Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Definition of an Independent Educational Consultant; according to a second grader…

For those of you who are regular readers of this blog, you know that my daughters are often the central focus of my writings, and this month is no exception. A few years ago, during a second grade presentation on her parents, my younger daughter was asked what I did for a living; while I wasn’t there to hear, she reported back to me the next day.

“Well what did you say sweetie?” In my naiveté, I was ready for her to spout the intricacies and subtleties of life as an IEC (independent educational consultant)

“I told them you’re a consultant, an educational consultant.”

“That’s right, did you say anything else?” I eagerly responded.
“Um…well…” she stammered, trying to find the right words.

And then as if the light went off she recited, “I told them you tell parents where their kids should go camping to some field somewhere, oh and you talk to them on the phone a lot…”

My head dropped.

My daughter isn’t the only one who struggles understanding just what exactly it is that we do, whenever I travel outside the bubble of our conferences and the schools and programs we work with, I find myself having to explain the role of an IEC. At first, I confess, I would explain it almost apologetically. I, like many new consultants, didn’t have the confidence to understand that we are not only a very important cog in the machine but, in many cases, the most important one. We are the only ones out there meeting the programs on their own turf, getting to know the admissions directors, seeing the kids on campuses and really getting a pulse of what’s going on. It is our job to look beyond the shiny brochures and to find those diamonds in the rough. At Loeta we tout that we are a team, not only within the firm, but also with our families, the professionals involved with our clients, and, most importantly, the students we serve themselves. Everyone brings their expertise to the table, and we work it out together.

A larger, but equally important team I’m a member of is the Independent Educational Consultant Association (IECA). Being a member of IECA is one of the proudest accomplishments of my professional career. As a recently elected board member I have had the pleasure to participate more fully in the running of this organization, and have been exposed to a group of colleagues whom I really would never have any crossover with if I hadn’t joined the board. I am always amazed at not only the depth but also breadth of expertise and knowledge within this group. Certainly when you get a group of 850 Independent business owners together, not all will agree on every issue, but what is so wonderful about my colleagues at IECA is the fact that beneath it all we all have the same drive; to help families realize that there are choices out there, and we’re going give them unbiased advice and recommendations based on our professional judgment of the student’s needs and abilities.

My daughter is now in 6th grade, and while she can recite the states and their capitals, do mathematics which dumfound me and name the starting lineup of the Celtics; I’m still not sure she can really explain what I do…

And miles to go before I sleep…..