To continue my intermittent series on professional nicknames that have helped me to better understand my personal "brand," consider the following scenario and how it gave rise to yet another professional nickname.
I was a communications consultant for a mid-size non-profit AIDS organization in the early 2000s. They served a specific LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) population, and by virtue of their mission inclusivity was fundamental to every aspect of their work. That meant great effort was taken to ensure that everyone had a voice in matters large and small--including some of the work product I was responsible for producing.
This emphasis on inclusiveness meant that producing documents representing the agency took more time and effort than at other organizations. I needed to both encourage participation and move the process along, lest what I was responsible for not get done.
And things did get done--specifically, the agency's first brochure and annual report. I had to counter my own sense of urgency (and impatience) with every ounce of dedication I felt to this organization and its mission. I was delighted that we were able to complete the projects, on time and under budget. But I was even more delighted with the feedback I received from the then Executive Director at a midpoint in the process.
"Mitchell, you really understand us. You've taken great pains to solicit input on your projects, while at the same time staying on us to meet deadlines imposed by our funder. You've done so with a deft touch. You're the velvet whip."
The velvet whip, indeed. I'm someone who can get things done with a persistent but gentle touch. And so you understand yet another nickname that highlights an aspect of my personal "brand."
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