In that unique way that is characteristic of the true believers of the Social Media Rachel Happe, herself affected by the job crisis we all know about, is publishing a series of blog posts titled "The Deep Bench Series". These posts present profiles of people interconnected through Rachel that have been affected by the same crisis and, in her words, “… have a ton of experience in operational roles but also understand the new media and marketing worlds. This makes them rare and valuable given the direction business will need to go to keep up with changing expectations of communications and transparency.” I was published as profile # 1.
Doing my part I am re-publishing Profile # 2; Heather Strout. I don’t have the pleasure of knowing Heather personally but if Rachel trusts her I do as well, to see the original post for this profile go here.
The Strout name may ring bells for some of you in social media/enterprise community circles but you may or may not know that there are two heavy hitting Strouts out there. While Heather is a little less 'out there' than Aaron, she is equally experienced and has done some incredible work with customers to get them going in the right direction. She is dedicated and passionate and takes a true partnership approach to the companies with whom she has worked. I've heard many a customer rave about her and seen first hand how well she acts as a customer advocate - both fighting for them and often telling them what they needed to hear in a way they could appreciate it.
Here are her answers to my questions:
What part of the social web world are you most fascinated by and why?
I look forward to seeing the change in the way businesses are run by using social media, online communities and knowledge sharing. Using new tools to communicate to and with customers is a start but to see that bleed further into other areas of the organization such as customer service, R&D, knowledge sharing, innovation etc. is really what I’m looking forward to.
What are you passionate about and what motivates that passion?
I am passionate about helping people understand the value of social media in a way that affects how they think about personal and business relationships.
If you could construct your own job who would you be working with? For whom? On what problems?
I know that creating online communities can fundamentally change the way that companies do business, employees interact, and stakeholders find value in an organization. The challenge is that it’s difficult to get organizations to change. I’d love to help companies recognize the value and fundamentally change the way that their employees exchange information with each other, and with the company stakeholders.
Since you can't always make up a job that will support you - what are you looking for next?
I am interested in a job at a company that consults businesses in building social media strategy or a job where the hiring company is looking for someone to build a social media strategy and then execute on that strategy for their own organization.
What project/activity from past jobs gave you the most joy?
Seeing EDR’s commonground hit its stride in the summer of last year was really exciting. The employees that I worked with at EDR understood the affect the community could have on their business. I felt that they had poured their soul into the community, as I had. It was exciting to see all our hard work really come to fruition. I still visit the community on a regular basis and it’s really going gangbusters.
What non-work related activities make you the happiest?
I’m blessed with an extended family and all of them work really hard to stay connected. Being with them is awesome. Also, traveling is a huge passion of mine. Learning how other people live in other cultures and eating their food is something I’ll never get enough of.Sitting down to a meal with my husband is my daily joy.
What's your most amusing work-related story?
Sitting in a San Jose, CA motel parking lot and working through business strategy with Barry Libert. Driving with him is a hoot also. He always wanted to hire a driver or get in a taxi when we traveled for business together and I always insisted on renting a car and being the navigator. That was always exciting. He’s very enthusiastic. He’d be in the middle of a thought, and I’d be yelling, Left, here, now!
What are your thoughts about the US economy and what is going on?
It’s frustrating to lose your job but I’m hopeful that these difficult times bring individuals a deeper understanding of what’s important to them. I also hope it helps businesses shift to become more efficient, sustainable and valuable to employees and customers.
I think we’re going to see an uptick in jobs in social media in the next few months. I think our field can’t sustain this contraction and companies will start hiring in our field as well as in other white collar high-tech jobs.
Thank you to my family and friends who have been so supportive this past month. So many people have offered to help in a variety of ways. Everyone’s support has really helped me land on my feet and focus on my next move. I am confident that my next job will be a great fit for me and it will allow me to progress in my career.