variety of reasons. The great recession has been part of it, certainly. However, at the same time there has been quite a bit of growth in boutique agencies and an explosion of social media consultants. Though I am clear that I am a marketer not a social media guru (though, I will accept "goddess"), these days social media is where the demand for marketing is at.
I'm someone who needs challenges, preferably big ones. And so I've considered two paths. The first is building my business out into an agency. The other is to bring my skills and experience to either an established agency or back to a consumer brand company to help them build their in-house digital and social media expertise. I've believed for a while that companies must and will build their knowledge of social tools and integrate that learning across the company. I agree 1,000% with Susan Getgood in her post at Shamable: "Who owns social media?"
If there is an owner of social media, it is the marketing function within the organization. Note: not a social media function.Social media is one of the marketing functions, just like PR and advertising, but the top, and bottom, line is the chief marketing officer. Marketing sets the strategy. Owns the business results. And calls on its agencies for support.
Agencies are partners — in developing strategies, executing programs, handling crises — but the agency role is first to help the company “learn to fish,” — to understand the social media environment, and then to work with it to develop exciting social media campaigns, programs, endeavors that will engage the customers.
Ultimately that's where I realized I wanted to be; I want to help build expertise in service of driving business results.
So I decided to seek out a new challenge. And, coming full circle, to that end I'm joining BlogHer as a project manager. It's not a marketing role. It will be a little along the lines of looking for Herbies (shout out to fans of The Goal, the most awesome book ever about operations management in the form of a love story and novel) and developing processes to better manage the hike except not in a factory. Also it's somewhat similar to my team's MAP for my Ross alumni friends. [Don't worry - those previous two sentences won't make sense to most of you reading this] But bottom line is it is an opportunity to contribute to BlogHer's growth and success which I welcome.
Some of you might be surprised to read this and find out that I don't already work for BlogHer. That's the best part of this move for me. I'm joining a group of people I already know and love and with whom I've worked with since the beginning. And now I won't have to go through my long winding explanations about how I'm representing BlogHer at that event or I'm making inquiries on behalf of the company that I'm closely associated with but don't actually work for.
I started my business shortly before discovering business blogs and Elisa Camahort at Worker Bees and soon after that the idea for the first BlogHer conference was born. As a result, I raised my hand, offered to help in any way I could and I was tasked with planning a dinner and some other activities at the first conference. From there I've spoken at several of the conferences, served on conference programming advisory boards, worked on a variety of initiatives including BlogHers Act, BlogHer's political coverage, the holiday cooking videos, the creation of the ad network and several others. Most prominently, Lisa Stone invited me to join the inaugural group of contributing editors and 400+ posts later, the first result for my name in Google is not my business, my name domain or any of my own blogs - not even the one that pre-dates BlogHer - but my writing at BlogHer.
I know Elisa Camahort is now Elisa Camahort Page because I officiated her wedding to her S.O. who I also count as a dear friend. Jory Des Jardins was my neighbor for most of BlogHer's life and I've enjoyed spending social time with her and her charming husband. Lisa (sometimes along with her partner Chris) has entertained, amused and killed me dead in restaurants and for hours on airplanes with her wicked wit. I've broken bread and come to love their parents, sisters, partners and children. I treasure their friendships as well as those of many BlogHer employees, my co-CE's and scores of people I've met as part of the BlogHer community.
It feels destined. I'm thrilled that Monday I start my next phase and new adventure. I'm looking forward to the challenge, the opportunity and most of all officially being part of the BlogHer team in addition to the community.