Drowning in Data? Pitch with a Story!

At the close of an intense month of immersion and ideation on a new opportunity, my client was in a rocky place about the next steps in their project. Like most deep dives, the process had surfaced new questions and many possibilities. Valuable marketplace, consumer, competitive, and technical data had been collected and reviewed. The team had generated a plethora Continue reading

An Exhilarating Career Experience Became a Book

Tech check was done … 15 min countdown ticking. Equipped with a clicker and a wireless mic, Chris Quam stood on the stage of a cavernous ballroom in the Las Vegas Convention Center. His heart sunk with dread that people might not come. Nervous, but not scared, his confidence soared as the audience started to fill the hundreds of seats Continue reading

“From Grinch to Our Neighbor” Inspires Imagination

We dreaded the arsenic hour … 5:00-6:00 pm, the first hour that Abby was home from day care. She would melt down and become inconsolable over small things. After a series of tantrums, she would retreat to her room (or be sent into a time out) and re-emerge with a new outfit … often dressed as a character. Princess, bride, Continue reading

10-Year Reunion with My Birthday Band

On a steamy day in the summer of 2006, we were boating on Lake Minnetonka with our kids and family friends—Kathy, Dave, and their daughter. Kathy got me musing about plans for my upcoming 50th birthday on October 30. I imagined a Halloween dancing party with live music, but was stuck on where/how to find a band that plays dancing Continue reading

Learning from a Millennial Entrepreneur

Tyler Olson crawled out of a lofted bed in his dorm room at 10:00 on a Saturday morning and greeted his staff, who were already busy working at the three desks jammed under his bed. They were servicing computers for his burgeoning technical support company, HelpMeTy.com. This was the moment when he realized it was time to rent office space. Continue reading

Rainbow Rewards Risk Taking

Sixty percent probability of rain! The weather forecast threatened to ruin our evening plans to go boating with another couple. After looking at the radar and discussing the risks, the four of us crossed our fingers that the sun would prevail and loaded onto our boat. We cruised to our favorite bay and cast our anchor. No sooner had we Continue reading

Storytelling in Lithuania: Conference Highlights

Stepping onto the cobblestone streets of Vilnius, I felt like I’d entered a storybook. This charming medieval city is the home to 500,000 Lithuanians, who bustle around the tangled streets in fashion-forward attire with a sense of purpose and belonging. Doug Carter (another speaker), Claire, and I settled into our hotel and met Diana Garlytska, the conference coordinator and our Continue reading

How a C+ in English Shaped My Writing Career

Choking back tears, I shoved my grade report into my backpack as I left my English professor’s office. I was bewildered that he had given me a C+ in freshman Composition and Literature. Was it a mistake? I’d always performed well in high school English classes and had worked hard in the course. He acknowledged my work, but shrugged, “You Continue reading

Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer

When I was in graduate school, I worked as the Nutrition Coordinator for an Adult Fitness/Cardiac Rehab program associated with the university I attended. It was a fairly new position in the organization without a lot of structure and process in place. Bright-eyed, naïve, and optimistic, I brought forward a lot of new ideas to enhance and expand the nutrition Continue reading