If you are a complete nonprofit marketing geek, you may have heard that Katya Andresen is leaving the nonprofit world, moving on as the COO of Network for Good to become the CEO of ePals, a global community of K-12 classrooms. If not, I’m sorry to break the news to you.
If you read this blog, odds are very high that you read Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog too. So I don’t need to tell you how brilliant she is, and what a loss this is to our community. As depressing as this is professionally, I am 100% thrilled and excited for Katya personally. She was ready for a new challenge, and I think she found it. Her decision was a long time coming, and one that I know she weighed very carefully. I am so proud of my girlfriend for leaning in and going for it.
Katya will hate that I am writing this post, but I am doing it anyway, because she has been instrumental to my success in so many ways. While I am not saying goodbye to her as a friend, she deserves a proper goodbye as a leader in our field.
Katya’s book, Robin Hood Marketing: Stealing Corporate Savvy to Sell Just Causes, was published in 2006, right about the time that I started blogging. Everything else I had read on nonprofit marketing before that was dry, serious, and academic. Her book was like a revelation for me, not just because it was full of great advice, but because it convinced me that we could talk about the work in fun, real-world ways. We connected online through our blogs in 2007, and I met her in person in the fall of 2008.
In our hour-long conversation, in between presentations she was making at a conference, she convinced me that I too could write a book and offered to introduce me to both her publisher and her book agent. Within a few months, they became my publisher and agent too. Katya wrote the foreword to both The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, which came out in 2010, and my new book,Content Marketing for Nonprofits, which will be out in August.
But even more importantly, Katya reassured me that it was not just OK to be myself, but an absolute necessity to my success. When you are a woman running your own consulting business, there is quite a bit of pressure around you to conform to what is seen as the norm and to be pretty conservative, as to not upset any potential future clients, I suppose.
I have always tried to shake that off, but not without the occasional bouts of self-doubt. Then I would look at Katya’s photo on her blog, all leggy and wearing fabulous shoes. She ROCKS. At one point a few years ago, Katya took down this photo because a loved one told her that he feared it would attract creeps. I scoffed, and told her to be her awesome self (we are oh-so-brave when telling others what to do, aren’t we?) and she put it back up. She’s my heroine.
Thank you, Katya, for your leadership and especially for your friendship. I can’t wait to see what amazing things you do next.