Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Giving thanks for my clients, and closed for the week

Nearly every month, I sit down at this desk--reserved for handwritten notes--and write to clients to express my gratitude for the opportunity to work with them. So I have a form of thanksgiving on a regular basis. This week, all of my blogs--this one, Moderating Panels, and The Eloquent Woman--will take a well-earned break, with all three blogs back in full publishing mode next week. I will be using the Thanksgiving holiday to reflect on my gratitude to my clients.

This year, in addition to helping them meet their goals and carry out their strategies, I also was spending time with my sister, who died in July. I was about to lead a conference workshop in Florida when I got the call that she was worsening, and for the next few months, my clients made room for me to rearrange deadlines or work remotely while I spent critical time with her and with my family. Many clients shared their own experiences with the loss of a family member and took the time to inquire and listen to me about where I was at various stages of the process. There's nothing for which I can be more grateful. Here are the stellar clients I've worked with this year, with thanks to all of them for work I continue to find engaging and exciting:
  • The American Association for the Advancement of Science, where I led a workshop for its Science & Technology Policy Fellows about public opinion research and how it can inform their work on Capitol Hill and in federal agencies. I love hearing from them about public opinion data resources in their agencies.
  • The American Medical Association, where I provided coaching and speechwriting for executive leadership and a special TEDMED-related event where the speakers really hit their mark.
  • The Association of Public and Land-Grant Univesities (APLU), for whom I've coached higher education executives to do five-minute "Shark Tank"-style pitches in competition for funding for innovative projects in student advising and other areas. I worked with higher education leaders in Ohio, Arizona, Oregon, Florida, and California as they pitched innovations in advising--and it was a delight to hear their ideas.
  • athenahealth, a cloud-based electronic health records and practice technology company, where I've coached teams and individual executives for investor and conference presentations and keynotes. Love working with this repeat client.
  • IBM, where I piloted a storytelling workshop for marketing professionals from the North America, Europe/Middle East/Africa, and Asia Pacific regions. My magic sauce? Doing a workshop with no slides that held the group's attention.
  • Individual clients who are CEOs, scientists, educators, and executives looking to up their presentation game. Several gave TEDx talks or talks in that style that garnered compliments and more invitations to speak.
  • The National Council for Behavioral Health, where I led a workshop for communications and marketing pros on working better with subject-matter experts in mental and behavioral health. This took place at the Council's impressive annual conference. Knowing how hard they worked always makes me proud.
  • The Nature Conservancy, where I've been coaching environmental scientists in TNC's Science Impact Program to give talks in the style of TED. I'm starting work with a new cohort of the program's scientists for 2016.
  • The Physician Assistant Education Association, where I provided speaker coaching for executive leadership before the association's annual conference. 
  • Sanergy, a nonprofit working to make hygienic sanitation affordable and accessible in Africa. I conducted media training for the group's founders, creative thinkers about an intractable problem.
  • The Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, where I led a communications staff retreat and provided support for the center's blogs and social media strategy.
  • SIGCHI, the special interest group on human-computer interaction of the Association of Computing Machinery. As a first step in a message development process, we're exploring public opinion about those interactions.
  • The Society for Healthcare Strategy and Market Development (SHSMD), part of the American Hospital Association. I conducted a workshop on presentations in the style of TED for the health care marketers and planners who attended the well-organized SHSMD conference this year.
  • TEDMED, where I advised all the speakers on memorizing talks and coached them backstage for the fifth year in a row. It's always a highlight of the year for me.
  • The UK Speechwriters Guild, where I conducted a pre-conference workshop on creating a TED-quality talk. Its conference is a wonderful incubator for my training workshops.
  • The University of Maryland Baltimore County, where I conducted advanced media training for faculty in computing and engineering, and made sure we covered the questions they've always wanted to ask in a training, but didn't have the chance to ask.
  • The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Security R&D division, where I provided social media and communications strategies for its National Conversation on a Trusted Cyber Future, as well as other division communications. Wonderful for me to be working again with this repeat client.
  • WellSpan Health in York, PA, a health care corporation for which I coached a group of 20 executive leaders to give five-minute talks in the style of TED. I still get emails from them telling me about how they're using the talks and getting more invitations to speak!
I'm wishing you and all my clients a warm and wonderful holiday with those you love the most.

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