Fresh Post & a Fresh Start for 2012

The last few months have been super eventful and way cool and may partially explain the lack of posts of late.  I relocated with my family to sunny Santa Cruz, California and resumed my consulting practice here.  I've always been a beachy person and we love it, to say the least. Fall is a beautiful time here. We had unseasonably warm weather, bringing the sardenes -- and the whales in within 1/5 of a mile out! I have watched them breach and flip and tail slap -- along with dolphins, seals, otters and sea birds to my heart's content.

I spent Christmas day on the beach with my family - built a bonfire, set free a floating lantern....and chuckled with glee over not having to blow snow this year!  Yes, we'll take sand over snow, thanks!

We have always loved this area -- and it's not just because of the beauty or weather - the business atmosphere, culture and people are such a draw!  Living in the bay area, I am now closer to many of the smart people I have worked alongside for years. This includes my friends at gotomedia, an outstanding digital experience company founded by my good friend, Kelly Goto.  Kelly and I have worked together in a variety of capacities for over 15 year.  Now, we get to raise our kids together.  #Awesome.

Beyond packing/unpacking and selling/renting houses and doing my normal strategy/design work for clients over the past months, Kelly invited me to facilitate a design thinking workshop she hosted for the Tofu Project in November (photo below).  It was awesome... and the subject of a later post!  I also keyed up three new projects in addition to lining up some very cool SXSW 2012 activities for the spring, which I'll be sure to share about later.

In my spare time, I have been working on a personal venture and trying to support my husband in a new venture of his own.  I was also featured a few times in a new book on Customer Experience management! In those spare moments, I bone up on social neurology and neuromarketing with a keen interest on their implications to customer experience design (embracing my inner geek).  I'm also trying hard to attain a greater level of focus as I attempt to balance everything on my plate.

Ben Franklin once wrote "Never confusion motion with progress."  Words to live by!

In 2011, it was refreshing to attract new business in addition to maintaining relationships my own, amazing clients.  I realized this year that not only have 100% of these clients have come through word of mouth, the majority have been clients for over 3 years This also makes many of them friends.  This feels like success to me.  

I'm very thankful for The IEEE and IEEE Standards Association, Marketing Profs, RightNow Technologiesgotomedia and others I cannot mention.  I'm proud of the work we've done together:
  • Conducting outstanding analysis and developing informed, people-centric, strategic direction
  • Driving meaningful shifts and change (operational, cultural, technological)
  • Creating connections that drive networking, growth and success
  • Joining together to help people in need
  • Delivering people friendly experiences that secure bottom line results
It's also been a pleasure to see so many friends and/or consorts achieve so many amazing personal and professional accomplishments this year... people like Jeff Widman, Carla White, Shelley Ryan, Jason Hungerford Valeria MaltoniBeth Harte, Ann Handley, Kellye Crane, Ekaterina Walter, Becky Carroll, Jason Falls and Rob Wu (an honor to work with you on SXSW4Japan), Mack Collier, Lauren Vargas, Christina Kerley and many others.  Further -- a hat tips and props to all the Daisies and MSVP's -- you know who you are. ;-)

I also met so many new folks his year - several highlights include Ken Lingad (smart, beautiful soul!) Nancy Duarte (positively inspiring), Sunni Brown (talented super coolness), Hugh Forrest (standup guy), Esteban Contreras (bright, talented, humble & faithful) Natalie Petouhoff (determined, strong, brilliant, unflappable) and Christopher Barger (Intelligent, humble, approachable, honest, asset) and Dean Kamen (luminary, genius, innovative, unpretentious, hero).

In short, I count my blessings to be surrounded by some of the most brilliant, talented, plain speaking, innovative, cool and non-pretentious people in the world.  Thanks for your support, readership, tweets, likes, hugs, props, butt-kicks, brain hockey, silliness, jokes, intense conversations, sarcasm, meaningful chats, pokes and comments. 

What's next?  Well, all I can say right now is this:  In 2012, I intend to better #OCCUPY my faith, family, friends and profession.   Further, in defiance of all a admonishments that tell me what I must do for the attention of the search engines, "klout" and/or to attain the adulation of the social web, my implicit objective for this year is to say more by doing more great, meaningful and honest things.  Hopefully, I won't disappoint anyone and manage to focus on what really matters!

Wishing all of you a truly successful 2012.  May you break through the forces of inertia with great determination as you move closer to your potential and purpose!  

- Leigh

Top photo - Christmas on Seabright Beach, Christmas Day 2011.




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I’m Leigh Durst, a 20 year veteran in business, operations, customer strategy, ecommerce, digital & social media and marketing. Simply put, I’m a strategist that helps companies (start-up to blue chip) achieve business shift, create more compelling online and offline experiences. I also write, speak and teach about experience design and next-generation business. I’m a futurist, visionary, strategist, doer and connector with a passion for people and helping others. When I’m not on the road, you’ll find me in the San Francisco bay area, working, beaching it and hanging out with my family and dog.


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