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Shaping the Narrative

Only you can shape the story of your company. Consultants, like myself, are hired by organizations to help them direct their thinking and carry out projects that support a theme, a campaign, or an initiative. But my work doesn't go anywhere unless the narrative is clear. That's something an organization needs to have, first and foremost. What are we doing, what's the background, and what's the narrative? From there, we can go in any number of directions. But it starts with organizations knowing who they are.

5 Questions LGBTQ Organizations Need to Ask in 2017

We are two weeks into 2017. We face a new year and new challenges. With that in mind, I have put together a list of 5 questions LGBTQ Organizations need to ask themselves in the new year. This list is meant as a way for LGBTQ Organizations to take stock of where they are, what they're after, and where they need to go.

1. Are you getting your message out to the right audience?

What are you saying? How are you saying it? And is it reaching the right people? It's necessary that you think about your message and how it will play to different audiences. Each of these audiences will respond to your organization differently. Messaging is an essential component of your strategy. Messaging influences every film, every newsletter, every social media post. If you're not clear in your communications, your organization will suffer.

2. How are you reaching your donors?

With a need for donations more important than ever before, it's necessary for organizations to think about how they are reaching donors. Think about you are offering them, what you're telling them, and how you are making them feel engaged. In 2015, the fight for marriage equality was won. By the end of 2016, it was clear that our work was far from over. Moving forward, how are you making sure your donors know that their gifts will lead to real change?

3. What is Pride 2017 going to look like?

Pride 2017 is going to be a vital and necessary event in the coming months. Organizations must think about what they are offering this year. Deeper engagement, more active participation, a clear message - all these things are essential as events come into play. What you do in Pride 2017 will set the tone for the years ahead. Be sure to make it count.

4. Are you reaching all communities?

LGBTQ organizations have been called out in the past for being very one-sided in their audience reach. If LGBTQ organizations are going to stay afloat, they must reach every community. They must speak to white audiences, black audiences, latino audiences, trans audiences, and so on. They must bring these communities into the conversation. Too often, LGBTQ organizations benefit one community and overlook the other communities. This must change.

5. Do you have a strategy?

2017 is not business as usual. Anyone can see that. Politics today is not business as usual. To thrive, to prosper, to respond to challenges - you're going to need a strategy that works. Make sure you bring everyone to the table. Talk to lots of people. Get out into the community. Hear from multiple voices. A strategy that encompasses messaging, communications, philanthropy, and activism will light your way as you move through the months and years ahead. Everything starts with a plan. What's yours going to be?

How we create

In the new year, let's really take time to think about the things that we make. It's time we ask ourselves honest questions about what we put out into the world. So, when 2018 is just a few ticks from becoming a reality, let's look back on all that we did and really ask ourselves what we did with the time we were given.

  • Did we bow to pressure, or did we try something new?
  • Did we create out of passion, or did we create because we were told to so?
  • Did we listen to the needs of our clients, or did we just do what we thought was best?
  • Did we make something memorable, or did we go for something easy?
  • Did we greet each day, ready to take on the new, or did we get up grumpy and uninspired?
  • Did we look up from our phones and see the beauty of this world, or did we live inside our screens?
  • Did we cater to the trolls and the cynics, or did we make something from the heart?
  • Were we bound by numbers and analytics, or did we look beyond the metrics?
  • Did we create a culture where all our employees feel heard and welcomed, or did we sacrifice morale for product?
  • Did we create something that will move this world forward, or did we fall prey to the commonplace?
  • Did we work with those clients who lift us, or did we work the clients who bring us down?

In every year, you're not going to say "Yes" to every one of these questions. But even so, it's important to really think about what you want this year to look like. We have 365 days to get it right. We have 365 days to bring something into this world that will change people. We're going to make mistakes and we're going to have some slip-ups. Ok. Who cares? In the end, as that glass of sparkling champagne is in your hand and the ball is about to drop on 2017, think about what you want to feel inside. Do you want to feel like you did some good, or do you want to feel like you did what was easy?

 

32 Years

I turned 32 less than a week ago. It was a good day. It didn't bring with it the same "oh my god" that 30 brought. It didn't have the same kind of reflection that 31 brought. It was just different. I like to measure years in the things I've done, the things I was too scared to do, the risks I took, and the moments I was vulnerable. I don't talk about vulnerability much, but now that I am reading "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown, it's all I think about. As your 30s keep going on, I feel like you gotta work hard to make sure they feel different. Or not. Maybe they don't need to feel different. But I do think every year should be one where you grew a little more than you did the year before.

This past year was a good one. There were changes, there were times of joy, times of sadness. There were weddings, upheavals, babies born. When I turned 31, I could not have expected that come 32, I'd be running my own business. I would not have expected that I would have taken that leap. Even though it's always been there, in the back of my mind, I didn't think I was going to do it just yet. But jobs change, and new jobs don't work out, and you make due with what you can. You listen to your heart and hopefully, you have people around who will catch you when you jump off that tightrope. That's the thing, right? We throw out a line and we hope it comes back with something positive. We blow out those candles and we have 365 more days to get it right. To do more, to learn more, to try harder, to fix the things that need fixing, to mend the fences that need mending, to bring a little more hope into this world, to be a little less scared than we were the day before.

I'm doing my best to go all in. I'm doing my best to not be scared of this new chapter. And yes, there will be hits and misses, and there will be jobs I don't get, and there will be projects that fall through, clients that don't work out, emails that go unreturned, disappointments and failings. But I must keep going. Because 33 has to look different from 32. I want to be back at that restaurant, saying hello to 33, and be proud of what I did, what I made, and how I loved. That's my goal. Will I be exactly where I want to be? Maybe not. But I'll be on my way. And that's something.

 

Combat Hate

Things We Believe

  • We create stories to open borders and open dialogue

 

  • We believe that good stories about good people can help move the world forward

 

  • In a world where hate and vitriol are ever-present, we will create heroes that look to combat that tide

 

  • In a world where it's cool to be mean, we will try to be the difference-maker

 

  • We want to build new heroes in the LGBTQ movement

 

  • Good stories can drive out hate, good stories can break down barriers, good stories can withstand the tide of indifference, good stories can make things better

 

  • We want new and different stories

 

  • We want to create things that last