A Standout Second Quarter

It’s safe to conclude that when a client “wins,” we win too. In the spirit of transparency, let’s look at where those win were for second quarter. And a few near losses, too.

ECOLAB – Last December, Ecolab, a St. Paul, based international company that focuses on supporting the energy and hospitality sectors, launched a mini-TED like event called “StratChats” to launch their Strategy2020 more broadly into the company. It was so successful, they hosted a second round at the end of June.

The standout story: A speaker from their first event introduced a difficult topic of Implicit Bias, which previously hadn’t taken any official institutional foothold in their training or culture practices. This speaker’s 10-minute talk was incredibly difficult to organize. But she did it with extreme grace and rigorous practice. It has now launched a company-wide focus within their Diversity and Inclusion programming, including small and large training offerings and most importantly, a culture that embraces it as a necessary point of conversation in order to have a safe, holistic and embracing culture.

Our role as speaker coaches to the six speakers on stage in June and also last December provided them confidence that we could support and encourage their busy executives to dedicate the time and practice to pull off some truly resonating talks.

TEDxChicago – Their first event in many years, now with new organizers, also took place last year in November. Ambitious to try another, they launched into a second event that took place in early June. As their speaker coaches, we worked with 10 speakers who were at the widest variety of skill and interest of being coached.

The standout story: One speaker refused coaching after trying to be coached for two calls. He told us “I’m good,” and he didn’t need to review the content or talk with the organizers. Despite several attempts to convince him otherwise, he still eschewed all attempts. At rehearsal the day before the event, he was instructed to cut at least eight minutes from his talk that night and during the event, one of the event producers nudged his talk along when it was getting too wordy by advancing his slides more quickly for him. The lesson learned: pay now or pay later. Had he accepted the coaching to reduce his talk from 20 minutes to 12, he wouldn’t have had the 11th hour changes. His argument was that he gives the talk all over the world (and paid for it) – he felt comfortable and knew his content. While that was true, he didn’t factor in that the event was NOT his and organizers and producers are ultimately responsible for the show’s production; he obviously didn’t appreciate this (or that there were other speakers also held to the same time limit) when he declined coaching.

In other news, we saw some talks absolutely go from chaos to shining stars as they invested the time and preparation required to nail a short talk.

FORD – Three years ago, Ford, the 7th largest company in America, started an ambitious agenda to have data and analytics drive their business decisions and practices. Assembling existing scientists and aggressively hiring new ones, they now have over 1,000 associates in their Global Data Insights and Analytics group. Through a serendipitously wonderful meeting at the Women In Analytics conference earlier this year, Articulation subsequently became engaged to help all 26 presenters at the GDIA conference structure and deliver their talks.

The standout story: We watched all of the associates struggle off and on with how to organize their content. But ALL of them did a spectacular job of accepting a new manner of storytelling – one that ‘sells the Teddy Bear, not the stuffing.” In fact, this metaphor was a closing comment in the last keynote presentation, and the speaker, with the support of the head of GDIA, Paul Ballew, actually threw teddy bears into the audience. The point being: No longer can we just  demonstrate our data expertise, we have to tell you why you should care about the data and present it in a complete image with emotion. Just like you might if you were hugging a teddy bear. We concluded the day with one of the speakers accusing us of being “disruptors.” Indeed. We took his reflection as the highest compliment.

NATIONWIDE CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL DISCOVERY X TALKS – For the third year, we partnered with the Research Institute team to help produce their DiscoveryX event, showcasing insights from across NCH’s campus. Nine speakers took the stage and were followed by a showing of Tamekia Smith’s TED talk (see this blog for background).

The standout story: For Articulation, the success comes in several ways, but mainly through how a speaker develops and delivers. Undoubtedly, we will be talking about Jamie Walsh in the months and years to come. Suffice to say, she makes our top FIVE list of most riveting personal stories we’ve had the privilege of coaching, especially since she had never publicly shared it before. It isn’t our story to share, so check back for the link here (or another blog post, likely) when it’s posted to read it yourself. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house as the audience members leapt to their feet to offer her their only standing ovation. MIC DROP.

WEXNER MEDICAL CENTER AT THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY – In the sixth installment of WexMedLive, an event showcasing four outstanding medical clinicians / researchers, took place at the Ohio Union in front of an audience of nearly 500 donors.

The standout story: Their attendees ranked at 97% on their NPS post-event survey. If you know anything about how hard it is to get that high of a result, you’ll understand what an achievement this is. The event was more than just the talks. They showcased researchers at a reception afterwards where you could touch a brain and eat uniquely constructed foods (definitely not the other way around). But as a contributing partner, we’re thrilled WML garnered such a positive response. It’s hard to do much better than this.

MASTERMINDS at THE OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY – A separate event hosted by Provost Bruce McPheron, another FOUR endowed chairs were invited to speak and coached by Articulation for an audience of major donors.

The standout story: The talks were so well received, WOSU-TV has edited them for broadcast on Tuesday, August 14 at 9 p.m. on WOSUohio and will stream on their website.

KEYHOLDER – For the Women’s Fund Annual Keyholder Event, we were delighted to support three of their key speakers with coaching before the event. This demonstrates our ongoing commitment to supporting causes that empower women and girls to find their voices and tell their stories.

TRAINING – Our training classes took us to Cardinal Health, Nationwide Insurance, Express, OSU’s Center for Clinical and Translational Science, and OSU’s Research Commons

ACCOLADES – A few recognitions along the way in second quarter, too. Smart  Business Magazine recognized our founder, Ruth Milligan, twice this spring. In April, Ruth was named a Progressive Entrepreneur Award Honoree at the Smart Women Awards program. You can read about Ruth and her fellow honorees here. Last month, she was acknowledged again as part of the Columbus Smart 50.  The Smart 50 Awards recognize the top executives of the 50 smartest companies in the region for their ability to effectively build and lead successful organizations. All the Smart 50 honorees are profiled here.

Ruth also was the guest at the June Startup Grind. You can watch the video now.

We are kicking off cohorts at DSW, NetJets, another Masterminds with OSU and maybe… one with your organization or company? Make sure to reach out for even just a brainstorm if you’d like to design an experience similar to the ones we’ve chronicled here.