I began my career in graduate school training in the primary skills of an academic researcher in the field of child and family development: conduct research, write it up, and publish. (As you may know, this last one was very important for an academic career.)
- Research – design studies that measure phenomena; then collect data and conduct analyses to derive useful information. Research – check! Love it!
- Write – organize complex information into a logical flow and draw meaningful conclusions. Writing – check! Could do this all day!
- Publish – generate articles (as many as you can) so that they fill the journals. Publish… Um… Do not love it! Oh no!
Throughout graduate school, as I was realizing that publishing was not working for me, I was struggling with a question. This question came up often when my peers and professors discussed the research they were doing. The question dealt with how the research would be used to make an impact on people’s lives. I asked it sincerely and with urgency, but the answers were never satisfying. Here’s how that went:
Them: This is the research we conducted, and this is what we found: children in X situation can be helped by doing Y.
Me: Wow. That’s really interesting. What are you going to do about it?
Them: We’re going to write it up and publish it.
Me: Yes, but with what you’ve learned, what are you going to implement that can help people?
Them: Well, I will do more research to get more data, and then I will publish another article.
Me: “No, how will you take that information and use it to make an impact on…? Oh wait …. I see.”
It finally hit me. The publications were what they were doing. They were contributing to the body of scientific information, a noble and valuable pursuit. It clearly was not the one for me. Thankfully, I realized that my question was telling me what really mattered to me.
My question contained the answer I needed to set my career on the right path. Studying and publishing alone were too far removed for me. I am driven to go get things done, specifically to create change that improves people’s lives and to design systems to serve people better. My path turned from academics to public service.
I found great meaning and fulfillment in the 18 years I spent working in public health. Over that time, I designed and led projects, large and small, that changed systems, redesigned organizations, and improved operations. I spent the last decade facilitating executive-level strategic planning, overseeing successful implementation of executive priority projects, and troubleshooting “situations.” Throughout these experiences, I worked with talented and dedicated people to manage changes, both large and small. These experiences were invaluable opportunities for me to serve, to learn, and to grow.
And then, life handed me some changes. (After all, change is like death and taxes, it’s inevitable, and it affects everyone.) So, what am I going to go do about it?
In 2018, I’m beginning a new phase of my career and launching a new business as a consultant, but I continue to be passionate about getting things done.
- Now, I stand side-by-side with clients to create actionable plans that achieve goals and design thoughtful solutions to problems.
- My focus is on facilitating processes that allow clients to manage any change with confidence and on designing systems and tools that serve people and business outcomes better.
Please visit my website and explore the services I offer. www.drdukeconsulting.com
Dr. Duke Consulting, LLC… helping you successfully move through change, solve problems, and improve outcomes.