My talent is helping groups of people articulate what they can all rally around but haven’t yet found the words for. I believe our best hopes for transformative progress – as organizations, as institutions, and as a society – lie in the common path we haven’t yet written.
After earning my MBA from Columbia Business School in New York in 2001, I spent three years as an executive speechwriter at IBM. That was the beginning of my work helping give voice to the ideas of others.
In 2004, I went to work for a very different sort of large, mysterious enterprise: author Lemony Snicket. His best-selling A Series of Unfortunate Events was being adapted into a movie starring Jim Carrey, and there was a great deal of marketing to be written in Mr. Snicket’s stylized voice. Over the years, I’ve written more than 15 kids’ books. My most recent one, Winnie’s Great War, co-authored with Lindsay Mattick, was nominated for a Governor General’s Award. I use writing children’s books to hone my skill at distilling complexity and keep my writing for organizations fresh.
In 2008, an ad agency asked me to lead the development of positioning for North America’s largest maker of backyard fencing. For the first time, I had the opportunity to help a group of people define their strategy from the inside up. The project was a lightbulb moment for me. I had found my calling.
By 2010, I decided to professionalize my skills as an interviewer and facilitator, which were growing more important to my work. I went to in-sync, a premiere insights firm for healthcare, where I led hundreds of interviews and focus groups with physicians, caregivers, and patients. Once I’d deepened my strengths, I went back out on my own.
In 2012, a design firm called Cooler Solutions became my client. Originally an industrial design firm, they were evolving to design services and experiences. I helped the company clarify who they were and who they wanted to be, which resulted in a new name: Bridgeable.
In 2014, I started serving clients as part of the Bridgeable team. The first project I contributed to – as lead researcher on the redesign of mobile phone contract renewals for TELUS – went on to win “Best Commercial Project” at the 2017 Global Service Design Awards in Madrid.
Ahead of its time in 2012, Bridgeable is now one of the leading Service Design firms in the world. I became Strategy Lead, specializing in projects that required facilitating sensitive conversations with C-level executives and Boards, and began producing strategic plans for large organizations.
In 2018, Bridgeable won the opportunity to work with MTA New York City Transit. A new President, Andy Byford, was committed to delivering a comprehensive turnaround plan within his first 100 working days. I led the facilitation and writing of the plan, with input from thousands of NYCT employees.
Fast Forward: The Plan to Modernize New York City Transit – and the unique approach to strategy it represented – won a Core77 Award, 1st Place in the Design Value Awards from the Design Management Institute, and a 2019 Fast Company Innovation by Design Award for Mobility.
In 2020, I started up my independent practice once again, focused solely on facilitating and developing purpose, strategic plans, and positioning for enterprises and institutions. I continue to do projects with Bridgeable, where I am Strategic Storyteller-in-Residence. And from time to time, I still write children’s books to keep my pen sharp.