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Pamela Sogge

Pei Ketron

Patience, Optimism and “The Right Time”

By | career development, Photography | No Comments

Photographer, teacher, traveler and volunteer Pei Ketron exudes quiet, human thoughtfulness, even in the crowded noisy café where we meet. It’s clear that she’s told her story before—16 years of shooting, a long path from special education teacher to Instagram influencer and accomplished professional photographer—but she tells it again, to me, as if it is the first time. Her ability to be present and mindful is an essential element of her unhurried, dynamic photography. “I have the patience to find something good and then wait for the right moment to make the image happen,” she says.

Pei’s journey through photography mirrors her approach to shooting: it was both considered and fortuitous. She majored in psychology and became a special education teacher. For ten years, she was in the classroom and photography was a hobby—though a particularly meaningful one for both Pei and her students. “I would take photos of my students and send them home. It can be really difficult to photograph kids with special needs, particularly more severe needs like the kids I was working with. So parents would say ‘Wow, we don’t have any nice photos of our kids, can we hire you to do a portrait session?’” Later, parents and colleagues started asking her to photograph their weddings.

She earned enough to buy photo gear and fund travel. “I made it a goal to leave the country once a year. Back then, coming from my background, it was a big thing to save enough money to travel every year.”  As she traveled, Pei captured images for herself and shared them online.

She started planning a career transition and building a business around wedding and portrait photography, “because I knew that as the one way I could make money. I didn’t know anything about any other type of photography. I didn’t know about photo journalism, about editorial work, about shooting ad campaigns, agencies, none of that.” Even as she tried to build her business, she realized “that my best images, the ones that really made people go ‘wow’ were the ones I shot when traveling.”

Pei joined Instagram early because “it was fun and I loved sharing photos online,” and suddenly she was “in the right place at the right time.” Pei explains that she quickly gained an audience and then “I was well poised when the advertising market shifted and started looking at Instagram as a place to source photographers and hire photographers to do influencer campaigns. I was in on the influencer work from the beginning.” Part of this new path was “educating clients about the fact that we are photographers and we need fair wages.” She carved out a space for herself and gained almost a million Instagram followers at the same time.

For four years Pei has worked for clients such as Apple, Pfizer, Mercedes and Michael Kors. She was even featured in an Icelandic adventure advertisement for American Express.
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Breaking Free from the Unseen Force: Brooke Shaden’s Photography and Creative Practice

By | Photography | No Comments

Brooke Shaden is known for mysterious fine art images imbued with a dark fantasy. Her subjects levitate, submerge, shed rose petals and blend with smoke and trees. The women are always real, and are often self-portraits of Brooke herself; it is the settings and the secrets they disclose or hide that are otherworldly. A viewer can return to her depthless images again and again, finding more to see each time.

Brooke’s latest series The Fourth Wall was recently on display at the Joanne Artman Gallery in New York City. I spoke with Brooke about the series and her process for creating it. We also talked about teaching, learning the practice of creativity and, of course, Firefly Institute’s fall photo camp for women.

I read that when you prepared for this Fourth Wall series you asked others to tell you what they felt they couldn’t tell other people. How did you use that in your work on this series?

I asked people, very simply, “If you met a stranger right now, what do you feel you couldn’t tell that person, what would be the thing that you wouldn’t want them to see?”

There were two common answers. One was a feeling of loneliness. The other answer was feeling trapped—by themselves, by time, by their circumstance. We all feel that way at some point in our lives, like there’s some unseen force holding us back.

I pulled a lot of inspiration from those conversations.
When you asked others the question, did anyone ask you?

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Leadership at the Top

By | Company Culture, Delinia, Food for thought | No Comments

“Just hop over that rock and rappel down.”

From my position near the top of Mount Washington (elevation 7,794 ft (2,376 m)), “that rock” blocked my view of its other side. I was incapable of leaping into nothingness. It wasn’t fear of the 400 foot drop; I simply couldn’t let go and blindly jump.

Every day, business authors, bloggers, and corporate leaders encourage us to “leap into the void,” “take risks,” and generally terrify ourselves into bold action. Read More

Sergey Neves

Create Your Tempest

By | Food for thought | No Comments

“We should have gone to Vegas to see that Tempest.” The play had ended over a year ago, but its concept gripped my millennial daughter’s mind: superb source material (Shakespeare’s Tempest) co-directed by a Shakespearean (Posner) and a magician (Teller). I agreed, we should have taken the trip. A month after our talk I saw that it was to play in Chicago. This time, we went.

Everything should be like that Tempest.

We sat down before show time and marveled at the set design and lighting. Minutes later a somber and silent Ariel arrived and set the mood, performing sleight-of-hand interactions with the audience. Read More

Think Like a CEO

By | Food for thought | No Comments

“150 minutes a week, heart pumping, working like an athlete; more than a brisk walk, break a sweat,” my friendly neighborhood neurologist suggests as the best thing we can do to preserve our cognitive ability. Though I’m familiar with studies showing the benefits of exercise for cognition, the 150 minute guideline and intense exertion were new to me.

It got me thinking about levels of cognitive effort we apply professionally. Have we come to feel that moderate effort is enough – in fact, beneficial? I mean cognitive effort: not just working hard, but thinking hard. If you had a FitBit device for your professional cognitive output, how would your tracking graph appear?

You might amble along with low to moderate cognitive output, peppered with periodic jolts of higher activity, and an absolute lack of intense effort. This level of effort may even put you above your peers!

spikes

But think what this means for your life at work. Beyond mere career stagnation, low cognitive effort may indicate a missed opportunity for significant engagement and fulfillment on your part, and the intrinsic rewards that come from putting your heart and brain into your work.
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Customer Success Hiring: Who is your CSM?

By | CSM Role | No Comments

A great Customer Success Manager (CSM) hire can be tricky. Why?

Clarity.

It is likely that you are very sure about what you want from your engineering, sales, finance, marketing, and technical support candidates. As Customer Success is an emerging discipline the CSM role is not firmly established. Expectations are high; companies know the CSM should improve customer satisfaction, reduce churn and increase revenue, but they are unclear as to how these goals will be achieved, and who to hire.

If you look across open CSM position descriptions, you will find five main types:

  1. Onboarding and ProService CSM: this CSM is tasked with getting the customer up, running, and using all features and functionality.
  2. Sales CSM: this CSM role is revenue driven, with performance measured by retention, growth, and churn reduction.
  3. Relationship CSM: this CSM is tasked with the vague work of “owning” customer relationships and customer satisfaction.
  4. Power CSM: this is a high-functioning, strategic position offered by companies with a great understanding of all a CSM can do.
  5. Catch-all CSM: this role calls for all of the above, plus the ability to provide technical support, give public presentations, repair a robot, and write code.

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Welcome

By | Delinia | No Comments

Hello, and welcome to Delinia Consulting!

We are just getting up and running, working with our clients (our top priority!) and building our business.  It is an exciting time for us at Delinia Consulting.

In fact, it is an exciting time for the whole field of Customer Success. While companies have long claimed to “put the customer first,” the growth of cloud services, information, data, and predictive analytics tools shine a revealing light on how we engage with customers. Now we can see precisely how we engage customers, how we serve them, and how we keep them.

There is always an avenue to better customer experience. At times the path is clear, at times opaque. The very data that makes it possible to finally put the customer first can also seem confusing and contradictory without a guide. We look at all the information: your company’s current circumstances, your market, personnel, activities and data. Then we work with you to to put together coherent strategies and concrete plans. Meaningful action, measurable impacts, and the payoff of improved customer success make the journey worth every step.

Delinia helps our clients chart the way.