If I could go back and give my 20-something-year-old self some advice, I’d tell that guy this: “You’re life is a portfolio, not a path.” Meaning careers aren’t linear. Marketing isn’t either. And neither is life.
So enjoy the trails, switchbacks, sidetracks, backtracks, crossings, lost times and downtimes for what they are — patchwork fabric in a one-of-a-kind quilt.
I would also tell that guy that the greatest joy and fulfillment comes from serving an other. That “other” could be an idea, a person or group, a place, a cause, a belief or practice…as long as it’s not yourself. This is key to effective marketing, as well. When we start with those we seek to serve, we will make decisions that benefit others and our planet over the long-term.
It’s a story of projects I’m proud I had the courage to try.
The first time I was published was in my hometown newspaper, The Daily Citizen. I was in the third grade. It was a poem on sunflowers.
Majored in Literature and began to write poetry again. That would be a key to my success as a marketing professional and executive. “See the familiar in unfamiliar ways.” That’s my mantra.
I got my first paid writing gig as a book reviewer for a retailing magazine.
2001 – 2008
Served as editor and publisher of Hamilton Health magazine.
Published articles in MarketingProfs.
With some mentoring from Georgia Trend‘s Neely Young, I founded and funded a print magazine for my hometown. It was called Dalton Life. Ad sales were hard. And I eventually had to pull the plug, because I couldn’t handle having a full-time management job in a hospital, run a monthly magazine and be a present dad and husband. Within that year, the local newspaper launched its own community magazine. Copycats!
Launched my first blog, Marketing Rounds. It was one of the first blogs in the healthcare/hospital space. The relationships I made through this project continue to this day — some became editors and thought leaders in the healthcare industry.
I served as editor and publisher of Jackson Healthcare Review, a quarterly print journal for health system executives. I secured feature editorials from Frank Luntz, David Meerman Scott, Newt Gingrich and Brandon Smith, among others.
Launched a second blog, Keitharsis. This blog, about alternative approaches to the creative life, “put me on the map” during its run. I published consistently through 2012. And, for years, received thank you emails from people around the world about how much impact my essays had on them. Even had one reader use my posts to teach kids in Africa.
Contributed to Seth Godin’s Tribes Q&A ebook though the Triiibes community.
Inspired by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt’s Oblique Strategies, I hatched the idea of a “word in a word” series. I tested the series in 2012. To date, I’ve collected hundreds of words and plan to create a card deck of these words-in-words as morning prompts for creatives.
Helped create, launch and market the Hospital Charitable Services Awards, which celebrates hospital-sponsored programs setting new standards for health and wellness in their communities through education, access and delivery. To date, we’ve named 60 Programs of Excellence and 15 Programs of Promise, providing nearly three-quarters of a million dollars in community program funding.
I started writing about life as a portfolio, rather than a path. An ambitious, young creative named Jeff Goins was so captivated by the idea, he went onto create his popular podcast, The Portfolio Life.
From May 2012 to July 2013, I published my first newsletter, Root Notes.
A colleague, Sheri Sorrell, and I created and launched an annual physician trends report read by over one-hundred thousand doctors, hospital executives, industry advisors and media. I never will forget the time we watched Sanjay Gupta share our data on CNN.
Featured presenter at Eloqua Experience 2013: The Thought Leader Engine: Using Eloqua to Power Research, Relationships & Referrals
Featured Presenter with Oracle’s Modern Marketing Tour 2014: Hero or Helper: Which Role is Your Organization Playing?
During National Poetry Month, I taught a poetry workshop for Kindergarteners through fifth graders at Legacy Community Academy. After the workshop, I had the school’s teachers collect the kids’ poems. And I designed and published a poetry anthology for the school.
My approach to physician surveys was featured in David Meerman Scott’s bestseller, The New Rules of Sales & Service.
Featured webinar presenter for BrightTalk: How to be a Legendary Storyteller with Webinars & Videos
Closing presenter at the Hospital Charitable Services Awards national conference: Designing a Connective Program Narrative
In April 2015, again during National Poetry Month, I extended the poetry workshop to two days and included middle and high schoolers. The older kids were a tough crowd, but I heard from one of the school administrators months later that a few of the kids had been inspired to write and read poetry.
Unsuccessful bid to purchase an established business magazine with nearly 200,000 readers.
I was an early sounding board for Jeff Goins as he worked on his most recent bestseller, Real Artists Don’t Starve. I’m proud to say his interview with astronaut and moonwalker, Alan Bean, was my contribution.
Worked with Richard L. Jackson to launch goBeyondProfit, a Georgia-based, business leader-to-leader initiative to give back in whatever ways make sense to each business.
I’m currently working on an audio series tentatively titled, Primal Warblings. However, I’m approaching this project as a poet. Think Jason Silva’s Shots of Awe meets Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History.
I have begun work on what I hope becomes a book on “others-first marketing” for those in the nonprofit and CSR world.