I'm Meri Aaron Walker and, as "The Virtual Meeting Coach," I sell a distance relationship management solution.
In a nutshell, I help people encounter and overcome the barriers in remote work.
For almost two decades, I have been part of an emerging social body of women who have found ourselves responding to the deepest vocational needs of human beings in the midst of the financial, ecological, and social tsunami we've been living through as the Internet emerges.
I see, as does Barbara Marx Hubbard, that the financial, ecological, and social crises that continue to escalate across the globe are actually arousing us, waking human beings up to new kinds of co-creation and creativity. And to new kinds of collaboration and connectivity among us - when we're not in the same location. From where I'm sitting, these are truly the best of times for those with eyes to see, ears to hear, and a will to evolve together to the next level!
My lifelong passion has been helping people connect vitally with each other, both face-to-face and at a distance, so we can get things done together efficiently.
In the early part of my career, I was fascinated with radio, magazines, newspapers, and television, for the ways that they brought people who weren't in the same place into a kind of shared experience of our humanity.
First I wrote and was an assignment photographer, in addition to teaching. Then I learned how to sync multiple layers of pictures, sound, and words using dozens of slide projectors and highly directional sound systems. In those early AV experiments we began to simulate, with greater fidelity, the sensory experience of sharing multiple perspectives all at the same time. (This was long before anybody thought about "hyper-linking" one person's expression to another in a way that is now second-nature, even to third graders.)
Then, in the early 1980s I decided to go back to graduate school to teach and study Communication at the University of Texas. My return to school coincided with the emergence of personal computers and the subterranean internet (that connected university and corporate scientists with the US Defense Department and other agencies) working its way up to the surface of mainstream culture.
While I was in graduate school, my studies branched out into cultural anthropology and graphic design and I began to see clearly that personal computers were going to trigger a global convergence of words, sounds and pictures that would change human cultures in every corner of the planet. And, beyond this, that having a direct connection to the intelligence of people across the globe - in multiple media - was going to take me no more than a few keystrokes for the rest of my life.
So, way back in the mid-1980s, even though I didn't enjoy any of the technical challenges my "geek" friends relished, I embraced personal computers and joined them in homesteading Cyberspace. I was thrilled by the prospect of having a device in my home that could connect me directly to other human beings around the world - without regard for the bureaucracies of media or higher education or government that continued to frustrate and complicate one person's direct sharing of their intelligence with another.
For over 25 years, I've been a passionate participant in the ongoing experiment we now call "The Internet." I see our human evolutionary process being played out - and accelerated - by this astounding new tool Man has created in my lifetime. Some days I still pinch myself to see if I'm dreaming! But every single day I wake up excited and enlivened by the new day's delivery of previously unimagined possibilities as human beings discover more and more ways to use the Internet to respond to our deepest vocational needs.
Other people's passions for ways we can use the Internet have them focused in all kinds of different areas. But for 25 years, my passion has remained attached to the question of how can we use the Internet to connect vitally with others so we can get stuff done efficiently, even when we're not always in the same room.
I am ecstatic that we have FREE access to both asynchronous social media (like Facebook, Twitter, Ning and hundreds of other tools) and synchronous - or real-time - interactive virtual meetings that human beings can use to respond to each others' needs - right in the midst of escalating financial, social, and ecological crises.
I see social media as not simply allowing us to survive these crises but actually to thrive in new ways. And what makes me say this is that social media connect us with each other in ways that are every bit as useful - and sometimes even more useful - than the ways human beings have traditionally learned and worked together for the previous 2000 years.
As "The Virtual Meeting Coach," I am excited every day about helping people understand how we can use social media together to manage work and service relationships at a distance. My special passion is supporting experienced trainers, coaches and consultants as they generate new revenues for their businesses by transitioning some of their service delivery into multimedia, fully interactive, live virtual meeting rooms - making it easier and easier for clients to receive their help whenever and wherever they need it.
Virtual meeting rooms offer a new way for people who have expertise to share to meet and exchange resources with others without having to waste scarce resources of money, time and fuel to do it. They can’t be used for everything, but when people understand how to structure and manage virtual interaction that everyone enjoys, virtual meetings can support strong, vital connections that prevent us from having to travel all the time.
Whether our trips are across town, cross country, or across the globe, with fuel crises and global warming staring us in the face, we simply have to find new ways to make fewer trips so we can reduce the carbon footprints we’re leaving with our business travel! For me, virtual meetings are the wings of independent business.
These days, I teach some both online and local classes about social media, mobile work and cloud computing, and I am a full-time virtual meeting coach, consultant, and producer. I am grateful to be able to share the empowering and economically sustainable Web 2.0 tools and virtual meeting practices I’ve discovered with business owners around the globe! It is pure joy for me to work privately, and in groups, with individuals and teams. And, of course, I still love to speak to groups in face-to-face meetings, too.
When I’m not working, you can find me dancing, gardening, biking, hiking the hills above my home with my sweet old dog, Lady, learning to fish the wild rivers of southern Oregon, or mentoring young people who are challenged by difference.