In 1945, my grandfather, a first generation Norwegian immigrant, needed to fix a carburetor on his 1940 Ford motorcar. He did not have the money to pay a mechanic to fix the carburetor, so my grandfather, being the savvy entrepreneur that he was, offered a simple solution; “I cannot pay you to fix this for me, but if you teach me how to fix it, I’ll work off the payment in your shop.” This seemingly simple story shaped the way that I think of business. That simple act of the mechanic teaching my grandfather a simple mechanical skill, led to a lifetime of being able to be self sustainable by solving and fixing problems on the farm. I do not want to have clients who blindly pay me for services; I want to help build creative and adaptive problem solvers so they can better understand their business, and their communications. I absolutely admire entrepreneurs and ambitious business minded people, because it is that mindset that allowed my grandfather to build a successful business, and use it to teach me and my family how to build something for ourselves.
Keep it Simple
Far too often, I have come across leadership that understands how effective communication can make their work easier. I thought that communications are quite simple and easy but it turns out that is not the case. Communications is my life and passion, so I find myself in a communication vacuum, constantly consuming information and different approaches to problem solving, and tools, tips and tricks that work. This helps me take complex problems and simplify them into easy actionable steps. Simplification is the backbone of Strategies Simplified; taking seemingly complex and complicated ideas, and honing them down into manageable strategies and tactics.
I absolutely hate agencies, consultants, and firms that try to sell you all their services, leaving you with a big bill and little substance. You don’t need every service they can (and will) offer; you simply need what will make you successful, and not leaving you paying for their overhead. Not everyone needs a website, not everyone needs content on an Instagram page, but I repeatedly see those agencies with hip and trendy strategists in an old brick building office and beautiful couch and classic decor offering junk services to businesses and nonprofits who want to spend their hard earned-dollars to improve their products and services. Those agencies say they will give you a fresh re-branding, when all they do is give you a dysfunctional logo and color pallet change. I want to fix issues at the foundation of the organization that drives all future communication to be effective, and relevant to the target audience.
I have had such a remarkable journey full of experiences, which have provided me with the ability to assess and develop effective strategies in many different capacities. I had a successful 19-year military career, reaching the top ranks of the organization, allowing me to understand organizational Mission, Vision, Values and how to use internal communication to motivate team members at every level. As a licensed social worker, I learned how to use empathy to understand the psychology of clients and how people experience a buyers journey, and purchasing behavior. While working for a Member of Congress, I was able to utilize brand strategy, brand personality, and brand voice over short and long-term positioning efforts. As an Associate Executive Director of a multi-million dollar foundation, I was able to create an effective donor and sponsor development strategy to raise funds for events and annual giving, as well as develop a communication and brand strategy from scratch in order to develop consistent and relevant communication across a 39,000-member organization. I am traditional educated from the University of Minnesota with a Master’s in Strategic Communication (marketing communication) and from Minnesota State University with a MBA. My educational background gives me the best of both worlds; I understand the ecosystem of business functions, and how effective communication can be used to reach business goals.