We had the good fortune of connecting with Kerri Drumm and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kerri, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
Consultants cry too. Just kidding. But really, I strive to maintain a calm balanced approach with my clients. That doesn’t mean that I don’t show emotion. However, I am aware that I don’t want my clients to take on the burden of my feelings, especially when they are facing their own challenges. I see myself as a support system, synthesizer, cheerleader, and sometimes the instigator of tough conversations. I want my clients to feel they have a safe space to work through their feelings, so I save mine for other venues.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
My business is Purpose Aligned Consulting. We are a social-sector consulting firm serving nonprofits and local municipalities. We help organizations with strategy and planning, governance, conflict resolution, and grant writing through coaching, facilitation, and consulting. What sets us apart? A few things: I have an MA in Peace and Conflict Studies and am a trained mediator. These skills help me support organizations that are in conflict or moving through difficult decisions. When we do strategic planning, we often come up against challenges and difficult conversations. Being skilled in mediation, consensus building, and collaborative decision-making is a real asset to our clients. I spent the early part of my career living and working in Latin America. I am bilingual and understand operating amongst cultural differences. These skills help me to build inclusive processes and provide language access. I love adult learning theory and have taught adults in various capacities for over 20 years, everything from community ESL classes to master’s-level students. Leveraging the knowledge in a room and helping others to gain new insights is a passion of mine and feeds my approach to facilitation. I have worked in pretty much every role inside nonprofits and understand the challenges and joys of the sector. Lastly, I am lucky to be joined by Susanna Eckleberger who brings a wealth of knowledge in all things fundraising. I’m super proud of the work we’ve done to support the Colorado arts community, including helping nonprofits and local governments think through large scale and collaborative approaches to arts and culture. I also am excited about a new endeavor, the Civic Consulting Collaborative, a soon-to-be-launched co-op of independent Colorado consultants who work together to support clients in making meaningful impacts in their communities. I started Purpose Aligned Consulting over 6 years ago, in large part due to the encouragement of my husband Andres, who knew having my own business was a dream of mine. I was so privileged to begin a business in the nonprofit sector, where more experienced consultants opened their arms to teach me and share the lessons they learned along the way. What have I learned along the way? Be flexible. Be diligent. Take on work that is meaningful to you. Push yourself to keep reading and learning. Work with people who challenge you. And most importantly: Take a least a month off each year to re-charge and enjoy life beyond business ownership.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When friends from out of town visit, I plan time in the mountains, including a hotsprings get-away. If it’s winter, we go snowshoeing first If it’s summer we hike and then head to the spring.. Colorado has so many great hot springs to offer, right now I love Cottonwood, Strawberry, and Valley View. If we’re sticking close by Denver, we might head outside of Golden for a quick hike and have a beer at Cannonball Brewery (Mindbender is the best IPA ever!). I live in the West Highlands and I love sharing my neighborhood. For brunch, we’d go to Sassafrass and eat fried green tomatoes benedict. We might stop by Fire on the Mountain for their great rotating beer menu and killer spicy salads. No trip to Denver is complete with some Menudo or tacos from Patzcuaro’s. Super Mega Bein is a fun place to take guests and spend a few hours drinking cocktails and working through the small plate menu. If we’re feeling fancy we’d hit up the Denver classics- Furition or Barlolo. Pre-pandemic I spent a lot of time in coffee shops. I’d bring my visitor to Cork and Coffee’s comfy patio. If we need to do some work done, we’d head to Bardo’s. I love book stores and am lucky to live by two Denver gems- Westside Books and Book Bar (which also great for a glass of wine and a chat). I like spending a few hours at the DAM and the MCA. We are so lucky to live in a city with world class art museums. They always have new and interesting shows. We’d also spend sometime checking out local art- in particular I love what they are doing in the Aurora Cultural Arts District- a super diverse district on the Colfax corridor.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to my dad, Gene Drumm. As a kid, I watched him build a consulting business from scratch. I was always impressed with his stories about helping people develop shared solutions. He really encouraged me when I launched my business. Even today when I’m dealing with a thorny client issue he’s the first person I call.
Head shot- William Drumm Others- Craig Nason