Thursday, December 17, 2009

Going to the Dark Side? Hardly.

Thanks to my talented group of friends who continue to mentor and teach me new things along the way, I am finally getting around to writing this post about the decision I made to go into consulting and what I represent to the association community now.

This is important because I spent many years at three separate associations and thought I might always work for a non-profit. Many of my closest friends today have come from my involvement with associations and only know me as "KiKi Who's Koo-Koo for Chapters!"

It was from that love for building relationships and from that passion for watching member communities grow that I found my passion for working with groups using new forms of media to reach out to members. I watched as the members in each organization struggled with many of the same processes. I learned from each instance a tough situation landed at my feet due to a lack of communication between members and national. I made really great decisions that had awesome results for my organization. Shock of all shocks, I also made mistakes. Through it all, I began to find a warm, comfortable place for myself in the association community, making friends at ASAE & The Center events and learning, always learning, from those around me.

And then, one day, I looked around and realized I had a pretty accomplished group of friends. Moreover, I had even done quite a bit myself to increase my knowledge and get "out there" to start sharing what I had learned. I tried to take the things I learned and apply them to my own job where some big and some small changes happened fairly quickly. I reviewed studies before they were published and I helped out on courses before they were announced. My participation in my professional organization was paramount to these accomplishments and opportunities and I could relate better to my own members as a result.

With all of that, I figured I would stay in the non-profit world for life. Truth is, I loved it! Of course there were the occasional personality conflicts and sticky situations, but all-in-all I had found my niche. *peaceful, happy sigh*

There was just one problem. I didn't have anywhere to go.

I couldn't see any changes for growth coming my way, which was odd to me because I felt so much attachment to the association world and to my job. Was I to be in the same position forever? I felt a little claustrophobic.

I was also concerned because I wanted to stay involved in my professional association duties, but there was less and less support for those types of activities (much less, for any additional types of professional development) due to the economy and I was taking on more and more expenses personally.

Then I began to hear from a variety of people about changes...mostly working for other organizations, but also to do this thing called "consulting"...which I dismissed at first. Sometimes after presentations people would come up to me and ask if I did consulting work on the side and I would take their cards and say, "No. But if you ever want to talk about [whatever subject I had just talked about] let me know!"

Who knew? Wish I'd kept their cards. ;-)

So here I am...a technology management consultant for DelCor. And what does that mean, exactly? Well, everyone told me it meant I was "going to the Dark Side" which is kind of a joke, but actually it feels like the world has opened up again. It means I can help the associations who are our clients leverage their use of social media successfully with their members. Not just one organization, but many! You can read more about my actual work here, but that is the gist of it.

So, association world, who is KiKi today and what does she stand for?

I help members connect and communities thrive online.

It has been over a month since I started at DelCor and I love it. The work I've done with the blog, presentations, and clients has been amazing. Within the past month I have given three presentations, written a lot of blog posts (I'm not pausing to count here), studied for and taken the CAE Exam (still waiting for the results!), and worked with a few clients. What I love about my job is there is an emphasis on learning and being a part of the community that I have grown so fond of. I'm also able to work on helping many different types of organizations solve the same types of problems I've worked on before.

So, have I gone to "the Dark Side?"  I've always looked good in black. ;-)


Will Change Change? by Ifedayo Oshin

What will happen to change?
Will change change as all things?
Or will it develop immunity
And embrace hypocrisy?
Will change resist change
And go against its doctrinaire?
Why, will change change not
Should nothing be permanent, even change?
Since change is also a thing.

Our world changes daily by seconds
Our lives in the roller-coaster of time
The noon gives way to the moon
The dawn turns dusk
At intersections of these:
One enters, another exits
One moans, another mourns
One rejoices, one regrets
In the spate and space of time;
A jungle becomes a haven
The oblivious became renowned
Riches become ruins
All on the altar of change

ifedayo oshin


  1. I'm not sure why people said you've "gone to the dark side." Consulting is a great profession, and I"m glad you're enjoying your new position. It sounds like a great fit for you, and I think there's a lot of opportunity for growth. The key is recognizing that you weren't able to reach your potential. Congratulations!

  2. Super post, KiKi. And a recognition that, as long as you're on the side of doing good, and helping others do good, that there is really no dark side. Consulting isn't, by nature, selfish, but quite the opposite.

    Social media and the new consumerism are said to be all about relationships. Consulting and "associating" have always been about relationships. In this fantastic new role, you're now able to help many, many organizations support those relationships more heartily.

    And that adds up to a lot of good.

  3. Kiki -

    Congratulations on following your passion! New pathways are challenging but invigorating and your voice would have been missed had you chosen to leave the nonprofit world for other pursuits.

    Glad you are staying engaged and thrilled you are excited about what the future holds. It will be great.


    PS - nice poem :D

  4. Connections are the heart of associations, so dark side or not it'll be at the core. Enjoy!


Thanks for your comments!