“We rise by lifting others” Robert Ingersoll
I have always believed our success and our ability to achieve is deeply linked to others. My greatest career accomplishments have been the result of a connection. Relationships matter. In business, we know our digital rolodex of contacts is priceless. Our network. How many people does it take for me to connect with the “right” decision maker? How many connections do I need to have on LinkedIn to win more work? When I walk into a networking event do people know who I am?
I have never found guerrilla marketing tactics to work for me. They just don’t feel authentic. Yet, I know when you play the whose who game and when you directly ask for work you are more likely to win work.
I spent 18 years lifting others by sharing what we did, who we did it for and why we did it. And, my career reflected the success we had in achieving together. But, I was missing a purpose-driven mission. I once had a partner express his frustration with painting the same wall over and over again just using a different color. I understood that analogy. There are intersections in our career, whether self-motivated or forced by circumstance, where we examine this fundamental question: is this my life’s work or am I working to live my life?
My work has defined me. It has been my identity. In 2018, I began a journey I was unprepared to set out on. I was exhausted after working full-time while completing my graduate degree at night. I was exhausted having worked with partners that communicated so differently than me (the old men are from mars and women are from venus thing is real!). I was exhausted from seeing people I worked with but not seeing the people I lived with at home.
I thought I would tread water at PointNorth, a business my husband had started after his retirement in 2011. I wasn’t planning on staying. Well, I wasn’t really planning. I sort of hoped someone would reach out, want to hire me for an awesome position and the rest would be history. I worked with a coach (but should have seen a counselor). I updated the PointNorth website. I waited for the phone to ring. I wasn’t very clear about what I was offering or who my ideal client was. I thought my network would activate and my connections would want to give me a shot. Nothing happened.
And then, five women saw me. Some of these women I knew well while others were new to my professional network.
- September 2018, Jada Rupley made a referral to Rekah Strong at EOCF telling me I could help Rekah by facilitating a strategic planning process. Knowing I had done this countless times for other nonprofits and for my company, this would be easy. And, Rekah gave me a shot. This was my first contract.
- October 2018, Kelliann Amico called wanting to know if I have facilitated a construction partnering process in the past. I hadn’t so I started to respond with no I can’t do that and she says yes you can! Turns out it is the creation of a team charter for a design and construction team. Well I know design and construction…and I know school projects! And, Forma Construction hires me to help facilitate the design and construction of two new elementary schools.
- November 2018, Dena Strong asks if I would facilitate a team building session utilizing the Whole Brain Thinking approach. I had worked with Dena in January 2018 but had offered my services pro bono. She was willing to pay me to continue to work with her team!
- January 2019, Page Phillips Strickler suggested I might want to help build a bridge. She set up a lunch meeting that 18 months later led to our largest contract yet!
Over the last two years, I have had the opportunity to work with talented, smart women as part of the PointNorth team. These women believe in the impact of our work in the community and I am appreciative of their trust and friendship. Kasie Wurdinger, Elvia Santos Dominguez, Audri Bomar, Jordan Meade, Lori Oberheide, Cadie Dye, Katy Belokonny and Hayley Frohs – I am grateful to work with you everyday!
Women have been lifting me and we have been rising together for decades. I believe strongly that we are so much stronger when we empower each other as opposed to competing. November marks a significant month for me at PointNorth. November 2018 we were certified by the State of Washington as a Disadvantaged Business Enterprise, a Minority-Woman Owned, Small Business. We celebrate this two year anniversary by thanking the men and women who gave us an opportunity to earn their trust. We are proud to have and continue to work for school districts, education service districts, non-profits, public agencies, workforce development agencies, architects, engineers, and contractors.
Reach out to us! We would love the opportunity to hear how we might be able to support you –