COM0014 – Blog #5 – Personal Brand – Herding Kittens

An ability to make sense out of chaos is my unique contribution.  This is what I refer to when I use the term “herding kittens”. What I mean by that, and what I am most proud of, is being able to take information from a number of sources, ensure each individual feels heard, then prepare a plan that invites consensus (granted, kittens probably never reach consensus no matter how much you invite them, but you can get them herded into a room if you really try hard!). 

I’ve worked in major festivals and events management for over 25 years and this ability works especially well in this industry as there are so many stakeholders, each with their own agenda.

What are some personal qualities or characteristics that set you apart from your competitors?

What makes me stand out is that I:  

  • think in big picture and small picture at the same time
  • can calmly prioritize next steps
  • perform well under immense pressure
  • can communicate effectively even during a crisis
  • have a sense of humour

What have you done lately to make yourself stand out?

Not event related, but similar in that it included many stakeholders: I worked on a project to create a central intake and referral system for a chronic illness. There were six organizations that had to work together on this and although they agreed that a central system would be good, they each had their own individual quotas for clients. I listened so I could understand their fears. I worked with them on a system that they were all ready to back, even though their individual client numbers may decrease in the short term. And we collaborated on a proposal to the Ontario Ministry to change the way they reported to reflect the new system.

A win for them and a win for clients across Ottawa.

What would your colleagues say is your best trait?

Event organizers have told me that my ability to sort things out quickly while not alienating anyone is the aspect they appreciate the most about me as a professional.

In case you want to see herding cats in action, there is a great TV commercial created by EDS called “Cat Herders“.

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