And so Zoetica begins. Together with top-ranked nonprofit blogger Beth Kanter and PR maven Kami Huyse, I am proud to launch Zoetica. Zoetica, a social enterprise, provides superior communication consulting, training, and strategy to help mindful organizations affect social change. As part of our mission, the consultancy will allocate 10 percent of our annual profits to organizations selected by Zoetica’s three founders.
What a crazy, yet fitting name! A mouthful of four syllables, yet only seven characters starting with a unique Z, a state of almost Internet nirvana. We got it from the biological term zoetic, which means pertaining to life. And that’s fitting as the company aspires to achieve social impact and make our lives better through communications.
I’ve been through my fair share of communications start-ups, so I’d like to tell you some of the things that are different about our team going out the door.
1) The social mission is important to us. Beth’s entire career is nonprofit focused, and Kami and I have reached a point in our careers where we want to have real, meaningful impact. Whether it’s a nonprofit or a company with a strong social responsibility or environmental program, given our collective skill set this seems like the best way to affect social change.
2) While not an agency, the consultancy is communications focused. In the words of Edward Moore, “Shoemaker, stick to thy last.” And so, we stick to our core competency.
3) We each have strengths and weaknesses, which combined as an entity provide a balanced team. While we’re all strategists who have been in the marketplace on our own, there are certain natural roles: Beth’s the best blogger, and should be the frontperson. Kami is the best manager, and should run teams and projects. I’m the best marketer of the group, and will be on the frontline with clients. The roles are essential: As someone who ran a company solo, the big danger for an entrepreneur is trying to do everything her/himself. No one is the master of all.
4) All three of us have worked together. In an era where superstar blogger teams come together and break apart at the first twinge of ego-stress, this cannot be underestimated. I’ve worked with Kami for three years and Beth for two. Together, we’ve been working on Zoetica for five months. Further, we’ve all been through hard times on our own. It’s easier to trust known elements when push comes to shove.
5) The corporate structure allows for consensus and movement. While we each have our accepted roles, we also are equal partners. Our structure enables us to move through internal challenges using a majority rule, yet at the same time honors the voice of the minority. Private companies are just that, but this factor makes our collective future direction easier.
6) The national footprint adds strength! One city alone is a regional entity, but with Houston, San Francisco and Washington covered, we’re truly a national entity.
7) I mentioned strengths and weaknesses as they relate to a team versus a sole proprietor. There’s another aspect to this. It’s lonely running a company by yourself. Frankly, the Livingston Communications experience made me realize that I need peers in my work life. What better people than Beth and Kami? Two great people that I enjoy working with, that have similar values, and who are masters in their own right.
So in the words of John Lennon, “A dream you dream alone is only a dream. A dream you dream together is reality.” It’s time for Zoetica.