on life, ambitions, and dreams


Posts Tagged ‘professional’

Building My Brand: Laura’s Next Chapter

What is one thing that, LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Twitter have in common? It’s that all four of those sites were designed to tell other people about you. does it in a brief biography and by connecting all of your other personas around the web in one place. LinkedIn is tells your professional story. Facebook has an ‘info’ tab as well as the story of your likes, friends, and activity. And Twitter does this in the 160-character bio and through every single thing that you tweet.

All four of those sites were designed to tell others who you are and determine which box to put you into.

Up until last week, most people knew me as a nonprofit marketing girl. And before that I was a book-publishing girl. But I was never okay with that title either and that’s because in all of these cases, both labels only described one facet of my life and answered one question that people would ask of me, and that is: “What do you do?”

We are more than what our job titles and our job descriptions define us to be. And titles are kind of outdated anyway. It’s not so much who we are, but what we do that matters. As a good friend once said, it’s not how you begin or end a story, but what happens along the way that matters.

Find the common thread in your brand

You are not your job title and you are not your career. But you are the person who does incredible work within the functions and responsibilities of your job.

Whenever I advise people who are unhappy with their job, but don’t know what they want to do next, I ask them to write a list of all the projects they worked on in the past and especially the ones that they felt the most empowered and successful doing. From there, we’ll be able to see the common thread that connects their past positions and recommend the step they should take in the future.

I have had a professional background that covers a lot of job industries and backgrounds, but there’s one thing that’s in common in every single position that I’ve held. In each position where I was the most successful, it was at a startup or a new company that allowed me to build things. It was usually a marketing communications role (either officially or not) that was never filled by anyone else before. I had big goals to fulfill and it was up to me to figure out how to get there.

In the simplest words – I build things for a living.

I helped build Wordstock, Jolkona, and this blog. This is what I love doing. And that is why when I was given the incredible opportunity to help build another company, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Time to put on my Scrappy Face

Scrappy Face's Scrappy Dachshunds

Starting today, I am joining Scrappy Face, a small business consulting firm that is launching soon. My official title is social media strategy and community manager, but what’s more exciting is with this opportunity I will:

Build – their brand, their community, and their service offerings. I’ll be leading social media strategy for Scrappy Face and for their clients, product and service development, and another cool, super secret project.

Be a part of a company on a mission – Scrappy Face was born out of heart. It was created to help the dreamers and risk takers move from overwhelming stages of paralysis to action. Scrappy Face was designed, as the banner on their website says, to help “a person who is little but can really kick [butt].”

Continue to be an entrepreneur in training – three weeks ago I came out as an entrepreneur in training, and while I am not the founder or owner of Scrappy Face, my position on the ground floor of this firm will allow me to learn the skills I will need to launch my own business when the time is right.

Learn – from an amazing founder and CEO, clients, and community of thinkers, builders, and do-ers who are bootstrapping, self-funding, and side hustling to make their dreams happen.

Scrappy Face logoToday, I’m excited to put on my Scrappy Face and I hope you will too. Join us on Facebook and follow us Twitter, you don’t want to miss this.

For more about the journey that’s ahead, read this post from the founder and CEO of Scrappy Face, Kate Walling: Claiming Scrappy Face: The Story of Launching My Second Startup.

Sunday Serial: 6 Blog Posts to Start your Week off Right

First off, I want to thank each and every one of you for stopping by and reading this blog. I’m lucky to be a writer who blogs because unlike writers of fiction and epic novels that are published in a static journal or book, you and I get to speak to each other if we want to. I get to share my thoughts and perspective with you, and you, if you choose, get to share yours. No writer has ever had this direct-line to his or her readers before.

For that, I want to thank you.

6 Blog Posts to Start Your Week off Right

Paper, boy

It has been an enormous week and I’ve spent most of the weekend with my head down, recovering. And while I’m really getting into the flow of writing and blogging once a day, I want to take some time to share. So allow me to introduce the Sunday Serial, a weekly installment of the top blogs, articles, and essays that I read over the past week. Enjoy! (more…)

Every Ending is a New Beginning

Today is my last day as a full-time employee and the Director of Communications & Social Media at Jolkona. This is a hard post to write because, while this departure was my choice and I’m very excited for what’s next, it’s hard to say goodbye to an organization I worked so hard to build.

From Volunteer to Director


When I started at Jolkona, it was as a volunteer to run their social media. I remember my interview with Adnan Mahmud, their co-founder of Jolkona. It was probably one of the most rigorous interviews I had ever been on – and it was for an unpaid position. It was a challenge because I was selling him on my social media skills that had only been tested on my personal brand, but not on a business or a nonprofit. But I knew what I was doing. And I told him that I would figure it out and deliver.

I got the position (obviously), and my first assignment was to write the social media strategy for the organization for the entire year and present it at the leadership retreat that following weekend with all of the directors of the organization.

I won’t go into the nitty-gritty details, but that weekend as I sat around a boardroom with the other volunteer-directors of the organization – still not knowing what I was getting myself into – I knew I was sitting in a room with some of the most ambitious and passionate people than I’ve ever had the chance to work with before.

And I was right.

Throughout that year I learned, first hand, how to build a community online, launch a fundraising campaign solely by promoting it through social media, manage a communications and marketing team, land my first speaking engagement, and make a name for myself in the nonprofit scene.

And I was ‘just’ a volunteer.

I volunteered with Jolkona to help me build the experience to land me my next job; I just had no idea that at the beginning of 2011, Jolkona would be the position that I was looking for.

Almost 2 Years, 1,500 fans, and 3,000 followers later

The part that I have enjoyed the most about my role with Jolkona was the process of building their strategy, brand, and community online to the point where they are today. When I started, Jolkona had 805 Fans on Facebook and 1,028 followers on Twitter. Today, they have increased their fans by 90% with over 1,500 Likers on Facebook and have over 3,000 followers on Twitter (+195%). Not bad numbers for an organic following. And as of today, Jolkona has published 200 blog posts, and 15 newsletters – not bad for a scrappy nonprofit startup with extremely limited resources.

@NickKristof Jolkona tweet

The best part about my role at Jolkona was creating campaigns and partnering with some incredible businesses like Waggener Edstrom, CRAVE, thinkspace, and Bill the Butcher. I got to plan the branding, creative, launch strategy, and marketing elements of each campaign – oh, and launch each one. It’s an awesome feeling to work really hard and really long on a campaign and watch how people respond in real-time via social media. Not to mention donations.

There are three campaigns that I’m the most proud of:

Give to Girls: Invest in the Women of Tomorrow by Giving to Girls Today – Which launched on the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day and was sponsored by CRAVE. This campaign had a modest matching fund to help launch it and after one-day raised $6,000 for projects supporting women and girls through Jolkona and is the highest single-day of fundraising to date.

12 Days of Giving – Last year’s holiday campaign where 12 different campaigns launched by 12 different members of the Jolkona team were ‘unwrapped’ over 12 days in December. This campaign was 100% my idea and one of my favorite efforts, not because I learned first-hand how hard it is to fundraise, but because I designed, built, and rallied the team throughout this campaign and watched when people not-related to any of the 12 Days campaign owners left messages on Jolkona’s Facebook page and tweeted at Jolkona that they were so inspired by the campaign that they decided to donate. That’s why.

12 Days of Giving-donor testimonial on Facebook

Jolkona’s Groupon Campaign – At SXSW 2011 I met with Groupon’s G-Team and learned about how they’re leveraging their platform for good. In July we launched a campaign with G-Team and over the course of 3-days, we ignited our following and raised $5,380 in about $10-increments (total includes the contribution from our matching sponsor). Oh, and it landed Jolkona in the ‘cool’ book and this awesome blog post written by Debra Askanse: Groupon Case Study: Jolkona’s Groupon Experiment.

Eat Local, Give Global – This last campaign that I designed with Bill the Butcher and launched only yesterday. This campaign came out of something that I love doing, networking, and I’m excited to see how well it does from now through the end of the year!

During my time at Jolkona, I helped raise over $45,000 in micro-donations during nine giving campaigns that were marketed through social media alone. My work landed me the following press:

Over the past two years I have learned a lot about myself and grown by leaps and bounds as a marketing communications professional.

What I am thankful for the most

Jolkona Floor Brainstorm

Branding brainstorm on the floor (with Ariel Gold and Nadia Mahmud)

Beyond the work itself, the part I enjoyed the most was the people. I am thankful to Jolkona’s co-founders, Nadia Khawaja Mahmud and Adnan Mahmud, for their trust and the opportunity to develop Jolkona into one of the most socially-media savvy nonprofits in Seattle. They set the strategic goals for the organization, and gave me the opportunity to figure out how to get there. Along the way I grew by leaps and bounds as a communications professional and as an individual. I got to develop and launch creative, marketing and fundraising campaigns; work with some amazing corporate partners; and talk to people, all day, through social media. For that I am forever thankful.

One of the thing I enjoyed the most is the team at Jolkona – the young 20- and 30-somethings who spend their free time working to build Jolkona and lending their skills are just amazing. And our interns, the sugar-crazed awesome interns who have taught me a lot about being a manager – I’m definitely going to miss them.

It’s been an incredible two years at Jolkona and I’m thankful for the opportunity to work hard and prove myself while building their brand. And I have been given the opportunity to join another startup and build again. I’ll go into more details about my new role with my new company on Monday, but for now I want to sit and reflect on the end of my era with Jolkona.

You never stop writing the book of your life; you just start a new chapter.

Social by Design

Laura Kimball LinkedIn Maps
The more immersed I am professionally and personally in social media, the less I self-identify as a social media professional. It’s interesting because when I left my last job in the book world, I advertised that I was “social media curious” and was aching to do something in that space. I had no idea what that would look like, but I knew that I needed to be there.

Fast forward to now. You all know that my major concentration at Jolkona is social media—it’s so core to my position that it’s 50% of my title. But social media is also part of my “non work” life. You can see an example of that right here on my blog and how you can always find me on Twitter.

So here I am, sitting on the top of my social media empire. Someone who learned the skills and is making an impact in the space, and yet I don’t want to self-identify* as just a social media person.

Why? Because social media is a tool—a channel, a platform. What is more important than the tools you use is what you do with them.

Here’s what I do through the content that I write and share across social media channels, personal and professional: I promote, I market, I provide customer service; I connect, I network, I build relationships; and I show up virtually and in-real-life. More importantly: I write, I edit, and I share. All the time.

Social is inherently social

Last night I started reading The Dragonfly Effect by Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith. I barely read through the introduction before the authors blew my mind with this quote on page xiv:

It is clear from our research that, in contrast to what you may think, promoting a personal goal is inherently social. To be successful, you must translate your passion into a powerful story and tell it in a way that generates “contagious energy,” so that your audience reflects on your tweet, blog post, or email, long after they leave their computers.

Read between the lines: your audience is your friends on Facebook/Twitter/YouTube/the-next-great-social-network, etc. and your friends in real life.

Remember the giving campaign I launched back in December? Through the help of you, my readers, and my friends across Twitter, Facebook, and real life, we blasted through that goal in 3 weeks and EXCEEDED the goal by supporting 6 moms and newborns in India. (My goal was to only support 5 mothers and newborns–which reminds me, I will write a blog post to recap that soon.) Yes, I could have reached that goal by promoting my campaign offline, and if doing so, I would have used the same strategy and techniques to promote it that I did online.

Social starts with you

One of the best pieces of advice that I received during my first internship is that everyone has to learn how to market themselves. (Thank you, LRC.)

You are the only person who knows what you’re passionate about, who can help you reach your goals, when to approach them, and how to deliver the message. You know what your motivations are and what the motivations are of others that will help turn a conversation over coffee into action.

But you have to start with knowing who you are and socialize from there.

Everyone can be is his or her own advocate and social media is another medium that can help amplify your message.

Questions for you:

If you work in the social media space, do you self-identify as a social media professional?

Or, if you use social media in your personal life, what role does it play? Do you even know why you have a Facebook profile or are on Twitter?

*How do I self-identify or brand myself? Check out the bio.