When I started my very first business back in 1996 (as a freelance calligrapher/artist), I remember agonizing over what to call myself.
One of my specialties was making ketubot, or Jewish marriage contracts (the singular of the Hebrew word is ketubah), and I needed to come up with a business name to place a listing in the Jewish Bulletin Resource, an annual magazine of everything Jewish in the Bay Area.
My name isn’t one that people recognize as particularly “Jewish,” so I was afraid my potential clients would make assumptions about me, and look elsewhere for a vendor.
I created a business name that didn’t include my last name: Illuminations by Melissa
Did it make a difference? I’ll never know.
Eventually I changed that name to Ketubahworks (for my ketubah art), and Melissa Dinwiddie Designworks (for everything else).
Years later I shut down that business and pivoted to other endeavors entirely: first as a creativity instigator, then to start my consultancy, Creative Sandbox Solutions™.
What I do know is that the names and titles we give ourselves can have a big impact on how people see us.
Names are important.
For the past couple of years, since the shut-down initiated my pivot to helping companies with virtual trainings and events, I’ve been referring to myself as a “virtual experience designer,” but this label has been feeling more and more like an ill-fitting suit.
Or perhaps a better metaphor would be a single piece of clothing, masquerading as an entire suit! 😂
See, while it’s true that I do virtual experience design, that title doesn’t begin to encompass the entirety of what I bring to the table, even in the virtual space. So as a label, it feels constricting.
Because whether it’s designing a virtual off-site to change behavior…
Or strategizing how to create a scalable, live solution to onboard new customers…
Or advising on how to optimize, as well as emceeing a manager summit…
Or training teams how to lead more engaging virtual meetings…
What I really help companies with is creating highly effective learning experiences that fulfill their larger strategic goals.
All using (science-based) creativity and play.
So while virtual experience design is a big part of what I do, what I really am is a Creative Learning Strategist.
Why am I telling you all this?
I’ve been focused pretty intensely on virtual meetings for the past couple of years, and I wanted to let you know that you may notice a change going forward.
If you’re only interested in virtual meetings, you may wish to unsubscribe, because I’m going to be expanding my view to talk about learning and creativity — what I see that’s broken, and how things could be different… virtually, and beyond.
As a result of this expansion, the title of my LinkedIn newsletter is going to have to change.
Unsuck Your Virtual Meetings is a great title… for a Virtual Experience Designer who focuses pretty exclusively on virtual meetings.
Not so much for a Creative Learning Strategist, who does more than just virtual experience design, and talks about a wider range of topics.
So I’m in the market for a new name (yet again), and I’d love to get your opinion!
I’ll be putting up a poll on LinkedIn tomorrow, so watch for it, and make sure to vote.
And in the meantime, hit reply if you have a name suggestion!
Here’s to more creative — and fun — learning experiences.
If you’d like to experience some brain-friendly exercises that activate learning while building connection, come to my next Non-Boring Virtual Meetings Learning Lab.
Interested to learn more? Message me to chat about how I can use my signature system to help your employees infuse connection, joy and delight into virtual meetings, trainings and events at your workplace.
And be sure to subscribe to my newsletter by filling out the form below.