Sometimes our client universe is a very small world. The board chair of the Detroit Symphony called for help. He wanted to synthesize their complex financial story into a visual map that could be used to re-start a conversation with the philanthropic community in the city, starting with one key player. As he described his initial target audience Julie knew exactly whom he was talking about: Rip Rapson, President & CEO of the Kresge Foundation, also a client and a fan of hers. Rip is a visual thinker himself and drew a complex diagram of the Detroit bankruptcy and recovery that was used to align the city toward its future.
Julie spent a day and a half on site at the Symphony listening to several key players describe the current situation, their strategy, the amazing assets of the organization, and their brilliant envisioned future making notes on 83 post-its as they talked.
Then the magic happened. Synthesizing their story into major themes with supporting facts and compelling persuasion, Julie built their visual story into a 15-foot map they took the next day to meet with Rip and get his ideas on how they should pursue their strategy of a sustainable endowment. They are using the map as a conversation starter with many of the major funders in Detroit.