My dad, my sister, and me, standing on the cliffs overlooking one of the WWII landing sites in the Normandy region of France. Remembering those great men for whom their word was their bond.

When I was a kid, my dad told me how his father did business on a handshake. Even at an early age, that didn’t make sense to me. I knew enough to understand that people signed things when they made agreements. But my dad told me that for my grandfather, a person’s word was their bond; their promise to do what they said they’d do.

That exchange with my dad stuck with me. I started paying close attention to what people said and comparing it to what they did. I realized that I liked being around people who kept their word and sometimes did more than was promised, and I discovered that those were the same people that I trusted in my life.

Years ago, when I began consulting, the intersection between brand promise and customer experience became clear. Every time a customer interacts with a company, it is a test of whether the company’s promise is being kept. It’s not rocket science, but being true to who you say you are – personally and professionally – matters, now more than ever.

A client told me that as she refined the promise of her company’s brand, an unexpected result surfaced: she noticed what she was saying in her daily life, and realized how easily she made promises with no intention of keeping them. She applied the work we did with her company to herself, questioning what her promise is – to her husband, to her kids, to her extended family, and to her friends – and that inquiry radically altered her life, for good.

That outcome is what I’m committed to for all of my clients: transformation in business and transformation in life. It’s what fuels my passion for my work.