Now that I can focus on projects that fit my idea of fun, my website is for fun. But the skills I learned as an anthropologist, observing and asking questions, still inform my work. On a good day I remember, what’s logical to me is logical to me. The trick is to see things from other’s points of view.
I opened my consulting practice in 2000, writing speeches for executives at Emerson, Pfizer, Thomsen Consumer Electrics (RCA) and Procter & Gamble. My specialty was strategic change. Those were the days of live meetings, when thousands of employees and customers gathered to learn what was to happen next.
Soon computers were everywhere. People got information in new ways. Companies sent news by video, trained employees with the meeting-in-a-box and held live town halls with people from every location.
As communication became less formal, listeners expected an authenticity that speeches couldn’t deliver. I still wrote about strategic change, but began crafting messages for leaders to deliver without a script, often in face-to-face settings.
My relationship with Procter & Gamble grew; I worked with C-level leaders in the Sales, Marketing and Product Supply organizations, and in nearly every business. I added “anthropologist” to my business card after I was asked to explore the role of corporate culture in the failure of a multimillion dollar initiative. I was soon creating ethnographic whitepapers and documentaries around the globe. (I earned a B.A. in Anthropology from Kirkland College – now Hamilton College, in Clinton; and a M.A from the University of Kentucky. I’ve conducted formal and informal field work in several countries, all centered around food acquisiiton, use and beliefs.)
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Over the years, almost all of my clients had a pretty good idea what they wanted to say. They knew they needed to say it in a clear, compelling way to impact what happened next. That’s why they called me.
Since retiring I’ve trained dozens of non-profit leaders on how to give compelling, three-minute pitches about what they do and why it matters. I published a weekly political action guide, Making citizenship a habit during the early years of the trump administration and more recently teamed up with two fellow Doner alums to create free ads for down-ballot candidates.
I also write just for fun.