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  • Writer's pictureApril Dawn Shinske

Only Human - Putting People First In Every Pursuit

Updated: Aug 25, 2020

"I'm only human." That's a statement that a hard-driving, cerebral individual like me bristled at for years. The phrase, in my experience, was most often used as a preamble to excuses many of us make when we can't tunnel our way through an obstacle; the tee-up for a string of no's that didn't appeal to someone like me who thrives on finding a way to say "yes," and delivering with excellence.

Until a conversation that I had with an old friend from my hometown changed my mindset entirely. We'd been chatting about ways my always creative, talented friend could continue to keep her brand strong and market her small, temporarily-shuttered business amid the pandemic. I was supposed to be giving her some friendly integrated-marketing communications advice. I did just that. But I didn't expect her to tell me something that would produce my own "ah-ha moment." "You're giving me all this great advice," she said. "But has anyone ever told you what your own brand essence is all about? You. You're all about people. You're all about being human. You thrive on what connects us, and taking part in anything that doesn't advance goodness for people first? That doesn't interest you. Humanity is your personal brand."

Advancing Good

I was startled and flattered by her words. Not only were they accurate, they evoked in me a clarity of purpose that I'd never taken time to fully evaluate prior. Suddenly, for the first time in my career--maybe even in my life--I realized that I would never view the central momentum of my professional efforts through exactly the same lens again. From now on, I'd own what really drives me, and be even more intentional in my approach.

The core of my life's work is inspiring great people to become passionate ambassadors for good. I help people tell their personal and brand stories in ways that deepen human connection, and advance values-driven outcomes.

The Path Forward

What I didn't know when my dear old friend and I spoke was that her business would quickly reopen and rebound (thankfully), and my own 18+ year career at a beloved healthcare non-profit would soon end amid necessary COVID-19-driven budget cuts. My new path would become one I'd have to forge with intention, care, and my own core values at the fore.

So here I am. Like many, I am reshaping my career at what is likely the midpoint of my own life, at a time in history when so many sure bets are suddenly fraught with uncertainty.

I am happy to share that I view this moment as my greatest opportunity to be..."only human" in the best sense of the phrase. To selectively work with only those individuals and brands that put people first, and possess values that align with making the world an incrementally better place. I also believe it's essential that every pursuit have an element of playfulness; a sense of fun that animates people-to-people connection, and enlivens quality end products.

Seeking "Only Humans"

If you're also "only human" -- and would like me to bring my nearly two-decades of expert communications experience to mutually engaging that inspires everyone to be their very best -- I look forward to connecting and learning what amazing things we can accomplish together.

-April Dawn

April Dawn Shinske is an integrated marketing communications professional with nearly two decades of experience crafting messages that transform team members into brand ambassadors. Connect at

Copyright August 2020, April Dawn Shinske. All rights reserved. Please cite authorship and link back to when sharing content. Thank you.

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