My unique path to sustainability leadership development was through marketing to women. Gender has long been the “lens” through which I write, Tweet and comment on what I see happening in today’s business world. That gender lens also influences my methods for social media engagement (relationship building, communications, long-term investment) as key tool for digital platform building. It all started with the work and research I did as a co-author of Don’t Think Pink (2004) – a book about how women make decisions as consumers. My 2011 piece for The Solutions Journal, Gender and the Sustainable Brain , maps what I see as the marketing to women and sustainability leadership connection – and why it matters. My leadership development work and writing now focus on the big thinkers and doers in corporate and startup, climate action innovation.
Having chosen to live in places like Portland, OR; Bellingham, WA; Burlington, VT; and now, lovely Seattle, WA, it became clear that I was driven by the desire to be in and around people thinking about sustainable business and corporate social responsibility. As the tech entrepreneurs say, I “pivoted” from marketing to women into this specialty in 2008, leveraging my writing and social networks to dig in. Whether writing or doing communications consulting, I look for counterintuitive angles, big picture trends to connect with and interesting voices, as yet unheard – for the purposes of corporate brand and thought leadership development.
Building social capital is how you create change and amplify impact. I have been blown away by how I’ve seen this to be true through networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ (for now) and absolutely love to help clients gain from real engagement and investment in the relationship building process. Whether with a sustainability/CSR focus or not, there is incredible power in building community, sharing appreciation of the great wisdom, research and innovation already out there… and connecting with an audience around your own thought leadership along the way. None of what I advise is a hard sell – as that is not an authentic way to make human connection. Instead, social engagement prepares the ground or fortifies the foundation from which leaders can contribute and interact with broader ideas and new audiences. But, you have to dive into the practice of being “social” in a way that works for you. Helping you or your small team figure that out is my goal.