After decades preparing others for what's next, I'm working on this very question for the forthcoming leg of my journey. When I came to the U.S., my dream involved helping people with different cultures (and languages) work together toward a better life.
The journey started with wellness and answering the question of what makes a child a fully functioning human being and charting a path between current and desired state. Over a short period of time, I've witnessed and supported impact affecting hundreds of lives. What a privilege it was to serve those families.
My ability to learn rapidly and effectively and my training and experience in systems of communication were tested time and time over through the harsh operational reality of nonprofit work. I was very fortunate to be in an environment that never stopped, where marginal improvements made the difference between life and more difficult alternatives.
I carried that drive and desire to affect change positively to the business world. Marketing, communication, and a passion for the impact of technology on human behavior have been the common thread in the last fifteen plus years.
I've helped several mature organizations evolve their brand to realize ambitious growth objectives. In some cases an acquisition, in others the fine tuning of a new story and direction. Many of the roles I've held throughout my career were fixed descriptions I brought to life with a growth mindset.
This meant flexing in the direction of the business problem to solve with no concern over who took the credit and an eye firmly focused on excelling in customer and user experience. I worked in collaboration with teams inside and outside the organization, soliciting and welcoming contributions and becoming a mentor and coach even as I often missed having one.
My introduction to the power of publishing and storytelling predated the digital tools we take for granted today. I learned digital community building starting in 1999 and I've experimented with online communication through the evolution of everything that came after that — I'd been writing online since 2000 and my first post here was in August 2006.
As I've said often in the last three years, I'm an accidental consultant. When my father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, I did not hesitate. It turned out to be a prescient decision made without much to go on, one of many in my life that turned out to be appropriate. He/we had 60 days in total.
I chose to spend time with him and forego the career progression I had built so far in corporate and agency roles. It wasn't a simple choice, but it was easy to make. Family comes first especially at a time when community is such a vanishing concept when not followed by commercial value.
So here I am three years later, an accidental consultant.
It's been a good run, working with clients in some cases several months at a stretch to develop and communicate value for growth and transformation. It's always easier to see how far we've come when looking back, and I know this is true regardless of the question and journey.
I'm currently exploring a variety of different directions — the product of a very interesting career in five plus industries with depth in a few areas, including business to business commerce, risk management and communication, and brand reinvention. Throughout, I've been lucky to learn from engineers, scientists, and financial and operational gurus on whose shoulders I've built my experience.
There are a number of opportunities I'm discussing at the moment for the next step in my career. I don't see yet where these conversations will lead, and I don't know where and when things will land. I'm curious and excited to find out.
This is the principal reason why I haven't been as active posting here and in social — with the exception of my new passion project ItalianStyle.me (you'll see the visual storyteller in me on Instagram.)
My goal is to begin my new adventure starting January 2019.
Here's how you can help in the meantime. Please take a moment to consider if you can do one or more of the following:
- Consulting Referrals
I'd welcome any referrals for consulting work — brand strategy and positioning, digital communication, content strategy and publishing are some of my most requested programs. I play well with others (partners, agencies, and other teams) and hit the ground running.
I've written a staggering number of words online and offline. I'm equally comfortable with a blank page and with drafts you'd like to see evolve. Professional writers and writing coaches have used my services.
We're approaching the end of the year and maybe you have a project you've been unable to get to, or to get off the ground as quickly as you'd like. Maybe you're one or two people short in your team — many I talk with have lost colleagues and are behind in their hiring process. Or maybe you could use ramping up or sharpening digital skills.
- Speaking Referrals
In the last couple of years I've done more panel moderation. I'll be moderating a panel for the Business Marketing Association of Philadelphia breakfast event on December 6. I'm planning to do more speaking in 2019.
This means I'll also update my site and LinkedIn profile. I've been advocating the importance of value to brand, memorable experiences, and culture in digital environments at prominent conferences and events around the world for more than a decade.
- Bridging Connections
If you know people I should meet for a conversation, please reach out. Most of our activities require a combination of bonding and bridging. I've been an avid connector of people and ideas throughout my career because I believe in this mix. But I also believe in right place, right time.
Many often volunteer introducing their LinkedIn connections. But here's why that's not the same as making proactive introductions. Even when I make an effort — as many of you do — to get to know social connections, we're often not as personally connected as we'd like to think. Serendipity needs frequency of contact to work in our favor.
Relationships take time to develop, and luck favors compounding effects.
We don't know what we don't know. Even as I'm discussing a few opportunities, I'm fully aware that there are unknown unknowns in the mix of life. So I'd like to encourage you to connect with me if you think you'd like to explore an opportunity, or if you know of a business problem I can help address for an organization.
I typically attract organizations at an inflection point — high growth startups, mature businesses in reinvention mode, consultancies that want to become more agile in how they approach purpose and execution, and brands that want to tell their story with new intensity.
I'm system- and process-driven, resilient with a bias to balancing action with thinking and evidence. I worked in highly regulated industries and have held the confidence and received the support of CEOs and the most senior executives in organizations.
My experience includes global work — French, British, Swiss German organizations and global clients, including APAC and Latin America. It would be fabulous to help an Italian company that wants to do/is doing business in the U.S. or vice versa. I have a natural love for the made in Italy.
Asking is hard, yet necessary because we're not islands and our best work is a result of a group effort. Consulting has been rewarding, yet it's a (mostly) alone activity. In the last three years I've invested heavily on my continuing education — subscription-based models, publishing and writing, developing well thought-out frameworks and models. I've even completed a Barre instructor training (a conversation for another day).
In the next few articles, I'll share some lessons learned at different organizations and working on various programs to give you a deeper sense of how I work. I also sense that my reluctance to toot my own horn has held me back.
This is a conversation. So I'll also be reaching out to smart people in my network to offer their thoughts and ideas on the impact of technology on business, culture, and human behavior. You're welcome to suggest people in your network as well. Conversations have been part of this site before.
Finally, I believe that value is rooted in values. Our values change in different phases of our lives based on our goals and direction. My current values are — sincerity, beauty, trust, acceptance, intelligence and reason, curiosity, connection and empathy, impact, and fun and humor.
P.S. I forgot I was also a bartender in a club during the summer and on New Year's Day. It was an interesting exercise to think about jobs I've had beyond titles. I can see direction and patterns there. What would you see if you did your grid?