View from an airplane window at the wings and flying over a scenic landscape of green hills and rivers

A long while ago I had a meeting with the head of a large corporate foundation in the cosmetology industry. He was very nice, extremely receptive to our cause, made a large financial contribution, and provided some amazing access to other leaders in the industry. It was a great day in philanthropy.

And, in addition to the philanthropic generosity he demonstrated, what has really stayed with me all these years was the title on his business card. He was the Director of Dream Fulfillment. I get it… a corporate foundation, he’s the leader, he oversees the giving away of millions of dollars, his efforts fulfill dreams. Cool!
Fast forward to this afternoon: I was poking around on a couple business networking websites and was struck by how mind-numbingly boring most job titles are. I wonder how challenging it must be to be successful in a job function that is identified with such a boring job title. Case Managers manage cases. Outside Sales Representatives probably represent products or services, in hopes of selling them, to people out in the community.IT Managers must manage some form of IT. Ugh!
Far and few between, there were some job titles that appeared that inspired me, intrigued me, or made me chuckle. At the very least, they did not seem to be the kind of title that would suck the life out of the good people who occupy the positions.
  • Director of Vertical Markets
  • Director of Strategy Planning
  • Director of Sustainable Development
  • Energy Engineer
  • Information Architect
  • Senior Strategy Consultant
  • Implementation Engineer
  • Creative Interactive Strategist
  • Infrastructure Development Manager
  • Community Relations Associate
  • Interactive Designer
  • Rainmaker
  • Client Relationship Executive
  • Cause Account Coordinator
  • Chief Creative Officer
  • Client Relations Manager
  • Senior Game Developer
  • Strategic Account Manager

I wonder what would be possible if the titles of the jobs we do enlivened us, motivated us, cracked us up. They can still say what we do but in a way that fills us with hope and possibility, not drain us of our creativity and breath. Can’t a Director of Public Policy become a Director of Public/Private Partnerships or maybe a Human Resources Manager can become the Manager of Our Valued People Because Without Them We’d Be Nothing? I think every fundraising position these days should have the word “philanthropy” in its title.

Words have great power. I want the roles I play in the world to move me to greatness and what that role is called is an important place to begin. What’s on your business card? How alive / inspired / creative / successful does the title make you feel? If you were to change your actual title, what would the new title be? And if your new, made-up title resonates for you, go get your actual title changed. Now!


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Gary M. Groth, MS, PCC, CPCC

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