Gini Dietrich

The Spin Sucks Inquisition: Paula Kiger

By: Gini Dietrich | November 7, 2014 | 

Paula KigerBy Gini Dietrich 

Nearly two years ago, now, I received a package from Big Green Pen.

When I opened it, there was a collection of post-it notes, notepads, and—you guessed it—a big green pen, from dear Paula Kiger. She had been reading this very blog and wanted to send a thank you.

I love thank you gifts and was very happy to begin to use my gift on everything. I believe I even once sent my mom something with a Big Green Pen post-it note attached.

Since then, Paula has made her name among the Crazies and I am proud to also call her a Spin Sucks brand ambassador.

In the time that I’ve known her, she’s become more prolific at blogging, quit the job she had for most of her career to focus on something that makes her more happy, cares for an elderly parent, supports her daughter in amazing ways, runs every, single day and races at least once a month, and even took a trip to El Salvador earlier this year to work with kids in need.

She is kind, she is generous, she is funny, she is smart, and she is extremely thoughtful.

That is why I’ve asked her to sit on the Spin Sucks Inquisition hot seat.

What is the Biggest Mistake You’ve Made in Your Career?

Not doing my homework.

When I was in college, I got an interview for a prestigious internship program with the legislature.

After the initial niceties, the interviewer asked a question relevant to a major legislative issue that was active at the time.

After my poorly disguised “deer in the headlights” reaction, it was clear from her body language that my candidacy had been decided in that one exchange.

Maybe it’s why I dig so much now for information about new ventures.

Thank you, Internet, for making the digging easy.

What is One Thing about Yourself that Would Surprise Most People?

I appeared on Broadway.


For a single show.

When Xanadu was on Broadway, you could buy tickets to be on stage as part of the show.

You had to pass a “dancing test” to qualify (phew! made it!).

It is a great memory to share with my daughter, who was 10 at the time.

If You Could Achieve Everything You Ever Wanted in Life, but Had to Die 10 Years Sooner, Would You Make that Trade?

My husband and I are the primary caretakers of my father-in-law, who has lived with us since June.

He has had chronic neck pain for decades.

Losing his spouse of 55 years last November added emotional desolation to the mix.

The reason I say all of this by way of introduction is that my answer still would be “no,” I wouldn’t want to trade; I believe there’s a plan conceived by a power greater than me that should be played out however it is written.

But if it meant 10 years of emotional and physical pain, I am not sure I wouldn’t waver.

What Industry Advice or Practice Would You Most Like to Cry Foul On?

Businesses who “plug” people into positions such as “customer service representative” without helping them have any connection to the organization’s mission.

My previous employer served families in Florida.

Our contact center was out-of-state for several years.

When we reprocured, we required the new contact center to be in-state.

A lovely by-product of that was reps who had personally benefited from the program, because their children had been enrollees and they understood the customer point-of-view.

It made a huge difference in their commitment to provide empathic, accurate service.

What is the Best Book You’ve Read in the Past Six Months?

Yoga Wisdom at Work by Maren and Jamie Showkeir.

I read this book at a pivotal time.

I was on the verge of deciding to leave my job just shy of the 20-year mark.

Questions such as: “Think about a time you were angry with a colleague. What story did you tell yourself? What other stories might have been possible?” confirmed that I had allowed myself to get stuck in a certain telling of the stories. It was time to be a character in a different book.

Why Does Spin Suck?

Spin Sucks because someone, somewhere in the process is either being dishonest themselves or (worse) telling a subordinate they must be dishonest.

That leaves the messenger eroding their integrity and the recipient of the message being duped. The long-term outcome of that is never affirmational.

Where You Can Find Paula Kiger

I asked Paula what is really important to her right now that she’d like to share.

She mentioned two things:

  1. I run for a young man named Gareth who has MCAD, which is a mitochondrial disorder. With his disorder, it’s hard for people to understand that although he looks like any other kid, using energy (like walking any distance or a typical p.e. class) is a challenge. As he recently had his 12th birthday on October 28, it would be a great gift to him to know more people understand invisible diseases such as MCAD. Here is a good source.
  2. I am happy to be an Instigator with the Lead Change Group and encourage people to visit the site to participate in dialogue about leadership!

To learn more about Paula Kiger and get to know her better, check her out on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Pinterest, Daily Mile, Instagram, Vimeo, and on her blog—Big Green Pen.

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • 1)  YAY! It’s Paula day!!!!!

    2) XANADU?! That is amazing.

  • Eleanor Pierce THANKS! Yes, Xanadu. I treasure every Broadway experience I’ve had (because they’re way too few and far between) but making eye contact ON STAGE with the actors throughout the show was special!

  • Kate Nolan

    Yay, Paula!

  • Paula Kiger

    Hi Kate 🙂

  • Arment Dietrich, Inc.

    Fact: Everyone

  • biggreenpen I know what you mean! I feel like I have a special kinship for every show I’ve seen on Broadway (all three of them). And I’ve been lucky enough to have never seen a bad one.

  • Yay Paula!  Great to learn more about you.  I am a big Olivia Newton-John fan, have been since the early 70’s so of course besides  “Grease”,  “Xanadu” is there.    Great to see that….”neon light shine on you….” !  Have an aweome Friday!

  • It may be way off Broadway but great to see you on this stage. You have indeed been a great ambassador to Spin Sucks as I never see you miss a day in contributing to the comments despite what I read as an exhausting personal and professional life. Sending respect your way for using your big green pen and legs to bring awareness to MCAD.

  • annelizhannan Thank you! I love running for Gareth; he and his family have taught me so much.

  • Digital_DRK Yeah, we had a family viewing of the movie Xanadu before the Broadway experience. She has had quite a career!

  • Broadway! Very cool. Great to know even more about you, Paula. Happy Inquisition Day!

  • AnneReuss

    The world is lucky to have a woman like you. That is all. Enjoy the spotlight, you deserve it!

  • I want to be more like Paula Kiger! When I saw this post pop up, I did a happy sharp intake of breath because I knew it was going to be an incredible read. My body was right. (Is that creepy?  I think that’s creepy.Anyway.) I love biggreenpen ! Broadway!? Somehow not surprised.

  • biggreenpen

    JonMikelBailey hello and thanks for the share! Happy Friday! SpinSucks

  • Dwayne Alicie

    I love Paula Kiger!

  • @Paula Kiger is on my list list of most genuinely good people I know (there are other Crazies on that list as well). I also received a Big Green Pen package, but mine had finger lasers!!!! So I win! 

    Always great reading more about you Paula!

  • Yep, that 10 years sooner question takes on a different perspective when viewed not through the lens career/personal accomplishments but from the vantage point of real life struggle. Thanks, Paula, for sharing that all too real perspective, and for being such a presence of light  here and everywhere else I see you on social media.

  • biggreenpen

    creativeoncall LOL! ginidietrich SpinSucks

  • You have to have a big heart for it to be so obvious to so many people who haven’t even met you in person. I’ve admired Paula and her passion for others since I “met” her here on Spin Sucks.

    Love every beautiful inquisition answer!

  • Hi Paula,
    That personal connection is huge. I am in complete agreement with you about the benefit of businesses trying to make sure staff are familiar and or passionate about the services they provide.

  • “Xanadu”!!!!!! – BWAAAAAHAHAHAHAHA!!! That is the best thing in the whole entire WORLD!!!! Paula, you truly are the Queen of the Crazies – and we value your input and interaction more than you’ll ever know! xoxoxox

  • LauraPetrolino OMG I remember that! I think you had kinda/sorta just started, right??? We weren’t sure *what* to think. 😉

  • DwayneAlicie biggreenpen You’re always creepy, Dwayne.

  • YAY Paula! wow! Broadway, that’s pretty awesome @biggreenpen

  • I love your answer to the 10-year question, “I believe there’s a plan conceived by a power greater than me that should be played out however it is written.” 

    My grandparents had Parkinson’s and we (mainly my mom and aunt) took care of them, in their own home, for 11 years. That was during my Jr High – College+ years. It was a difficult time for a variety of reasons. 

    If given the choice, in a circumstance involving an illness, I’m not saying I wouldn’t waver either, but I believe everything happens for a reason and while we may not understand it at the time, there are positive outcomes. One for me is realizing what an amazing, awesome person my mom is.

    Wow, got kinda deep for a Friday! Xanadu – that’s a pretty awesome experience, too. 🙂

  • susancellura

    YAY, Paula!!!

  • DwayneAlicie You are definitely creepy, but I keep you around, if only to see what you end up saying to the insurance lady.

  • Kara I can imagine the difficulty of that time and I think about it often as my 15 year old is part of the process. I have a good friend with Parkinson’s and have met many in the Parkinson’s Community through Charity Miles. It’s a tough thing. And, yeah, Xanadu. I’m afraid I may be the cause of a few earworms today (at least for me!).

  • belllindsay Ha! And appropriately enough I got a crown yesterday. Granted, it was a dental thing but I’ll take coronations where I can get them. 😉

  • Word Ninja Thank you! 🙂

  • LauraPetrolino THE FINGER LASERS!!!!! They were a hit! 🙂 I had to refrain from purchasing a pair of my own because, let’s face it, some things are better off in the hands of professionals.

  • DwayneAlicie biggreenpen Maybe I need to send some upcoming drafts your way for a “body read” to see if I’m on the right track. I’m sure the one about GAVI Replenishment for Shot at Life will give you goosebumps. 😉

  • AnneReuss Thank you :-).

  • RobBiesenbach Thanks Rob! Now you’ve had a full dose of 12 great things about Florida State via my Ignite presentation and now this. You’re practically a Floridian.

  • Yay, Paula! It´s great to see you on the hot seat. 😉

    Wow, you´re doing an amazing work. Congrats, congrats and congrats!

  • ginidietrich, biggreenpen was a great selection for the hot seat!

  • @jason_ ginidietrich biggreenpen True! It’s Homecoming Week! Go Noles! 🙂

  • Hey, hey; I’m actually getting to comment in the middle of the day. We’ve had security issues on our system and we are usually so filtered up during the day I can’t respond on posts. 

    Go Noles indeed; the team everybody else seems to hate, but gives us enough of a chip on our shoulder to to rally around. I had a ticket to go to the Virginia game this weekend, but ended up having a conflict. One of these times maybe we can catch up and do an IRL meeting, huh? 

    It takes a special person to do the work you are doing; I’m sure your star has not only already been picked out but has your name on it too. 

    Good choice ginidietrich.

  • bdorman264 ginidietrich be honest Bill, you broke the security system so you could comment on our blog during the day, didn’t you?

  • I ADORE PAULA! How did I not know you had been on Broadway? That is so cool! Happy SSI Day! xoxo

  • lizreusswig xo

  • bdorman264 ginidietrich thank you, Bill. Let’s do that IRL thing. It’s actually been YEARS since I have been to a game. 🙁

  • corinamanea Thank you, Corina. Everyone has made me smile so much today. 🙂

  • Yay Paula! For some reason it’s not surprising your surprise answer was that you were on Broadway biggreenpen 😉 I’m so glad we had a chance to meet IRL in NYC this past summer – even if only briefly – and got to discuss our love of the stage. Maybe we should organize a @SpinSucks Broadway tour. 

    Excellent cry foul too. It makes zero sense to have people who don’t truly understand the product or service they’re representing. Bring on the passionate ambassadors.

  • EdenSpodek biggreenpen oh how I love the idea of a @SpinSucks broadway tour!!!

  • biggreenpen EdenSpodek My audition piece will be “I’m Super, Thanks For Asking” made popular by South Park.

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