What I do

I help small and complex organizations tackle tough challenges, and I love the process. I believe that process matters most, and my understanding of complex organizations–and the unique pressures they face–can help them succeed where others have failed. IMG_publicspeaking_djHow can I help? My core competencies include leadership, brand strategy, strategic communication, market research and public speaking, and I’ve had the opportunity to help a variety of organizations, including:

  • Universities, colleges and schools
  • Alumni and advancement organizations
  • Athletic letterwinner associations
  • Chambers of commerce and CVBs
  • Non-profit organizations



I’ve been fortunate to be able to assist the leaders of both small and large organizations in defining and articulating a clear mission, vision statement and core set of values. In higher education, I’ve led the integrated marketing and visual identity projects for the University of Kansas, and I helped the KU Alumni Association define its mission, vision and values, working with staff, volunteers and the board of directors.  When called upon by friends and colleagues, I’ve enjoyed advising peer universities, associations and athletic letterwinner organizations through similar processes, identifying challenges specific to their context, and applying leadership principles to advance their goals. These include many of the same leadership principles I’ve taught to KU students in the leadership minor for the past ten years.  Services include:

  • Mission/vision/values definition
  • Strategic planning
  • Organizational development
  • Facilitation


Brand Strategy

I’m a BIG believer in brands, and while I did lead KU’s visual identity project and authored its first set of graphic identity standards, I believe a brand is much more than a logo. My simple definition is this: A brand is the sum total of experiences your audience associates with your product or organization. Although your audience can best tell you what defines your brand, organizations can increase the value of their brand by aligning the best expectations of their audiences with what they can reliably deliver. I can help with the following:

  • Brand audit
  • Market research
  • Logo development
  • Brand identity standards
  • Brand awareness campaign development


Strategic Communication

After teaching in KU’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, I’ve learned a thing or two. With any luck, so have my students. From message development to strategic campaigns (the capstone course for strategic communication majors) I’ve taught every aspect of communication–across all media–for the next generation of communicators. How can you get your message across in ways that break through the clutter? Here’s what I’d say:

  • Digital media strategy
  • Social media
  • Content management
  • Key Messages and talking points
  • Crisis communication planning


Market Research

I love data. It’s sad, but true. And I especially love uncovering the meaning behind the data. Part art, part science, research is ultimately about better understanding what motivates the attitudes and behaviors of your audience. Strongly agree? Check all that apply:

  • Situation analysis
  • Survey instrument development
  • Survey construction and execution
  • Focus group facilitation
  • Analysis and reporting


Public Speaking

A few years ago, I was invited to give a high school commencement address. It was a humbling and rewarding experience, and I relished my role. I enjoyed challenging the graduating students in the audience to make the most of their opportunities and embrace “what’s next.” I’ve since had the opportunity to speak in front of thousands of students and present at higher education professional development conferences across the country. If my message resonates, it’s because I tend to speak from the heart, I enjoy it and it must show. Need a speaker? Say no more.

  • Keynote addresses
  • Professional conferences
  • Commencement ceremonies
  • Team-building events