By way of introduction…
Aren’t we all trying to find our place in this world? When I was a major-hopping undergraduate, I was fortunate to receive some sage advice: “Do something you enjoy!” This advice came at just the right time and from just the right person. That next semester I changed my major to geography, started getting straight A’s, and have loved every step of the way.
My first geography course was an introduction to GIS class. Something clicked and I knew I would be one of the 30% of college graduates that actually work in the field of their degree (citation needed). I graduated from one of just a hand-full of universities that offered a degree specifically in GIS at the time. Oh, and the person that gave my that sage advice…I married her!
And thus began my quest to “rule” the world in an exciting GIS career. My job experience has helped direct my focus at various times, but more accurately my early career helped me perfect my “GIS ADD” (attention deficit disorder). As a consultant, I thrived on the exposure to a wide variety of problem-solution projects in many applicable industries. Working for a multi-discipline consulting firm in a role wearing many hats of increasing responsibility provided the context I needed to grow.
My first point of import is in the art of geographic data visualization. People are naturally drawn to maps. There is a power in visualizing data geographically that transcends language or numbers. Geographic context intuitively reveals relationships and patterns that would otherwise go unnoticed. It provides deeper insight into data to answer the “how” and “why” questions by first tackling the “where” questions. My fifteen-year career has flourished under this mantra.
My second point of import is in the skill of applying the relevant geographic context to the question at hand to make better decisions. It became clear to me that to continue my growth, I needed to improve my expertise in business development. Of the many hats I wore, my ability to match technical solutions to people problems helped me excel at networking, capturing needs requirements, responding to requests for proposals, presenting, interviewing, and overall adding value to client projects. I learned that, although the short-term goal is to deliver a solution, the key is really selling a long-term relationship that provides value.
I decided to go back to school to earn an MBA with an emphasis in marketing. Switching again back to the public arena, I accepted a city government job that would allow the time necessary to attend class. My plan pivoted around a five year commitment, which is coming due shortly. I recently graduated with the MBA and am ready again to broaden my horizons in the private arena and apply my skills to more business and marketing endeavors. If reinventing one’s self is an ongoing process, then I am looking forward to this milestone.
Value recognition in geospatial marketing is increasing in the business world, however, it is still a relatively empty niche to fill. This challenges me to demonstrate the value in uniting GIS with business intelligence for decision support systems. The intent of this blog is to catalog my journey of enlightenment. I welcome any comments to let me know if I am hitting (or missing) the mark.