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.

Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder, CEO, and author of Spin Sucks, host of the Spin Sucks podcast, and author of Spin Sucks (the book). She is the creator of the PESO Model and has crafted a certification for it in partnership with Syracuse University. She has run and grown an agency for the past 15 years. She is co-author of Marketing in the Round, co-host of Inside PR, and co-host of The Agency Leadership podcast.

View all posts by Gini Dietrich