While my target clients are mission-based businesses, artists and healers, I make exceptions for friends. In this case, the friend happens also to be family – my dad, actually. If my dad weren't also the nicest, most generous person I know, he'd be daunting to have as a father: a Naval Academy graduate and Rhode Scholar, former McKinsey consultant, former VIP of Bath Iron Works, now independent corporate strategy consultant with 30 years of clients under his belt. My dad has hobnobbed with the brightest and the best, but has chosen a relatively humble path working with mid-sized businesses looking to achieve growth. He also chose to move out of the intensity of Washington DC (where I was born) at the peak of his career to choose a more meaningful existence in his home state of Maine (where I grew up).
Growing up with a "Strategy Consultant" as a father, I never knew how to describe what he did to my friends. I usually said, "He helps businesses do stuff," but couldn't explain to them what, exactly, he helped them do. It was not until a few short years ago that I finally understood what he does, because I saw it firsthand, working alongside him for a few months in an assistant consulting role.
What's quite amazing about that occurrence is that I had disparaged corporate work for the better part of my life (something I think my dad took a bit personally). But I had a change of heart after attending a Green MBA program that made me appreciate the corporate world a bit more. At about the time I was graduating, he was in business growth phase and wanted some assistance running his strategy workshops. I accepted his offer, and am glad I did: the work was incredibly rewarding, and I got to see my father in his element. And now I finally can speak with confidence to what he does for a living.
To revise my childhood statement: my dad is a facilitator and confidence-builder for management teams of businesses in a transition point. Among other qualities, he is deeply gifted in the art of helping organizations see their real goals more clearly, enabling them to take calculated risks to achieve those goals.
In other words, my father is a life coach at an organizational level. Not that different from what I do, come to think of it -- I just do it for individuals (at the moment).
Circling back to the original theme of this post: brand refreshment. I'd designed my father's consulting site, oh gosh, maybe 15 years ago when I was first starting to work with open source content management systems. It was built in (now defunct) Joomla 1.0, and I'd kept it operational over the years as he didn't see the need for anything new. Well, I finally decided to redo it to match both updated technology and an updated take on his business. As he's no longer taking on new clients, it seemed apt to speak to what he does while also alluding to where he comes from (all the photography comes from Portland Headlight, the icon lighthouse just down the road from where he grew up in Cape Elizabeth, Maine). I also created a more versatile, mobile-friendly layout of his blog posts, so that his distribution list would have an easier time of reading his (almost) monthly dispatches.
It was, in short, a labor of love.
After I was finished and showed it to him, he was pleased, and had the smallest number of edits I've ever gotten from a client (he asked me to add a sentence to his bio page). And then we went live! It was that easy. It was such a pleasant experience of work, I set an intention that all my client site builds will henceforth be that way: effortless, fun, a joy in the making. So mote it be!