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My Visual Practitioner Story

As a new feature from the IFVP Communications Committee, we are asking members to share their experiences as visual practitioners with the rest of our tribe. Here is my story...

It is the eve of my fourth and biggest industry conference event since I became a full time visual practitioner – 3 days, 30+ presentations, each only 30-45 minutes long and back to back – and not many breaks in between! Can I do this? Am I prepared? Markers…check! Icon library practiced…check! Facilities scoped out and ready…check! Hydration and sustenance within reach…check! And most importantly, comfortable shoes…CHECK!

This routine is probably familiar to most of us in this profession, but even with the comfort that I have done all of the practical preparations to be ready, the mixture of excitement and fear combines in my stomach to create a twinge of uncertainty…will they like what I do? Will I serve the conference participants well and render the images that will excite, intrigue, and capture the presentations accurately, creating high engagement, comprehension and collaboration? Can I keep up with the grueling pace of this 3-day marathon, with my last visual being as strong as my first? Hmmmm…

Coming from a corporate background of insurance/financial services and Information Technology, a new career path of “visual practitioner” seems an unlikely one (as shared by some of my more skeptical former colleagues). After being impacted from my last (and probably final) corporate position in 2013, I made the powerful decision to not only go out on my own as a consultant, but to focus my offering on team engagement and “making meetings matter” utilizing visual facilitation techniques. As a teenager, I spent a lot of time in art classes and drawing what I saw around me, and even through my corporate career, would take my personal notes in pictures and diagrams – realizing only much later that what I was doing was called sketch-noting! I was introduced to visual practitioners through consulting firms who were using them for team engagement sessions and as I found out more, I began to be intrigued by what they did and how they did it and most importantly, the extreme positive impact their visuals had on our work and team dynamics. So, if they could do it…

I started to try out these techniques with my teams – eventually abandoning PowerPoint altogether in favor of my own visuals for meetings and presentations, creating greater impact every day. Then, when I found myself free of the corporate life, I set my sights on providing this same impact back to the industry that cultivated me for over 25 years. And the response has been everything I was hoping for and more! Even with the traditionally analytical, “stuffy”, “by-the-book”, “we have always done it this way” cultures that still permeate the insurance/financial services industry, there are many brave souls who have seen the power of what visualization can be for their organization – and it is growing! I count myself lucky that I found not only something that excites me personally and professionally, but is also valued by the insurance industry that truly needs it!

Well, I didn’t just survive the 3-day visual marathon – I killed it! The feedback was overwhelming! The “gallery” of boards became the ultimate “close” for the event and I still get requests today for copies of them. This success was magnified by being asked back for the next 3 events scheduled this year…how great is that?

Thank you for allowing me to share my story! Please share yours!

Kimberly Dornisch has spent her 25+ year career leading transformational organizational and technology change for many insurance and financial services companies as a program manager and as a C-level executive. She has combined her project management expertise with her genuine leadership style to successfully manage and deliver on multi-million dollar initiatives that resulted in strategic outcomes for the businesses she supported. She has now taken this extensive knowledge and experience combined with her acute listening and drawing skills to create a unique offering for business and technology teams as a team engagement expert.
Results, Visualized



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